Archived Story

Double murder not likely random; vigil tonight

Published 11:26am Monday, February 8, 2010

Niles Daily Star

Police continue to search for a killer in the deaths of John, 42, and Carolyn Tarwacki, 39, their bodies discovered in their home Friday, shocking friends and family, keeping police busy through the weekend and putting a community on edge.

As police prepared for a briefing Monday morning, Lt. Michael Brown with the Michigan State Police, Niles Post said authorities were busy talking to relatives, friends and coworkers of the victims to find out more about just what happened to the Tarwackis at their home Friday morning.

“As we said earlier, we think this crime was planned, we don’t think it was random,” Brown said.
Some reports over the weekend indicated the victims had died of apparent gunshot wounds and that police had found no signs of forced entry at the Tarwacki home. Brown would not confirm those reports to the Star.

“We’re not disclosing that at this time,” he said.

The Tarwackis’ home, in the 900 block of Carberry Street, a residential neighborhood just off of Oak Street turned into a crime scene Friday.

Brown told the Star at the scene on Friday that after one of the victims failed to arrive to an appointed place and time, a relative went to check in on the couple and found the recently married husband and wife dead.

The Michigan State Police and Cass County Sheriff’s Department responded to the call at approximately 12:45 p.m. and were on scene into the evening Friday.

A mobile crime lab was brought in to aid in the investigation, where police searched for any evidence or clues into who would commit a crime against the couple.

State troopers along with the help of a police dog investigated footprints found in the snow that led out to Oak Street, leaving identification markers in certain areas, searching the area north and south of the Tarwacki’s home, blocking off Carberry with police tape.

By Friday afternoon, Brown said police had enough evidence to determine the Tarwackis were victims of a homicide.

“The troopers and deputies responded to the scene and found the two victims and other evidence that they saw and uncovered, leads us to believe it’s a homicide,” Brown said at the time.
Authorities have been asking for the public’s help in the search for a person of interest, described as a white male, 20-30 years old, with brown hair and a medium build. Asked if police believed the crime to be committed by just one person, Brown said evidence at the scene pointed to a singular suspect.

“Just the evidence at the scene and there were some footprints in the snow obviously heading out to the street,” Brown said Monday morning.

Motorists who might travel down Oak Street heading in or out of Niles in the early morning hours between 6:30 and 8 a.m. are being asked to think back to Friday morning and whether or not they had noticed anything suspicious.

“There could have been a car parked along the road or a pedestrian,” out walking along the street, he said. “We’re saying it was one person in the house or who fled the house.”

As the investigation continues, law enforcement are interviewing “everyone that was living at the house,” Brown said.

Asked if that meant there were others living at the home with the couple, Brown said, “I don’t have any evidence of that right now,” and clarified that police were questioning anyone who might have been staying at the house, had been in or out of the house, or a frequent visitor.
Even with the belief that the murder of the Tarwackis was planned, the double homicide has shocked the Niles community and left many making sure lock their doors.

“Certainly we’re recommending caution,” Brown said, adding that police are doing everything they can to narrow down their search for a suspect, bring the killer to justice and calm the fears of neighboring residents.

Family and friends will hold a candlelight vigil for John and Carolyn Tarwacki, tonight at the Four Flags Apple Festival Fairgrounds at 8 p.m. The vigil is open to the community.

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