Renee Pagel murder case 10 years later: 1 suspect


COURTLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Detectives say they’re sure they know who killed a mother of three in northern Kent County a decade ago.

Yet, nobody has ever been charged in the stabbing death 10 years ago Friday of Renee Pagel, a teacher who had recently donated her kidney to a man she barely knew.

Kent County detectives said the only suspect is Pagel’s estranged husband — the same man they named as a suspect five years ago.

That leaves Renee Pagel’s friend wondering why the case remains unsolved.

“We know who did it, we know who did this to her,” Chris Crandle said. “She knew, she knew.”

Pagel was found stabbed to death in the bedroom of her home on 13 Mile Road NE on Aug. 5, 2006. Detectives never recovered the murder weapon.

At first, her friend believed she had died of complications from a recent surgery. Pagel had donated a kidney to a student’s father and was recovering at home.

“She wanted to give life and that was Renee,” Crandle said. “That’s just the epitome of Renee, always giving.”

Kent County detectives said it’s one thing to believe her estranged husband stabbed his wife. They say it happened as their divorce was being finalized.

It’s another thing, they said, to prove it.

Detectives said they’ve found nobody else with a motive. They said he has refused to talk with them, has never called to ask about the case.

The Kent Metro Cold Case Team worked the case, but it went nowhere.

Crandle and other friends started a website,, to push for answers. She said she calls detectives occasionally for any news.

The husband has moved out of town with his three children and could not be reached for comment.

However, his attorney, Frank Stanley, said he is being falsely accused by what he called “well-intentioned people.” He said his client didn’t do it and has a “rock solid alibi.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Kent County Sheriff’s Department at 616.632.6100 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

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