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 Sheriff Reports  -  Lawrence Township, MI


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Click on blue underlined links for more information.

Jan 2011

Dec 2010

Incident No:9538-10
Incident Type:  Personal Injury Crash
Date and Time:
December 21, 2010 at approximately 6:00 pm.
Location:  58000 Blk. of County Road 681 in Lawrence Twp.
Driver Information:   Darla lee Hagen 67 year old female from Lawrence
Vehicle Information:   2010 Dodge Avenger
Injuries:  Driver sustained injuries to her back, to her chest and to her face.
Alcohol Involved: Alcohol in not believed to be a factor in this crash

Information:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that deputies were dispatched to a personal injury crash at County Road 681 south of Red Arrow Highway, Hartford Township, with a vehicle crashed that into a tree.
     Deputies contacted the driver who stated she closed her eyes for a minute and when she opened them back up her vehicle was heading straight for a mail box. Ms Hagen advised that she could not avoid the mail box and crashed head on into it.   The vehicle continued down a ditch striking a tree head on and then spun around hitting another tree. The Hartford Fire department had extricate Ms. Hagen from the vehicle. 
     Ms. Hagen was transported to the Watervliet Hospital for her injuries.  Deputies investigating the accident observed that Darla was heading south on County Road 681 and crossed over the center line going into the North bound lane before striking the mail box and the tree.  Medic 1 transported the driver to the hospital for her injuries. 

Investigating Officer:  Deputy Casey Davis
Contact:  Sergeant Scott Schmitt (269) 657-3101 ext. 3801  or Operations Lieutenant Bob Kirk (269) 657-2006 ext. 3851 email

Photos: P1010002  9538-10.JPG   P1010006  9538-10.JPG

Incident No:  9025-10.
Incident type:
  CCW (carrying a concealed, loaded weapon), VCSA (possession  of Marijuana), Warrant Arrest (Bench warrant failing to appear Battle Creek Police Department), traffic violation (failing to yield for emergency responder).
Date and time:  December 1, 2010 at approximately 4:20pm.
Location:   I-94 eastbound near CR 681 located in Lawrence township, Van Buren County.
Vehicle information:   Subjects were operating a 1998 Dodge Durango.
Suspect driver information:   23 year old Paw Paw township woman (name withheld pending follow-up and charges authorized).
Suspect passenger arrested:   Nikki Jeffries, a 35 year old man from Battle Creek Michigan (arrested on his
warrant only at this time).
Property seized:  #1:)  6.7 grams of suspected marijuana, #2:) $631.00 in U. S. currency  #3:) loaded 25 caliber semi automatic handgun, #4:)  20 gauge shotgun.
Children in the vehicle ages:  4 year old boy, 3 year old girl, 1 year old boy. 

Information:   Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that on the date and time of incident, Van Buren county sheriff deputies had been policing multiple crashes on I-94 within Van Buren county due to poor weather and road conditions. 
     During this time, uniformed patrol deputies while clearing up a crash scene, this at the 49mm eastbound, noted the 1998 Dodge Durango failed to move to the far lane and slow down for emergency responders as required.  Deputies stopped this vehicle for this violation. The 35 year old passenger in this vehicle, identified as 35 year old Nikki Jeffries from Battle Creek, was arrested on an outstanding warrant.  Deputies also noting occupying this vehicle was the of a 23 year old female to whom was driving was found to be the girlfriend to Jeffries as were there additional 3 young children as passengers.  Deputies noted both adults extremely nervous, as did they have conflicting information as to where they were going and coming from. 
     A search of the vehicle noted a loaded 25 caliber handgun sitting atop the rear seat just a couple feet from hands reach of the children.  Also noted was an unloaded 20 gauge shotgun and concealed in a seat was 6.7 grams of suspected marijuana.  These items were seized by deputies, along with $631.00 in cash pending possible drug forfeiture.  The firearms are being processed for prints and DNA to assist with identifying who may have handled these guns, as will ballistic testing be conducted as well.  Upon completion of this information will be forwarded to the prosecuting attorney for review. 
     The children, at this time, have been released to the custody of their mother pending further review by children protective services as well. 

Assisting agencies:  Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Bureau, Michigan State Police, Pokagon Tribal Police, and Child Protective Services.
Investigating-Arresting officers:  Sergeant David Walker, Deputy Dan Abbott.
Contact persons:   On duty sergeant or Lt Robert Kirk at 269-657-3101 or by email.

Nov 2010

Oct 2010

Sep 2010

Aug 2010

Incident No:   6054-10
Nature of Incident:  Operating While Intoxicated – Boating
Date and Time:  Friday August, 13, 2010 at approximately 11:45 pm.
Location:  Christie Lake in Lawrence Township
Boat Operator-Suspect:   51 year old male from Lemont, IL (name to be released after arraignment)
Datamaster:  .11
Passengers:  There were 2 additional passenger on the vessel.
Vehicle Information:  1984 Pontoon 16ft. pleasure boat 

Information:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Marine Division was on patrol on Christie Lake in Lawrence Township, on Friday August 13, 2010 at approximately 11:45 pm. 
     Marine Deputies made contact with the boat operator while he was operating a pontoon boat with two additional passenger in the late evening hours on Christie Lake.  The Marine Deputies found the boat operator to be under the influence of alcohol. The boat and passengers were safely taken to their dock.  
     The boat operator was subsequently arrested for Operating While Intoxicated and lodged at the Van Buren County Jail pending arraignment.  The investigation has been turned over to the Van Buren County Prosecutor’s Office.
Investigating Deputies: Marine Deputies Gregory Straka Jr., Jason Fisk, Uniform Response Deputy Mark Stickels
Supervisor Contact:  On Duty Sergeant or Sergeant Chad Jahr, email, (269) 657-3101


Jul 2010

Jun 2010
Incident No: 4536-10
Incident Type:  Personal Injury Crash
Date and Time: 
June 26, 2010 at 0108 a.m.
Westbound I-94 near the 49mm in the median, Lawrence Township.
Seat  Belts Used: 
It is unknown if safety belts were used.
Gray 2007 Honda Accord.
Alcohol is believed to be a factor.
2.1 grams of marijuana as well as a marijuana pipe were found.
43 year old male out of St. Joseph, Mi. name withheld until arraignment.
Driver sustained injuries to his head and stomach.

Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that, on 6-26-10 at 0108 hours, deputies were dispatched to a personal injury crash on I-94.
     Upon arrival deputies found the vehicle in the median and that the driver had been ejected from the vehicle. Deputies were informed that the vehicle had hit the cable barrier and flipped over the top of it ending up in the median. Deputies were also informed that the driver had been ejected.
     The driver was taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital by EMS for injuries to his head and stomach. Marijuana was found at the scene of the crash. Alcohol is believed to be a factor.  Because of injuries, subject was not arrested and a report will be sent to the Prosecutor’s Office for OWI and Possession of Marijuana.

Investigating Officer: 
Deputy Matthew Konkle, Deputy Adam Bielang of the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office.
Contact Person: 
On Duty Sgt. or Lt. Robert Kirk email

Jan 2010

Incident #:  570-10.
Incident Type/arrest charges: 
Flee or Elude, Resisting & Obstructing, Fail to Report an Accident.
Date & Time of Incident: 
January 24, 2010 at 0001 hrs.
Location of Incident: 
In front of 116 E. St. Joseph St. in the Village of Lawrence.
30 year old Hispanic male from the Benton Harbor area.

Narrative:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Van Buren County Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to the Red Arrow Bar for a report of a subject running into another vehicle in a fit of rage. 
    Upon Deputies arrival on scene, the suspect was parked at the Lawson's Citgo Gas Station in the Village of Lawrence.  Deputies approached the vehicle, but the suspect drove off west bound on Red Arrow Hwy. 
     Deputies pursued the suspect West on Red Arrow Hwy to County Road 681, where the suspect turned south bound on County Road 681, reaching speeds of over 100 m.p.h.  The suspect was pursued to County Road 352, where he finally came to a stop in front of a stop stick (deployed spike strip) before striking them.  Deputies ordered the suspect out of the vehicle, in which he did not respond, therefore had to pull the suspect out of the vehicle.  The suspect then resisted Deputies, but deputies were able to gain control of the suspect and place him into custody. 
     The suspect was transported to the Van Buren County Jail where he was lodged.  During the investigation, it was found that the suspect not only owned the vehicle he was fleeing in but, was also the owner of the vehicle he ran into.  The suspect stated he ran into the vehicle because he had been arguing with his wife at the bar and the vehicle he hit was the vehicle she had driven to that location.  The suspect had an alcohol level of .016. 
     Name is being withheld pending arraignment in 7th District Court East, Paw Paw.

Arresting officer:  Deputy Ben Ludwig, Uniform Response Division.
Contact Person:  The on-duty sergeant at 269-657-3101.

Incident Update:  January 13, 2010


Incident Type:   Fatal Fire, Murder
Original Date & Time:   January 7, 2007 (click here for original report)
Location:  66000 block of County Road 215, Lawrence Township.
Victim:  Todd Joseph Stermer, 42 (2007) of Lawrence MI.
Convicted:  Linda Kay Stermer, 44, Lawrence MI.
     Count 1: Homicide - Murder First Degree, Premeditated, did deliberately, with the intent to kill, and with premeditation, kill and murder one Todd Joseph Stermer, contrary to MCL750.316. Felony Life.

     Count 2: Homicide - Felony Murder- did while in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of an arson, murder one Todd Joseph Stermer, contrary to MCL 750.316(1)(b). Felony: Life without parole.

Information:  Sheriff Dale Gribler reports that the trial of Linda Kay Stermer started on January 5, 2010 in the 36th Circuit Court before the Honorable William C. Buhl. The six day trial was presented by Prosecutor Juirs Kaps. The jury received the case late Tuesday afternoon and then resumed their deliberations Wednesday morning, returning a verdict before noon of guilty as charged in both counts as charged.
     Sentencing is set for February 8th  at 1:15PM in the 36th Circuit Court, Paw Paw Michigan.

Investigators:  Detective Sergeant Thomas Macyauski, (269) 657-7711 email, Detective Gabrielle Rought, (269) 657-7711 email.
Supervisor:  Bryan R. Stump, D/Lieutenant, Van Buren County Sheriff's Office, Narcotic's & Investigative Divisions, 205 S. Kalamazoo S., Paw Paw, MI 49079, (269) 657-7711 ext 208 Office, (269) 657-8296 West Office, email.

Dec 2009

Incident #:  9775-09.
Incident Type: 
Date & Time of Incident:  December 22, 2009 at 12:30 a.m.
Location of Incident: 
46000 block of 48th Ave in Lawrence Township.
Suspect Information: 
Two 18 year old males from Paw PawNames being withheld pending arraignment.
Both subjects were arrested on charges of taking an illegal deer from a motor vehicle, shining while in possession of a weapon.  The driver was charged with possession of an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle. 

Narrative:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that deputies were dispatched to the 46000 block of 48th Avenue for a poaching complaint.  The caller advised that she saw a vehicle shining a bright light into nearby fields and then she heard a gunshot. 
     Deputies searched the area and located a pickup truck in the 42000 block of County Road 374.  In the bed of the truck was an 8 point buck that was still warm to the touch with a fresh bullet wound.   Further investigation revealed a muzzleloader and high-power spotlight in the cab of the truck.  Deputies questioned the subjects and they eventually admitted to shooting the deer after seeing it running in a field. 
     Deputies were assisted in the investigation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division.
  Both subjects were lodged in the Van Buren County Jail in Paw Paw pending arraignment. 

Investigating Officer:  Deputy Greg Pentland, Deputy Travis Bernatche, Deputy Casey Davis, Sgt. Scott Schmitt.
Contact Person: 
Please contact the on-duty Sergeant or Lt. William Lux at 269-657-3101, email.

Nov 2009

Oct 2009

INCIDENT#:    7682-09
    OWI 2nd (operating while intoxicated second offense), providing false information to police, traffic crash investigation, fugitive arrest.
DATE AND TIME:   October 3, 2009 at 4:45 p.m. 
    48000 block of Red Arrow highway located in Lawrence Township.
   Efrain Gonzalez-Mora, 21 year old Paw Paw man.
    1990 Honda 4-door passenger car.   

INFORMATION:   Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Van Buren County Sheriff Deputies were called to the 48000 block of Red Arrow highway in reference to a reported one vehicle crash.
       While deputies were en route to this location, further information was provided that persons were in the process of attempting to push the vehicle out of the ditch.  Sheriff Deputies on scene noted a male subject behind the wheel of the 1990 Honda passenger car attempting to drive it out of the ditch. Contact made with this driver he smelled strongly of alcohol, as did he have visible such as bloodshot and watery eyes, off balance, all indicators of having consumed alcohol as well.  As deputies were attempting to arrest the subject for drunk driving, he refused to be placed into handcuffs and pulled away from the arresting officer and began to walk away.  The subject was taken into custody after being advised to comply or be tased by the investigating officer. 
     The suspect gave to the officer a name of Joel Flores several times; this information was also provided to Spanish speaking deputies and corrections officers as well. 
     The Van Buren
County Sheriff's Jail does have a system called AFIS (automated fingerprint identification system), a national data base system utilized by Law enforcement throughout the county.  Within a few hours, information was provided back on the suspects real name being that of Efrain Gonzalez-Mora, who was found to have a fugitive warrant out of Portland Oregon for possession of Heroin (to which they will extradite), and a probation violation out of the Paw Paw Village police department. 
      The suspect was discovered to also having been arrested in the State of Wisconsin for drunk driving, as well.  Beside these two warrants, the suspect was lodged in the Van Buren County Jail for OWI 2nd, no valid ops, improper plates, and providing false information to police.

Sergeant David Walker, Deputy Miriam Sipes, Van Buren County Sheriff's Office Uniform Response Division.
On duty sergeant or Lt William Lux at 269-657-3101

Sep 2009

INCIDENT TYPE:  Motorcycle Versus Semi Personal Injury Accident.
DATE AND TIME:  Saturday September 26, 2009 at approximately 5:55 p.m.
LOCATION:  I-94 and County Road 365 (Lawrence Exit), Lawrence Township.
COMPLAINT #7498-09
VEHICLE #1:  2003 Harley Davidson Motorcycle.
     DRIVER#1: David Robert Smith, 51 year old, Paw Paw Resident.
     INJURIES TO DRIVER #1: Smith was transported to Bronson Hospital with Internal Injuries. and Broken Bones.
VEHICLE #2:  2005 Mac Semi.     
     DRIVER #2:  Melton Crudup, 50 years old, Ypsilanti resident.

INFORMATION:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that on Saturday, September 26, 2009, at approximately 5:55 p.m., Van Buren Central Dispatch received multiple 911 calls reporting a Motorcycle-Semi Tractor Trailer personal injury accident on I-94 at the Lawrence Exit, Lawrence Township.
     Investigation determined that David Smith, of Paw Paw, was operating a 2003 Harley Davidson when he was attempting to ramp on Eastbound I-94 at the Lawrence Exit. Smith's motorcycle then ran into the side of a Semi Tractor Trailer that was eastbound. Smith was ejected from his motorcycle.
     The Semi Tractor Trailer operator was not injured in the accident. Smith was transported to Bronson Hospital was he was admitted in Serious Condition for his internal injuries.
     The investigation is continuing for the result of the accident.  

INVESTIGATING DEPUTIES:  Sergeant Scott Schmitt (269) 657-3101 ext. 801.
SUPERVISOR CONTACT:  On Duty Sergeant (269) 657-3101

Sergeant Scott Schmitt
Van Buren County Sheriff's Office
Uniform Response/K9 Division
Telephone: (269) 657-3101 ext. 801
Click here to send an email

Incident Type:  1 vehicle personal injury crash.
Date and Time: September 18, 2009 at approximately 11:25 a.m.
Location: 57000 block of CR 365 located in Lawrence Township.
Incident Number:  7237-09
Driver-injuries: Mariah Steele 18 year old female from Lawrence township.  Steele sustained injuries to her face and leg resulting from this crash.  Seatbelt worn.  Transported by ambulance to Lakeview hospital in Paw Paw for treatment.
Passenger-injuries:  Theresa Shriver 17 year old female from  Lawrence township.  Shriver was transported by ambulance to Lakeview hospital for sustained injuries to her shoulder.  Shriver was wearing her seatbelt.
Vehicle information:  1988 GMC pickup.  Vehicle sustained major front end damage

Information:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Van Buren county sheriff deputies, along with additional emergency services personnel, responded to the 57000 block of CR 365 located in Lawrence township for a report of a 1 vehicle personal injury crash. 
     Emergency personnel on scene noted the severely damaged 1988 pickup truck down a deep embankment in a blueberry field. 
     Checking the status of its occupants, who were still in the pickup truck, found the driver identified as 18 year old Mariah Steele and her passenger 17 year old Theresa Shiver both of Lawrence injured.   
     Deputies investigation into the crash by speaking to Steele. Evidence located at the scene found that she had been northbound on CR365 when she became distracted, taking her eyes momentarily off the road and the direction of her vehicle.  When Steele looked up, her vehicle had already crossed the center line and traveled off the road hitting a power pole which broke in half, the vehicle then traveled down the very steep embankment and into a blueberry field. 
     Both Steele and her passenger Shriver were transported by ambulance to Lakeview hospital in Paw Paw for treatment of injuries sustained in this traffic crash.

Investigating officers:  Sergeant Walker, Deputy Evans, Uniform response division.

Assisting:   Lawrence quick response team, Lawrence fire department and Van Buren EMS.
Supervisor contact:   On duty Sergeant or Lt Lux at 269-657-3101.

Aug 2009

Jul 2009

Incident Type:  Personal Injury Crash
Date & Time of Incident: 
July 27, 2009 at 6:16 p.m.
Location of Incident: 
Eastbound I-94 near the 51 mile marker in Lawrence Township. Incident #:  5712-09.
Driver #1: 
18 year old female, Jordan Renee Vertz, from Benton Harbor.
    Vehicle #1: 
2000 Lincoln LS.
25 year old male, Jeremiah Rochefort, from Coloma.
Driver #2:
51 year old male, James Alan New, from Coloma. 
The driver of vehicle #2 was transported to Bronson Lakeview Hospital in Paw Paw with non life-threatening injuries to his back.
    Vehicle #2: 
2008 Dodge Avenger.
Seat Belts used: 
All parties involved were wearing seat belts.
Is alcohol a factor: 
Alcohol is not a factor in the crash. 

Criminal Charges or Traffic Citations issued:
Jordan Vertz was cited for Driving While License Suspended and Careless Driving. 

Narrative:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Deputies were dispatched to I-94 eastbound at the 51 mile marker for a personal injury crash.  Upon arrival, it was found that two cars had collided causing one to leave the roadway and go into the ditch.  Further investigation revealed that the crash was a result of road rage.  Witnesses advised that both vehicles were traveling in excess of 80 miles per hour.  The Dodge Avenger passed the Lincoln LS.  The Lincoln then began tail-gating the Dodge.  The driver of the Dodge began tapping his brakes and both drivers began exchanging derogatory hand gestures.  The Lincoln attempted to pass the Dodge, but was unable to safely overtake the vehicle because a semi was traveling in the other lane.  The Lincoln struck the Dodge causing it to spin and slide into the ditch. 

Investigating Officers:  Deputy Travis Bernatche, Deputy Casey Davis, Deputy Ben Downey.
Assisting Agencies:  Lawrence Fire Department, Lawrence Quick Response, Van Buren EMS.

Contact Person:
On-duty Sergeant or Lt. William Lux at 269-657-3101.

Date and Time:  July 8, 2009 at 12:00 hrs
Incident Type:  Property Damage Accident/Warrant Arrest/DWLS Arrest.
Report#:  5118-09
Location:  CR-365/Lawrence East Bound I-94 Exit Ramp.
Vehicle 1:
  Older Model Red Ford F-150. Minor Damage.
   Driver 1:
  Jose Luis Sifuentes Jr, 32 year old male from the Coloma area. Arrested and transferred to the Berrien County Sheriffs Office on their warrant for Felony Probation Violation. Not injured.
Vehicle 2:
  Older Model Dark Blue Cadillac. Moderate Damage.
   Driver 2:
  Name Withheld Pending Arraignment, 21 year old male from the Bangor Area. Arrested, cited, and released at the scene for DWLS. Not injured.

Information:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Deputies were southbound on CR-365 when they observed vehicle 1 abruptly stop at the exit stop sign to avoid rolling through it in front of the Deputies. 
     Driver 2 was also staring at the Deputies patrol vehicle and ran into the back of vehicle 1.  Deputies stopped and checked to see if there were any injuries, and conducted an investigation.   
     Driver 1 falsified his identity information to Deputies. A  Michigan Chauffeurs license was later located to provide positive identification of Driver 1. 
     Driver 1 was subsequently found to be on Probation for Dangerous Drugs and had a Felony Probation Violation warrant out of Berrien County.  Michigan State Police transported Driver 1 to the Berrien Co Jail for Deputies. 
     A report is being submitted to the Van Buren Co Prosecutors office for False Information to a Police Officer charge against Driver 1.
     Driver 2 was found to be driving on a suspend license and was cited and released after his identity was established.

Investigating Officers:
Deputies Charles Loughrin and Raymond W. Hochsprung VBCSO.
Assisting Officer:
Trooper Paul Plangger MSP Post-51.
Supervisor Contact:
Please contact the on duty Sergeant at 657-3101, or Lt. William Lux at 657-2006 email

Jun 2009

Incident Type:  Home Invasion-Warrant Arrest
Incident Date and Time:  June 23, 2009 at 1:13am
Incident #:  4623-09
Incident location:  63683 CR681 Lawrence Twp.
Suspect:  60 year old male from the Watervliet area
Victims:   48 year old female from the address listed
                  59 year old male from the address listed

Weapons:  A small pocket knife was used in this incident.

Sheriff Dale Gribler reports that Deputies where sent to the above location for a Home Invasion in progress. Deputies where advised, while en route to the incident address, that the suspect fled the scene prior to arrival. Deputies arrived on scene and were advised by the victims that an acquaintance that they knew had come over looking for his girlfriend and attempted to break into the house. The victims said the suspect abuses his girlfriend and they let her stay at the house when she needs to to get away from him. The suspect was advised by the victim that his girlfriend was not at the home, but the suspect attempted to gain access to the residence by breaking the door open and cutting the the screen door. Deputies obtained a location of the suspect in Watervliet and arrived at the trailer park to find him gone. While searching the area of the trailer park, Deputies observed the suspect pulling in with the suspect vehicle where he was taken into custody on a Outstanding Warrant and Home Invasion. The suspect was lodged at VanBuren County Jail on the above charges where he is awaiting Arraignment.

Assisting Agencies:  Berrien County Sheriff's office, Coloma Police Dept., Watervliet Police Dept.
Investigating Officers:   Deputy Casey Davis 657-3101 EX835, Deputy Travis Bernatche  657-3101 EX831
Supervisor Information On duty supervisor or Lt Lux

Incident #:  4133-09
Incident Type:  Personal Injury Crash
Date and time: June 6, 2009 at 1828
Location:  CR681 and Red Arrow Hwy
Vehicle 1: 1993 Buick Skylark
     Driver 1: Thomas Nuccio a 47 year old from the Bangor
Vehicle 2:  2008 Harley Davidson
     Driver 2: Lawrence Christopher a 60 year old man from Coloma
     Passenger 2: Betty Christopher a 56 year old female from the Coloma, passenger is the wife of driver #2
Injuries: The driver and the the passenger on the motorcycle where both being treated with head injuries. The passenger had a possible broken leg.
Alcohol: Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in this crash

Information:  Sheriff Dale Gribler reports that Deputies where called to the intersection of CR681 and Red Arrow Hwy for a Personal Injury Crash with two victims lying on the ground.
      Deputies arrived on scene and where told by witnesses that the at-fault vehicle traveled south on CR681 failed to yield at the stop light and entered into the intersection of CR681 and Red Arrow Hwy. The second vehicle a Harley Davidson was east bound and had no time to stop and crashed into the side of vehicle 1.
     The driver of the Harley along with the passenger where treated by Lawrence Quick Response, Lawrence Fire, and Van Buren EMS while on scene. The two victims had visible head injuries and where transported to Watervliet Hospital.
     The Harley Davidson Motorcycle had extensive front end damage and had to be removed by a wrecker.

Investigating officer:  Deputy Casey Davis EX835, Deputy Todd Oliver EX818, Deputy Kyle Romeo EX 810.
Supervisor Contact:  Wayne Polomcak EX85

Click here for trial-conviction update on January 13, 2010.

Incident Update:  June 5, 2009
:  Suspicious Fatal Fire-Murder    
Suspect Arrested:  Linda Kay Stermer

DATE & TIME:    January 7, 2007
LOCATION:   66000 block of County Road 215, Lawrence Township.Linda Kay Stermer
VICTIM:   Todd Joseph STERMER, 42 (2007), Lawrence MI.
ARRESTED:   Linda Kay Stermer, 44 of Lawrence Michigan.

Count 1: HOMICIDE- Murder First Degree- Premeditated, did deliberately, with the intent to kill, and with premeditation, kill and murder one Todd Joseph Stermer, contrary to MCL750.316. Felony Life.

Count 2: HOMICIDE- Felony Murder- did while in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of an arson, murder one Todd Joseph Stermer, contrary to MCL 750.316(1)(b). Felony: Life without parole.

INFORMATION:  Sheriff Dale R Gribler reports that Van Buren County Prosecutor Juris Kaps has authorized the two count warrant for Linda Kay STERMER, the wife of Todd. Linda STERMER was taken into custody by Detectives of the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office without incident. STERMER is lodged in the county jail without bond, pending her arraignment in the 7th District Court on Monday June 8th.
     On January 7th, 2007 the Sheriff’s Office with the Assistance of the Michigan State Police Fire Marshall's office investigated the suspicious nature of the fire and death of Todd Stermer. The accounts of the fire and death of Todd being given by Linda STERMER were in question at that time and had changed on a number of occasions.
     On October 29th, 2007, Sheriff Dale R Gribler and Prosecutor Juris Kaps reported on the findings of the fire that claimed the life of Todd Joseph Stermer, Sunday afternoon, January 7th of 2007. Prosecutor Kaps released that the suspicious fire has now been “determined to be arson”. Evidence collect in the investigation showed the presence of a liquid petroleum product being used.   
     Detectives continued the investigation into the fire and death of Todd over the months with the report being submitted to Prosecutor Kaps for review and his issuance of the charges on this date of 06/05/09.  

INVESTIGATORS:  Det/Sgt. Thomas Macyauski, (269) 427-8711 Click here to send an email, Det. Gabrielle Rought, (269) 657-7711 Click here to send an email
SUPERVISOR CONTACT:  On duty Sergeant. (269) 657-3101

Bryan R. Stump, D/Lieutenant
Van Buren County Sheriff's Office
Narcotic's & Investigative Divisions
205 S. Kalamazoo Street
Paw Paw, Michigan 49079
(269) 657-7711 ext 208 Office
(269) 657-8296 West Office
Click here to send an email


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