Police ID body found in Grand River as missing man


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids police have identified the man whose body was pulled from the Grand River last week, but they still don’t know how he died or how long he was in the water.

The Grand Rapids Police Department said on Monday that the victim was Jamel Parker, who had been missing for more than a month. Police said an autopsy did not find any obvious signs of trauma.

A police source close to the investigation told 24 Hour News 8 the case is being looked into as a homicide, though GRPD Sgt. Terry Dixon and Chief David Rahinsky denied that and called it only a death investigation at this time.

“Until we have the evidence, we’re not going to speculate where it’s going. I can tell you right now we have a death investigation which we are feverishly looking into,” Dixon said.

The police source said Parker was at a house party when a fight broke out. The source went on to say there was a knife involved at some point, but it was unclear who had it. The source said Parker left the party and ran toward the river.

Dixon said Parker was last seen around 3 a.m. on Feb 12, running from the 1500 block of Broadway Avenue NW on the city’s West Side.

His disappearance was initially classified as involuntary missing person case — which Dixon reiterated on Monday — and authorities said they were concerned that he was in danger.

Friday afternoon, authorities pulled Parker’s body from the river in the 1500 block of Scribner Avenue NW. That’s only about a half mile from where he was last seen.

A separate source told 24 Hour News 8 that Parker’s body had been in the river for at least two weeks and there were a few scrapes on his body, but no obvious signs of trauma. Toxicology reports are expected to be back sometime next week.

Police and family members conducted searches in and along the water in the days after Parker went missing and didn’t find anything.

The day after he went missing, a shoe was found not far from where his body was eventually recovered. Police have not said if it was his or who found it. They also haven’t said who Parker was with the night he went missing.

Parker’s family declined to comment on camera Monday. In past interviews, they told 24 Hour News 8 they suspected he ran into trouble with the people he was with that night.

“I think that they (the people Parker was with) know more than what they’re saying. They definitely know more than what they’re saying,” Parker’s sister, Jamie Gray, said on March 13.

Authorities currently have no information about any suspects in the case, the source told 24 Hour News 8.

Parker’s family had recently increased the reward money for information on his whereabouts to $10,000. They said Monday that they are thankful for the work by detectives and thankful for all the tips from the public.

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