Ex-cop, wife charged with perjury in mutilation case

Ottawa County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A retired police officer and his wife, both charged with perjury in connection to a body mutilation case against their son, say they turned their son in.

Early Wednesday afternoon, James Howard Chance and Barbara Louise Chance were arraigned together in a Kent County courtroom on charges of perjury and being an accessory after the fact in the mutilation and disinterment of a dead body.

James Chance said he understood the charges, but added, “I’m not guilty of them.”

He is familiar with the law, but from the other side of things. Rock Island police in Illinois confirm he served as an officer on their force for nearly 25 years, beginning Jan. 16, 1965. The department says he was a sergeant when he retired on June 15, 1989.

He and his wife bonded out of the Kent County jail Wednesday evening. As they walked out, 24 Hour News 8 asked why they didn’t call police.

“We did call them,” Barbara Chance said.

When asked what they had to say to the family of Ashley Young, whose partial remains were found in their son’s basement, James Chance replied, “I turned him in.”

“Not quite,” Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker told 24 Hour News 8 in response to that.

He said he couldn’t provide further details, and Grand Rapids police said it would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation.

The probable cause affidavit for the charges against the couple states that on Dec. 1 at his apartment, Jared Chance told his parents that Young was dead, and that he had dismembered her body and hid some of the remains.

The court documents say James and Barbara Chance were at the Grand Rapids Police Department the next day, but did not notify police about what they knew. The couple dropped off their son at his home before returning to Holland without informing authorities, the court document states. He was arrested later that day.

James and Barbara Chance’s home in Holland was searched by authorities the day their son was charged with mutilation of a dead body and concealing the death of an individual. The Holland Sentinel reports a vehicle was towed away and detectives could be seen taking photographs inside the home. Detectives would not elaborate on what they were looking for or what they found.

On Facebook, Young’s family said the 31-year-old Oshtemo Township woman was last seen with Jared Chance, 29, in the early hours of Nov. 29 in Grand Rapids’ Eastown neighborhood.

Three days later, the couple living downstairs from Chance in a home along Franklin Street SE near Dolbee Avenue noticed an unusual smell coming from the basement. One of them said he went to check it out and found a tarp leaking blood. He called police, who took Chance into custody.

According to court records, police said they found blood and “articles that … could have been used to dismember a human body” in his apartment.

Authorities haven’t yet said how Young died and Jared Chance has not been charged with murder, but his parents’ probable cause affidavit lists the case as a homicide investigation.

When 24 Hour News 8 asked them Wednesday evening if they helped cover up a murder, Barbara Chance said only, “no comment.”

Additionally, 24 Hour News 8 confirmed James Chance, 76, was a professional counselor from September 1994 to May 2010, when his license expired. He previously owned Pro Counseling Services on E. 16th Street in Holland before moving the business to his home, state records show.

Barbara Chance is a licensed respiratory therapist. The state has no consumer complaints listed against either of them.

As a condition of their bond, set at $25,000 each, both were ordered to turn in their passports within 24 hours of release. They are expected back in court Dec. 26 for a conference. The accessory charge they each face is a 5-year felony, but the perjury charge is punishable by up to life in prison.

Their son, who also faces up to life in prison because he’s being charged as a fourth-time habitual offender, is expected back in court Dec. 18 for a conference.

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