More human remains found in Marcellus

Published 6:31 pm Friday, March 11, 2005

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS - Cass County Sheriff Joseph M. Underwood Jr. and Prosecutor Victor Fitz announced Thursday afternoon that the Major Crimes Task Force, in cooperation with detectives from Kalamazoo County, continues to investigate a suspicious death in Marcellus Township.
The investigative team includes officers from the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team (KVET).
In addition, the Michigan State Police fire Investigator assigned to the Niles post is participating in the investigation.
On March 2, Kalamazoo County investigators received a tip that human remains had been buried on residential property on Cranberry Lake Road in Marcellus Township, southeast of the village of Marcellus in northeastern Cass County and near the St. Joseph County line.
On March 4, Fourth District Court Judge Paul E. Deats issued a search warrant for the Cranberry Lake Road premises.
Investigators spent two days executing the warrant, utilizing earth-moving equipment as well as a Michigan State Police cadaver dog to follow up on a tipster's "general information" about the location.
The search resulted in discovery of partial remains since verified as human by a Michigan State University anthropologist.
The adult remains, together with other physical evidence found at the scene, led investigators to conclude that the death resulted from foul play.
The Michigan State Police forensic laboratory in Grand Rapids is analyzing the remains. The victim's identity has not been established.
In the course of executing the March 4 search warrant, officers seized small quantities of controlled substances. Four persons in the residence at the time of the search warrant were taken into custody.
Randall Reeves, 43, has been arraigned on a charge of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.
Reeves was released from the Cass County Jail after posting a $40,000 surety bond.
This same property was subjected to a search warrant officers from the Cass County Drug Enforcement Team executed in 2003.
Results of that search included 42 grams of marijuana and methamphetamine residue.
On April 23, 2004, Reeves was placed on 24 months probation, which included a term in the Cass County Jail.
Debra Guthrie, 45, is charged with: conspiracy to possess methamphetamine; possession of methamphetamine; maintaining a drug house; and marijuana possession.
Guthrie was released from the Cass County Jail after posting a $50,000 surety bond. Underwood said he did not know the relationship is between Reeves and Guthrie, or whether she lived at the house.
Two other individuals, Terry Ferrell, 49, and Theresa Hines, 31, were charged with frequenting a drug house, which is how Fitz characterized 10802 Cranberry Road.
They were released from the county jail after posting bond for their respective charges.
On Thursday, a subsequent search warrant was issued by Fourth District Court and executed by officers under supervision of the Major Crimes Task Force.
Execution of the March 10 warrant resulted in the discovery of the balance of the remains, which will be forwarded to the Grand Rapids forensic laboratory.
The case remains under investigation. Anyone with information should call the Cass County crime tip line at 1-800-462-9328 or the Cass County Sheriff's Office at (269) 445-1560.
The decomposed remains' gender has yet to be determined, the sheriff said. "I think we're talking about months," he said about how long the remains might have been there.
Remains were found about 100 yards apart, Underwood said. It did not appear that the body had been secured, such as by ropes.
As to other evidence alluded to leading investigators to suspect foul play, Fitz said it was too early to comment. Are there any obvious signs indicating how the individual died, such as a gunshot wound to the skull?
The four people arrested are not considered suspects "at this time," Underwood said. To whether authorities have any suspects, he added. "Randall Reeves is the person who owns the property. Certainly we have talked to him and will continue to do so. It's a possibility that they played no role, but as far as having access to this property, there are only a couple of ways."
Underwood said the single-family dwelling sits on two 80-acre parcels.
Fitz added he expects to receive today the autopsy report on the bodies of a man and woman found two weeks ago in the village of Pokagon.