Sheriff: Mich. slaying suspect talking
PETOSKEY, Mich. (AP) — A man authorities tracked down in the snow of a wilderness area confessed to killing and dismembering his wife, and described the “horrific” details surrounding her death, a sheriff said Monday.
Stephen Grant was recovering from hypothermia at a hospital on Monday, a day after he was captured by authorities who pursued him to northern Michigan after he fled his home near Detroit.
Grant has been cooperating with investigators and telling them in detail how Tara Lynn Grant was killed and dismembered and where her remains were dumped, Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel said at a news conference Monday.
“He gave a very lengthy confession, laying out exactly what took place,” Hackel said.
A female torso was discovered Friday in the garage of Grant’s home in Washington Township, 30 miles north of Detroit. The torso, and other body parts found in a nearby park, were believed to be those of Tara Grant, a businesswoman and mother of two who disappeared last month.
“It’s very horrific. What he had done to her was one of those things that I think people can only imagine by watching a movie or television or actually seeing and reading about in some kind of a novel,” Hackel said.
Tara Grant, 34, was last was seen alive Feb. 9. Her husband reported her missing five days later. Police say the couple had recently argued over her frequent business trips abroad, and Hackel said there was a confrontation between Stephen and Tara Grant at their home.
County Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz told the Detroit Free Press that preliminary autopsy results showed the woman likely died of strangulation before her body was dismembered. He said he would release official findings Monday.
The Grants’ two children, a 6-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy, were staying with relatives. In a statement released through the hospital, Grant said he loved them and “looks forward to seeing them again as soon as possible.”
Stephen Grant, 37, was found early Sunday cowering under a fallen tree in a wooded area in Wilderness State Park, wearing only a shirt, socks and pants in 14-degree weather.
“I don’t think he probably could have made it much longer in those kind of conditions,” Emmet County Sheriff Pete Wallin told reporters. “I wouldn’t want to be out there unless I was dressed for it.”
His frostbite was relatively minor from a medical perspective, and his hypothermia had been mostly resolved, said Dr. John Bednar, the chief of staff at Northern Michigan Hospital.
“He’s been awake, alert, calm, cooperative,” the doctor said.
The torso was found when police went to the Grant home on Friday.
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said the probable cause for a search warrant came when investigators found a plastic bag containing latex gloves, plastic bags, metal shavings and human blood in a wooded area not far from the Grant home.
Smith said the metal shavings were consistent with what would be found in a tool-and-die shop. Grant worked at a tool-and-die shop.
After police arrived at his home, Grant, who had until then maintained his innocence in his wife’s disappearance, fled in a friend’s pickup truck. Tracing calls from his cell phone, officers went to Wilderness State Park about 225 miles north, at the tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Officers found the pickup abandoned, then pounded on doors of the park’s few cabins and nearby homes to warn occupants.
“We didn’t know what we were up against,” Wallin said. “We knew he was suicidal, we knew he could be armed and dangerous.”
Grant had no weapons when he was found, the Emmet County sheriff said.
A helicopter crew followed Grant’s footprints in the snow and guided ground searchers.
It was unclear why Grant went to that area, although the family had visited northern Michigan frequently, Hackel said.