08-29-2019 Police Reports

Police Reports By Annette Christie Birkhead case moves to trial Gary Birkhead, 48, of Bangor will go to trial for charges connected to the death of his son. Birkhead was in court last week for his preliminary hearing and faces involuntary homicide and second-degree child abuse charges. Cole Birkhead, 16, died August 13, 2017 of a drug overdose. The elder Birkhead was arrested on March 19, 2019 following a lengthy investigation by the Michigan State Police. The Van Buren County Prosecutor’s Office authorized the charges of involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse. The elder Birkhead is scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial hearing on September 3. He is being held in the Van Buren County Jail on $1 million cash bond. Emergency responders save kayaker Emergency responders in the Watervliet area received a priority water rescue call in Watervliet Township on Monday, August 26 at approximately 6:39 p.m. Watervliet City Officer Westra and Pokagon Tribal Police Officer Jordan arrived at the location described as 5355 M-140. Officers entered the woods and found Bryan Christopher Wimbley of Hartford in a kayak wearing a life jacket and stuck up against a downed tree in the Paw Paw River. The Watervliet Fire Department arrived in their rescue boat and freed the stranded kayaker who was not injured. Fire Department Chief Dan Jones credited the quick location of the kayaker in part to the new attention to river locators provided to dispatch. Chief Jones would like to remind everyone of the importance of wearing life vests while on the water. The Pokagon Tribal Police handled the initial complaint. Priest charged for sexually motivated crime Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has charged Father Brian Stanley, 57, of Coloma, with one count of false imprisonment, a felony that carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and requires sex offender registration. Stanley was arrested by special agents from the Attorney General’s Office and bond was set at $100,000 while he waits arraignment in the 57th District. Stanley is accused of secreting away a teenage boy and holding him against his will in the janitor’s room of St. Margaret’s Church in 2013. Stanley reportedly immobilized the young man by wrapping him tightly in plastic (aka saran) wrap and then used masking tape as additional binding and to cover his eyes and mouth. Stanley left the victim, bound and alone, in the janitor’s room for over an hour before returning and eventually letting him go. “As our team continues to pore over what we previously thought was hundreds of thousands of pages of documents – but is now known to be millions of pages – seized from all seven Michigan dioceses last year, we know this is still only the beginning,” said Nessel. “This is about taking on large-scale institutions that turn a blind eye to victims and making certain we hold them accountable – that includes unapologetically pursuing any and all individuals who abuse their power to victimize our residents.” The charge against Stanley is the result of information from the files seized from the diocese in October of 2018. The crime occurred in the fall of 2013 when Stanley was asked by the victim’s family to help counsel their son. It is apparent from Kalamazoo Diocesan records that Stanley had been engaging in this type of conduct with the binding materials for decades. This type of conduct is a sexually motivated crime.

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P.O. BOX 7
WATERVLIET, MI 49098


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