Thursday, November 8, 2007

Jodi Parrack Murder Investigation - Reserve Officer Raymond McCann suspect

Also See:
Jodi Parrack Murder - Former Reserve Officer Raymond McCann arrested: 
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2014/04/jodi-parrack-murder-former-reserve.html




On November 08, 2007, 11-year-old Jodi Parrack was murdered. Her mother - Valerie Jo - found Jodi's body in the Constantine Township Cemetery after Jodi failed to come home from a friend's home earlier that evening. It was family friend and Constantine PD Reserve Officer Raymond McCann who had suggested that the cemetery be searched for Jodi.



Jodi Parrack's murder remained unsolved for over six years. Almost from the beginning of the investigation, Reserve Officer Raymond McCann was considered as a suspect because of his insisting that the cemetery be search for Jodi, and due to the inconsistencies in his stories regarding his whereabouts between the time of Jodi's disappearance and the discovery of her body.

In 2009, retired Michigan State Police Detective Jim Bedell came out of retirement and became Chief of the Constantine PD. Chief Bedell's main motive was to solve Jodi's murder.





Valerie Jo Carver has never lost faith that the police would eventually find her daughter Jodi's killer[s].







In April 2014, the main suspect in Jodi's murder - former Constantine Reserve Officer Raymond McCann - was arrested on felony perjury charges in connection with Jodi's murder. McCann faces up to life in prison on the charges.
The Constantine PD and MSP continue the investigation into finding Jodi's killer[s].













Jodi Parrack Murder Investigation - 2014 





Investigation of Jodi Parrack murder -             April 19, 2014

Former Constantine PD Reserve Officer Raymond McCann arrested and arraigned on felony perjury charges in connection with Jodi Parrack's 2007 murder.















Investigation of Jodi Parrack murder -  
April 17, 2014

Warrant authorized for the arrest of former Constantine Reserve officer Raymond McCann, for perjury charges in connection with Jodi Parrack's murder.




































Jodi Parrack Murder Investigation - 2013



COLD CASE FILES: 
Inside the Jodi Parrack murder case
WSBT TV News
Kristin Bien
POSTED: 05:32 PM EST Nov 14, 2013
UPDATED: 06:45 PM EST Nov 14, 2013
http://www.wsbt.com/news/local/cold-case-inside-the-jodi-parrack-murder-case/22977540

CONSTANTINE, Mich. - Jodi Parrack would be 17 now. She would have been in high school and might even have been thinking about attending cosmetology school.

But those things will never be. That's because she was murdered in 2007.

It is a case you have probably heard about. It got a lot of media attention at the time.

However, her family still has no justice. WSBT sat down with cold case detectives who shared more details about this murder case that is unfolding, even 6 years after it happened.

Remembering Jodi
Dozens gathered in Constantine, Mich. last Friday. They lit candles, prayed and watched as lanterns drifted into the sky, all in honor of Jodi Parrack.

For the past 6 years, they've come together on the exact day she disappeared to remember and renew a promise to her.

"I love you baby girl, and I will never give up no matter how hard it is," said Jodi's mom, Jo Gilson, "I'll always fight until whoever took your life pays for what you did."

Jodi's mom is the one paying now. Her daughter had just turned 11. She was a good girl, loved dress up and playing with her friends.

"Beautiful inside and out. She was always happy," said Gilson. "She always wanted to help. She liked to cook. She loved animals. She liked to fish. She was a princess and a tomboy all wrapped up in one," said Gilson.

And the pictures that Gilson has of Jodi illustrate that perfectly. But those pictures and memories are all that is left.

Jodi's Murder
November 8, 2007 started as a normal day. Jodi went to school at Riverside Elementary where she was a fifth grader. After school, Jodi went to a friend's house just down the street. Her mom wanted her home around 5:30 p.m. Police say she left around 4:30 p.m. on a small, silver mountain bike. Jodi never made it home.

"I knew something was wrong," said Gilson. "It was not like Jodi. She never went anywhere without permission. She was always home on time. I knew something was wrong."

But nothing could have prepared her for what was about to happen.

She called police. Friends and family searched the area. And it was Jodi's mother who eventually found her body hours later in Constantine Township Cemetery. The cemetery is just down the street from the family's home -- so close you can almost see it from their apartment window.

"The only good thing to me," said Gilson as she teared up, "I got to hold her one last time. I told her that I loved her. That I was so sorry that that happened to her."

Cold Case Detectives Investigate
"She was laying right about here," says Michigan State Police Detective Sergeant Shane Criger. "Her bike was right over there against the tombstone."

Criger met WSBT in the cemetery where Jodi's body was found. Nearby, there is a large tree which has served as a memorial for Jodi over the years.

Criger is one of three Michigan State Police detectives who have been brought in to investigate Jodi's murder. They will work on the case until it is solved. Over the years, he's helped investigate more than 1,400 tips, interviewed upwards of 1,000 people and collected around 600 pieces of evidence. Right now, the team is investigating if where she was found is important to the case. Her body was discovered just feet from a 100-year-old tombstone.

"There is a connection with someone with the last name of Moyer to Jodi," says Criger. The tombstone her bike was propped up against dates back to the 1800s. It has the last name "Moyer" on it.

"It could be a coincidence," says Criger. "It may not be. We are not sure at this point."

In the six years since she was murdered, police have not said how Jodi was killed or if she had been sexually assaulted.

"There are a few things out there that only the person, or persons responsible for this know, as well as us, and we need to keep it that way," says Criger.

But investigators do say they found male DNA on her body. They believe the person who is responsible for her death probably knew her, and they say there is a good chance that more than one person could have been involved.

Investigators say there is new forensic technology available now that wasn't 6 years ago. They submitted DNA last year and again recently. They hope some of the results are back before the end of the year. Also, new technology is available to enhance photos so they are able to see things they haven't before seen.

As far as suspects? Criger says there are definitely persons of interest. He said they have a good idea of what happened to Jodi and who did it. They just need DNA and more people to come forward with information to prove it.

No justice
Six years have passed since Jodi was murdered on that November evening, and there has still been no justice. That is not good enough for Gilson. She wants answers, justice for her daughter, and an end to her heartache.

"When something like this happens, you don't feel anything, but you feel everything at the same time. It is like empty and terrible all at the same time," says Gilson.

If you have any information about Jodi Parrack and what happened to her call detectives. You can remain anonymous.
Crimestoppers: (574) 288-STOP or (574) 342-7867
Cold Case Detectives: (269) 435-1072 

















Slain SW Mich. girl remembered 6 years later 
WSBT TV News
POSTED: 11:29 PM EST Nov 08, 2013
UPDATED: 11:37 PM EST Nov 08, 2013
http://www.wsbt.com/news/local/slain-sw-mich-girl-remembered-6-years-later/22883762

CONSTANTINE, Mich. - Six years ago, an 11-year-old girl was found dead in a cemetery.

Friday night, about 30 people gathered to remember Jodi Parrack and once again ask for help finding her killer.

Jodi was riding her bike home from a friend's house in Constantine, Mich. November 9, 2007 but never made it home.

She was only missing for a couple of hours before her mom found her body in a cemetery not far from where she lived.

Jodi's mom no longer lives in Constantine and is grateful so many people came to honor her daughter's live.
"It just shows that we're still waiting for an answer," said Valerie "Jo" Gilson. "We haven't given up. Her case might be called cold, but to us, it's not."

Detectives say they're hoping new DNA evidence and improvements in technology in just the past few years will shed more light on Jodi Parrack's case.

WSBT's Kristin Bien takes an in-depth look at this case next Thursday in her series Cold Case. Her series will air on WSBT News at 6 and 11 all next week.

















Six years after Jodi Parrack's death, state police team continues search for her killer in Constantine
Rex Hall
MLive
November 08, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Updated November 08, 2013 at 10:26 AM
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2013/11/six_years_after_her_death_stat.html








































Six years after Jodi Parrack's death, state police team continues search for her killer in Constantine
Rex Hall
MLive
November 08, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Updated November 08, 2013 at 10:26 AM
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2013/11/six_years_after_her_death_stat.html

CONSTANTINE, MI – In their quest to find 11-year-old Jodi Parrack's killer, three Michigan State Police investigators are taking a slow, methodical approach to what their commander says is one of the more complex unsolved cases he’s ever seen.

The number of interviews done now numbers more than 1,000. There have been more than 1,400 tips investigated, and forensic testing by MSP crime lab staff continues.

Still, six years after she was found dead in the Constantine Township Cemetery, Jodi’s killer has yet to be identified or arrested.

State Police Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen says there is still much work to be done on the case and the team of Detective Sgt. Shane Criger and troopers Jeremy Carlisle and Bryan Fuller is undeterred by the lack of an arrest and still confident that they can bring closure to the case.

“Cases like this, they take time,” Christensen said. “… They’ve eliminated suspects, they’ve followed up on tips and they’ve followed up with the lab on forensic testing.

“They’re going to stay with it until every lead and investigative avenue has been exhausted … There’s always confidence in a criminal case when there are more things to be done investigatively and there are more things to be done investigatively in this case.”

As the work by the team continues, questions remain about Jodi’s death on Nov. 8, 2007.

Residents are expected to gather at 7 tonight for a candlelight vigil at Cannon Park in downtown Constantine. The gathering has been a yearly event since 2007.

The fifth grader was reported missing at about 7 p.m. that day by her mother, Valerie Carver, after Jodi failed to return home by 5:30 p.m. from a friend’s house in the 100 block of East Third Street.

Jodi was last seen at about 4:45 p.m. riding a silver Mongoose bicycle near East Third and South Washington Street. She was wearing a black T-shirt, jeans and black tennis shoes.

Police have said Carver was with friends searching for her daughter at about 10:30 p.m. when they found Jodi dead in the cemetery. Jodi’s bike was found nearby, and her death was ruled a homicide. 

Investigators have not disclosed the cause of Jodi’s death.

Criger, Carlisle, Fuller and Trooper John Moore were assigned the Parrack case in January 2010. Christensen said this week that Moore went back to his duties at the state police post in Niles about six months ago.

Prior to the team’s involvement, Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell had been the sole investigator on the homicide case since the fall of 2009.

Since March 2010, the team has worked out of an old house behind Constantine Village Hall, the Parrack case their sole focus.

“It’s been more difficult but it’s not that we didn’t know that going into it either,” Christensen said of the Parrack case. “We knew going into this that this thing was going to complex … The information that was already gathered on this was more than any cold case team had ever taken on from the Michigan State Police in (MSP’s) Fifth District.”

Police ask anyone with information about the Parrack case to call the MSP team in Constantine at 269-435-1072 or 269-435-1074.
















6 Years Since Unsolved Murder of Jodi Parrack
November 08, 2013
Janice Allen - Anchor
FOX 17 News
http://fox17online.com/2013/11/08/6-years-since-unsolved-murder-of-jodi-parrack/#axzz34Pi5tm2R

CONSTANTINE, Mich., — It’s a mystery that’s haunted the small village of Constantine since November 8, 2007: Who killed Jodi Parrack?

The 11-year-old girl had been on her way home from her friend’s house when she disappeared. Parrack’s mother filed a police report when the girl didn’t make it home that evening. A few hours later, the girl’s bike and body were found in a nearby cemetary.

Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell is still working the case along with a cold case team comprised of three members of the Michigan State Police. Investigators have had more than 15-hundred tips and interviewed more than 1,000 people, but still no arrests.

Chief Bedell believes they will find Jodi’s killer and bring them to justice.

“I’m confident that eventually it’s going to happen,” he told FOX 17. “We’re pretty close-knit, people stick together and they want this solved.”

If you have any information that could help the case, you’re asked to call Silent Observer or the cold case team directly at 269-435-1072.
















Jodi Parrack Murder Investigation - 2012


Search for girl's killer goes on - 
Police Team driven to solve 5-year-old case of Jodi Parrack 
Kalamazoo Gazette (MI) - Sunday, December 2, 2012
By Rex Hall Jr.
http://infoweb.newsbank.com.proxy.portagelibrary.info/iw-search/we/InfoWeb?p_product=AWNB&p_theme=aggregated5&p_action=doc&p_docid=142FD980F12150F8&p_docnum=19&p_queryname=1

CONSTANTINE -- In their quest to find Jodi Parrack 's killer, a team of Michigan State Police investigators is piecing together a complicated, five-year-old case comprised of more than 300 tips and 600 pieces of evidence. 

Since being formed almost two years ago to focus solely on the case, the four-man team has traveled to seven states and now is waiting for the results of forensic testing they say might narrow the list of potential suspects in the 11-year-old's slaying in November 2007. 

"Cases like this, with this complexity and the amount of people and this amount of information, it's not uncommon for it to take as long as it has," said Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen, who commands detectives in MSP's Fifth District. "I'm not surprised it's taken this long at all." 

The team, which is comprised of Detective Sgt. Shane Criger and troopers Jeremy Carlisle, Bryan Fuller and John Moore, has been in Constantine since January 2011. Christensen said the four men will not leave the small St. Joseph County town until Jodi's killer has been found. 

Jodi, a fifth-grader who attended Riverside Elementary School in Constantine, was reported missing by her mother, Valerie Carver, on Nov. 8, 2007, after she failed to return home from a friend's house in the 100 block of East Third Street. 

Jodi was last seen at about 4:45 p.m. that day riding a silver Mongoose bicycle near East Third and South Washington Street, wearing a black T-shirt, jeans and black tennis shoes. 

Carver reported her daughter missing at about 7 that night, and Carver was with friends searching for Jodi at about 10:30 p.m. when they found the girl dead in the Constantine Township Cemetery. 

Jodi's bike was found nearby, and her death was ruled a homicide. Investigators have not disclosed a cause of death. 

As part of their investigation, the state police team sent a batch of forensic evidence samples to an MSP lab about six months ago. 

Christensen recently said the testing and analysis have taken longer than expected. However, he does expect to have results back this month. 

"That could potentially lead to some more interviews and investigative spinoff," he said. 

Police ask anyone with information about the Parrack case to call the MSP team in Constantine at 269-435-1072 or 269-435-1074. 

"Cases like this, with this complexity and the amount of people and this amount of information, it's not uncommon for it to take as long as it has." 

















Memorial in Words
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Angie Birdsall; Special to the Journal
http://infoweb.newsbank.com.proxy.portagelibrary.info/iw-search/we/InfoWeb?p_product=AWNB&p_theme=aggregated5&p_action=doc&f_lastaction=doc&p_docid=142E961C933436C8&p_docnum=20&p_queryname=1

Riverside Elementary School in Constantine honored the memory of Jodi Parrack by dedicating a bookshelf and more than 50 new books at a ceremony Wednesday at the school library. 

Labels affixed inside the front covers feature Jodi's picture and a notation that the books were donated in her memory. A plaque honoring Jodi, with the phrase, "Life is like a hug, so hang onto it," and a teddy bear sit on the bookshelf. 

Alexis Myers, a former classmate of Jodi's, attended the ceremony. Myers and another Constantine High School student were invited to place the books on the shelves. 

A Jodi Parrack literacy scholarship fund has been created for a student in each grade to purchase an additional book for the library. 

Parrack died Nov. 8, 2007, a victim of homicide. Investigation into her death continues. 

"Jodi's death forever impacted the lives of her classmates, her teachers and her community," Riverside Principal Steve Wilson said. "We remember Jodi's life through literacy and promoting the love of reading." 

Wilson said Dale Wentela's shop class built the new bookcase, and money for other items was left over from a prior benefit effort. 

School resource officer Holly Cerny said the dedication is a reminder how precious life is. 

"It's important to be extra vigilant of our children and safeguard our community," Cerny said. 
















5 years later, the search for Jodi Parrack's killer continues
By Rex Hall
MLive - Kalamazoo Gazette
November 25, 2012 at 7:45 AM
Updated November 25, 2012 at 8:41 AM
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2012/11/5_years_later_the_search_for_j.html


CONSTANTINE, MI – In their quest to find Jodi Parrack's killer,  a team of Michigan State Police investigators is piecing together a complicated, five-year-old case comprised of more than 300 tips and 600 pieces of evidence.

Since being formed almost two years ago to focus solely on the case, the four-man team has traveled to seven states and is now waiting for the results of forensic testing that they say may narrow the list of potential suspects in the 11-year-old’s slaying in November 2007.

“Cases like this with this complexity and the amount of people and this amount of information, it’s not uncommon for it to take as long as it has,” said Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen, who commands detectives in MSP’s Fifth District. “I’m not surprised it’s taken this long at all.”

The team, which is comprised of Detective Sgt. Shane Criger and troopers Jeremy Carlisle, Bryan Fuller and John Moore, have been in Constantine since January 2011 and Christensen said the four men will not leave the small St. Joseph County town until Jodi’s killer has been found.

Jodi, a fifth-grader who attended Riverside Elementary School in Constantine, was reported missing by her mother, Valerie Carver, on Nov. 8, 2007, after she failed to return home from a friend’s house in the 100 block of East Third Street.

Jodi was last seen at about 4:45 p.m. that day riding a silver Mongoose bicycle near East Third and South Washington Street, wearing a black T-shirt, jeans and black tennis shoes.

Carver reported her daughter missing at about 7 that night and Carver was with friends searching for Jodi at about 10:30 p.m. when they found the girl dead in the Constantine Township Cemetery.

Jodi’s bike was found nearby, and her death was ruled a homicide. Investigators have not disclosed a cause of death in the case.

As part of their ongoing investigation, the MSP team sent a batch of forensic evidence samples to a MSP lab about six months ago. 

Christensen said recently that the testing and analysis has taken longer than expected, however, he said he does expect to have results back in December.

“That could potentially lead to some more interviews and investigative spinoff,” he said.

Christensen has declined to say specifically what type of forensic testing is being done or what the samples are that are being analyzed .

There are eight more batches that will be sent to the lab one at a time in the near future. Christensen said once investigators receive results back on the first batch of evidence, he expects the analysis of the other batches to take place more quickly.

While they wait for the results from the lab, Christensen said the team of investigators is continuing to conduct interviews and following up on tips, among other things.

“We have eliminated several people that were potential suspects and there are others on the list that we still need to talk to either to eliminate them or move forward and look at them further,” Christensen said.

Police ask anyone with information about the Parrack case to call the MSP team in Constantine at 269-435-1072 or 269-435-1074.
















Remembering Jodi Parrack - Vigil Marks Fifth Year Since Death 
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Friday, November 9, 2012
Author: Corky Emrick
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Luminaries lined Cannon Park in Constantine Thursday at a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Jodi Parrack . 

About 75 people attended the ceremony, which marked the fifth anniversary of Parrack's death. 

Beginning in January 2011 the Michigan State Police cold case team has made her murder a priority. 

"The cold case team continues to work over 40 hours a week on the case," St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough said. 

Parrack, then 11 and a fifth-grader at Riverside Elementary School, was last seen alive just before 5 p.m. Nov. 8, 2007, riding her bike near Third and South Washington streets. She was reported missing a couple of hours later, and her body was found at 10:30 p.m. at Constantine Township Cemetery. 

Her death was ruled a homicide. 

Since that time, police have received hundreds of tips and taken numerous DNA samples. 

"We are exploring some new DNA testing techniques," McDonough said. "And we're following up on leads and tips. Investigators are reinterviewing people of interest from the beginning of the investigation." 

Investigators said about 200 DNA samples have been taken and follow-ups continue on tips, which have come from the community and from police investigation. 

At the vigil Thursday, Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell said it is unfortunate the case has not been solved, but he urged patience. 

"While we have this new DNA testing, the state has other cases," Bedell said. "This is not TV. Testing takes a lot of time." 

Jodi's mother, Jo Gilson, thanked everyone who attended the vigil. 

"Thank you for coming and showing your support, for showing she was a part of your life," Gilson said. "You want closure as much as I do." 

Bedell also said he appreciated people coming to the vigil. 

"Hopefully we will have a vigil next year, too. I'd like to do this even after we solve the case," he said. "Keep Jodi in your memory and your prayers." 

Angie Birdsall contributed to the report. 
















Community turns out to supply headstone for Parrack
By Angie Birdsall
Posted May. 7, 2012 @ 12:01 am
Updated May 7, 2012 at 7:20 AM
Sturgis Journal
http://www.sturgisjournal.com/article/20120507/NEWS/305079970/0/SEARCH

Constantine, Mich. - A spaghetti dinner fundraiser held Saturday at Constantine High School to purchase a headstone for Jodi Parrack was well attended by the community.

Parrack, an 11-year-old student at Riverside Elementary School, was the victim of a crime Nov. 8, 2007. Her body was discovered at Constantine Township Cemetery. 

The crime remains unsolved, and the investigation is a high priority for village police Chief Jim Bedell.

At his request, a team of experienced cold case investigators from the Michigan State Police was sent to assist on the case in January 2011.

Friends made a makeshift monument for Jodi, who is buried at White Pigeon Township Cemetery. Bedell decided to check on the purchase of a permanent marker, and enlisted help for a fundraiser from many sources, including the surrounding law enforcement agencies. 

Two dozen merchants donated items for a silent auction at the fundraiser. Local art teacher and owner of Triple Creek Pottery, Dorothy Brueck along with the Constantine Art Association, donated glazed pottery plates for the event, and had students in her art classes assist with glazing the 220 plates.

Brueck was the guidance counselor at Riverside school in 2007. 

“The students in Jodi’s class are now in high school. Those kids never had closure,” Brueck said. “This will help and I really commend the community for coming together.”

Maxine Kennedy, office manager at prosecuting attorney John McDonough’s office, agreed.

“It’s great how this community pulled together after such a tragic situation,” Kennedy said. “It’s a wonderful thing and I commend the police chief for doing it.”

Midge Bedell, the police chief’s wife, said everyone has been touched by Jodi Parrack.

“People came out of the woodwork to help today. A lot of people can feel good about this,” she said.

Chartwell’s food service director Diane Northrup and two employees donated their time to prepare food for the event, and Chartwell provided much of the food.

“We were approached by the chief and wanted to help out,” Northrup said. “It’s for a good cause and we like to help the community.”

Organizers of the event only supplied drinks, desserts and paper products, according to DDA director Diana Lammott who helped Bedell organize the event.

Bedell served the spaghetti and other various items. He was assisted by cold case investigators Detective Trooper Jeremy Carlisle, Detective Trooper Bryan Fuller, Detective Sargeant Shane Criger and Detective 1st Lieutenant Chuck Christensen, along with other public service employees.

Jeffrey Furrow and his wife Mandy and 2-year-old daughter Lucy attended the event. Furrow is the owner of Furrow Family Monument in Hastings and is supplying the monument at cost.

“The United Way director brought my name up, and when Jim Bedell told me about the case, it tugged at my heart strings. I've got 2 and 12 year old daughters,” Furrow said.

The new monument will be made of black marble. It has a picture of Jodi with a heart, butterflies and flowers.

Jodi’s favorite saying is on it: “Love is like a hug, so hang onto it.”

White Pigeon Township Cemetery will donate the poured cement slab the headstone will rest on, according to cemetery supervisor Don Gloy.

Jodi’s mother, Jo Parrack, and a dozen members of the family attended the event.

“I want to thank everyone...Jim and the police detectives on the case, just everyone. I’m overwhelmed,” Jo said.

“There is someone with the name ‘Lovejoy’ buried at the end of the row,” she said. “That is how we find Jodi.”
















Community seeks permanent gravestone for Jodi Parrack 
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Angie Birdsall; Special to the Journal
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Local authorities realize Constantine lacks closure in the death of Jodi Par-rack. 

Parrack was a fifth-grader at Riverside Elementary School whose body was found Nov. 8, 2007, at Constantine Township Cemetery. 

The death was ruled a homicide. The cause of death has not been disclosed. Investigation continues. 

The site where she was found is marked by teddy bears, candles and other items left by her friends. 

A candlelight vigil is held for Jodi each year at the Cannon Park. 

She is interred in White Pigeon Cemetery. "Friends of Jodi" plan an "empty plate" fundraiser Saturday to purchase a permanent tombstone for Jodi. 

The fundraiser was the idea of Constantine Police Chief Jim Be-dell. 

"I've been at her grave in White Pigeon many times, and thought how sad this is," Bedell said. "It's bad enough when a child goes, when anyone dies. You think (of) an illness or an accident, but a homicide?" 

Bedell said it seems like her death was yesterday, a feeling shared by many in the community. 

Bedell talked to Jo Carver, Jodi's mother about putting up a permanent headstone at Jodi's grave. 

Jodi's gravesite in White Pigeon is difficult to find. 

"There is a small headstone made by Jodi's friends in White Pigeon," Bedellsaid. "Constantine said we can move it to under the tree where they found her." 

He has spoken at Rotary Club and has received funds for them, plus several other private sources for the headstone project. 

Jeffrey Furrow Monuments in Hastings is providing a headstone at cost. 

Bedell has a photograph of the new monument he plans. 

"There will be a photo of Jodi inside a heart in the middle, along with her name and dates," he said. "Jodi loved flowers and butterflies, so they will be on both sides." 

Bedell smiled, pointing to photo of Jodi, which has hung on his door for four years. 

"It says, 'Love is like a hug, so hang onto it.' That was Jodi's favorite saying, they tell me." 

The fundraiser takes place 5-7 p.m. Saturday at Constantine High School. 

Constantine art teacher Dorothy Brueck and her students will create handcrafted plates for the fundraiser. Anyone who buys a plate receives a free spaghetti dinner. 

"We want to make a sad situation happy," said Brueck said, who told students, "Giving is from the heart the best gift you can give." Cost for dinner without the purchase of a plate is $10 for ages 15 and up, $5 for ages 6-14. Ages 5 and under eat for free. 

Music will be provided by the Constantine High School choir and jazz band. 

A bank account has been opened at Constantine's Southern Michigan Bank & Trust for additional donations. 

Make checks payable to "Friends of Jodi." and mail to: Southern Michigan Bank; P.O. Box 217, Constantine, MI 49042. 

Advance tickets are available at the Constantine Police Department and Constantine Auto Parts and Hardware. 

Jodi Parrack tip hotline is (269) 435-1072. Other numbers to call with tips are Crime Stoppers of Michigan 800-SPEAKUP or Silent Observer, (866) 774-2345.
















New leads bring hope - Prosecutor pleased with progress in Parrack murder probe
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Friday, March 2, 2012
Corky Emrick
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More than four years have passed since the murder of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack of Constantine. 

Over the past year, members of the Michigan State Police cold case team have been investigating her death, reviewing hundreds of tips. 

Today, they believe they are closer than ever to solving the case. 

The investigation centers on the November 2007 murder of Parrack, a Constantine Middle School student. 

Her body and bicycle were found in a Constantine cemetery hours after she was reported missing. 

St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough said the team of four investigators has identified a number of "persons of interest." 

"The cold case team has done a phenomenal job," McDonough said. "They turned up new evidence that has led to new persons of interest." 

McDonough said new evidence has been sent to the Michigan State Police crime laboratory. 

"There is also the benefit of some new technology," McDonough said. 

He did not elaborate. 

McDonough said this is the No. 1 unsolved case, and is optimistic about progress. 

"I'm very hopeful that this will be solved sooner than later," he said. 

"We are moving in a positive direction." 

















Forensic testing that police hope will help zero in on suspects in Jodi Parrack slaying to begin next week
February 08, 2012 at 10:30 AM
Updated February 08, 2012 at 10:36 AM
MLive
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2012/02/forensic_testing_that_police_h.html





CONSTANTINE – Forensic testing that police say could narrow their list of potential suspects in the 2007 slaying of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack  is set to begin next week at the Michigan State Police crime lab in Grand Rapids, authorities said.

MSP Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen said investigators have prepared 10 separate sets of samples to send to the lab one at a time, and each set will take about six weeks for crime lab personnel to analyze. Police plan to send the first set of samples some time next week, he said.

“We’re hopeful it will provide an additional investigative pointer to the street investigation that is currently occurring … in narrowing or eliminating our pool of potential suspects,” Christensen said.

Christensen declined Tuesday to say specifically what type of forensic testing is being done or what the samples are that are to be analyzed, citing the protection of “the integrity of the investigation.”

Jodi, a fifth-grader at Riverside Elementary School in Constantine, was reported missing by her mother, Valerie Carver, on Nov. 8, 2007, after she failed to return home from a friend’s house in the 100 block of East Third Street.

She was last seen at about 4:45 p.m. that day riding a silver Mongoose bicycle near East Third Street and South Washington streets, wearing a black T-shirt, jeans and black tennis shoes.

Carver reported her daughter missing at about 7 p.m. after Jodi failed to return home by 5:30 p.m. Police have said Carver was with friends searching for Jodi at about 10:30 p.m. when they found the girl dead in the Constantine Township Cemetery.

Jodi’s bike was found nearby, and her death was ruled a homicide. The cause of her death has not been disclosed by police.

A team comprised of a state police detective sergeant and three troopers have been in Constantine since January 2011 solely focused on the Parrack investigation with the assistance of Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell.

Christensen said Tuesday that the team has made progress in the case and are continuing to follow up on new and old tips in the case. He said the team’s list of persons of interest in the investigation was “down below 10,” as of Tuesday.

“We’re confident we’re going to solve it,” Christensen said.

Police ask anyone with information about the Parrack case to contact the team in Constantine at 269-435-1072 or 269-435-1074.















Jodi Parrack Murder Investigation - 2011



Vigil held to remember Jodi
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Saturday, November 26, 2011
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"Please don't let her memory fade. Bring anything with you that will light up the night for this Beautiful Girl that shined on so many people," reads the flyer. It shows the picture of a smiling 11year-old little blond, blue-eyed girl giving the peace sign. It is a photo everyone knows and one that should be in family album, not posted on an electric pole asking for information to track down her killer. 

The light went out for Jodi Parrack on Nov. 8, 2007, in Constantine, when she was found alongside her bicycle at the township cemetery. Her death was ruled a homicide. 

A vigil to remember Jodi, with many hugs and tears was held on the fourth anniversary of her death at Cannon Park. Luminaries were set out at the park and candles lit for the vigil at dusk. 

A sky lantern was filled with air and let aloft for Jodi. It lit up the night as Jody lit up our hearts. 

Jo Carver is Jodi's mother. Carver's fiance David Gilson said at the vigil though he never met Jodi, she must have been well liked to have so many friends. "I know Jodi lives in heaven. Don't stop praying. God answers all your prayers," Gilson said. 

God loves Jodi. She loves us. She is friends with a whole town now. 

Police Chief Jim Beddell is investigating the case, along with four Cold Case policemen. In an emotional speech, Bedell addressed the crowd, thanking them for attending. 

"I feel we're getting close and hopefully next year, we won't have a vigil. Next year we'll have a celebration," he said, and I take heart from that comment

One of Jodi's mottos was "Love is like a hug, so hang onto it." People were advised to hug one another and they did so. This was an expression of appreciation for life, love for a little girl who has lit up our lives and definitely hope for justice. 
















Remember Jodi Parrack and help police find her killer 
Kalamazoo Gazette (MI)
Monday, November 14, 2011
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"Please don't let her memory fade. Bring anything with you that will light up the night for this Beautiful Girl that shined on so many people," reads the flyer. It shows the picture of a smiling 11-year-old little blond, blue-eyed girl giving the "peace sign." 

It is a photo that everyone knows, and one that should be in a family album, not posted on an electric pole asking for information to track down her killer. 

The light went out for Jodi Parrack on Nov. 8, 2007, in the small village of Constantine, when she was found alongside her bicycle at the township cemetery. Her death was ruled a homicide. 

A vigil to remember Jodi, with many hugs and tears, was held on the fourth anniversary of her death on Nov. 8 at the Cannon Park. Luminaries were set out at the park and candles lit for the vigil at dusk. 

A sky lantern was filled with air and sent aloft for Jodi. It lit up the night as Jodi lit up our hearts. 

Jo Carver is Jodi's mother. Carver's fiance David Gilson said at the vigil though he never met Jodi, she must have been well liked to have so many friends. 

"I know Jodi lives in heaven. Don't stop praying. God answers all your prayers," Gilson said. 

Carver added, "Jodi is still your friend and she loves you." 

I think all of this is true. God loves Jodi. She loves us. She is friends with a whole town now. 

Police Chief Jim Bedell is investigating the case, along with four cold case policemen. In an emotional speech, Bedell addressed the crowd, thanking them for attending. 

"I feel we're getting close and hopefully next year, we won't have a vigil. Next year we'll have a celebration," he said. I take heart from that comment. 

A minister, a friend of the family, led a prayer for God to assist detectives to find whoever took Jodi's life. 

One of Jodi's mottos was "Love is like a hug, so hang onto it," the minister said. People were advised to hug one another, and they did so. 

This was an expression of appreciation for life, love for a little girl who has lit up our lives, and definitely hope for justice. 
















Remember Jodi Parrack and help police find her killer (letter)
By Letter Writers
MLive
November 11, 2011 at 1:19 PM
http://www.mlive.com/opinion/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2011/11/remember_jodi_parrack_and_help.html



"Please don't let her memory fade. Bring anything with you that will light up the night for this Beautiful Girl that shined on so many people," reads the flyer. It shows the picture of a smiling 11-year-old little blond, blue eyed girl giving the "peace sign."

It is a photo that everyone knows, and one that should be in a family album, not posted on an electric pole asking for information to track down her killer.

The light went out for Jodi Parrack on Nov. 8, 2007, in the small village of Constantine, when she was found alongside her bicycle at the township cemetery. Her death was ruled a homicide by police.

A vigil to remember Jodi, with many hugs and tears was held on the fourth anniversary of her death on Nov. 8 at the Cannon Park. Luminaries were set out at the park and candles lit for the vigil at dusk.

A sky lantern was filled with air and sent aloft for Jodi. It lit up the night as Jodi lit up our hearts.

Jo Carver is Jodi's mother. Carver's fiance David Gilson said at the vigil though he never met Jodi, she must have been well liked to have so many friends.

"I know Jodi lives in heaven. Don't stop praying. God answers all your prayers," Gilson said. 

Carver added, "Jodi is still your friend and she loves you."

I think all of this is true. God loves Jodi. She loves us. She is friends with a whole town now.

Police Chief Jim Bedell is investigating the case, along with four cold case policemen. In an emotional speech, Bedell addressed the crowd, thanking them for attending.

"I feel we're getting close and hopefully next year, we won't have a vigil. Next year we'll have a celebration," he said, and I take heart from that comment.

A minister, a friend of the family, led a prayer for God to assist detectives to find whoever took Jodi's life. 

One of Jodi's mottos was "Love is like a hug, so hang onto it," the minister said. People were advised to hug one another and they did so.

This was an expression of appreciation for life, love for a little girl who has lit up our lives, and definitely hope for justice. 

Angie Birdsall/Constantine
















In Jodi's memory - Vigil marks fourth year since girl's death 
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Angie Birdsall - Special to the Journal
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A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday at Cannon Park in Constantine on the fourth anniversary of the death of Jodi Parrack. 

Luminaries were set out at the park and candles lit for the vigil at dusk. 

"We try to light up bags," said Sabrina Solis, a family friend. "We want to light up the night for her." 

Parrack, then an 11-year-old student at Riverside Elementary School, was reported missing in 2007. Her body was found during a search atConstantine Township Cemetery. Her death was ruled a homicide. 

"It's been too long," Solis said. "Somebody knows something. It's been four years and somebody in our community is walking free." 

Cold case detectives have been on the case since January. 

"They've got a lot of stuff to go through," Solis said. 

"Everybody's been talked to over and over again. If somebody would tell the truth, Jo (Carver, Jodi's mother) could get some closure." 

Parrack's mother's fiance, David Gilson, said he never met Jodi, and has only seen her picture. 

"I know Jodi lives in heaven right now," Gilson said. "She was saved before going to Jesus. To have thismany friends, shemust have been very well liked." 

Parrack'smother added, "Jodi is still your friend and she loves you." 

A sky lantern, brought by Taia Fletter, was filled with the hot air at the vigil and sent aloft in honor of Parrack. Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell addressed the gathering. 

"Thank you for coming. Jodi would appreciate it," Bedell said. 

"Since last year we've added four more investigators, working morning and night, five days a week." 

"I really feel we're getting close and hopefully next year, wewon't have a vigil. Next year, there will be a celebration," Bedell said. 
















Jodi Parrack vigil 
Scott Harmsen
Kalamazoo Gazett
November 09, 2011 9:40 AM
http://photos.mlive.com/mlivecom_photo_essays/2011/11/jodi_parrack_vigil.html

Dozens gathered Tuesday night at Canon Park in Constantine for a candlelight vigil on the fourth anniversary of the death of Jodi Parrack. The 11-year-old girl’s body was found in a cemetery Nov. 8, 2007, and her murder remains unsolved. (6 total photos)




























Remembering Jodi Parrack 4 years later
November 08, 2011
WOOD TV 8


















4 years later, police confident Jodi Parrack's killing 'will be solved' within a year
November 07, 2011 at 11:30 AM
Updated November 07, 2011 at 11:52 AM
MLive
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2011/11/michigan_state_police_detectiv.html







CONSTANTINE — Four years after Jodi Parrack was found dead in the cemetery of this small St. Joseph County town, her killer remains free.

But not for long, police say.

“That’s the true feeling,” said Detective Sgt. Shane Criger, head of a four-man team of Michigan State Police investigators that for the past 10 months has focused solely on solving the 11-year-old’s slaying.

“We are confident that this will be the last year that this goes unsolved,” he said.

Criger and troopers Jeremy Carlisle, Bryan Fuller and John Moore were assigned the case in January, providing assistance to Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell, who had been the sole investigator of the Nov. 8, 2007, homicide since the fall of 2009.

Team members since March have been based in an old house behind Constantine Village Hall, where they work together at a large table surrounded by binders of case reports. On the walls are whiteboards bearing case information and numerous photos of key witnesses.

Criger said that in the past several months he and his team have organized and digested more than 4,000 pages of reports. Among other things, they have interviewed the case’s original detectives and previous witnesses as they probe the slaying using cold-case methods.

So far, their investigation has yielded new leads, new witnesses and more than 250 new tips, the sergeant said.

“We have greatly narrowed our investigation since we began,” Criger said when asked about whether the team has zeroed in on any suspects or persons of interest in Jodi’s slaying.

The team also has acquired new video evidence in the case and is trying to obtain new technology “that could potentially give us the break we’re looking for” by pointing “us right to potential suspects,” Criger said.

Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen, who commands detectives in the state police’s Fifth District, said the team has made significant progress.

“They have narrowed the potential suspect pool down probably 10-fold,” Christensen said. “There’s obviously people that have surfaced that weren’t talked to originally that have been talked to with the cold-case team, and that’s due to a number of factors — relationship changes or just new information because of the passage of time.”

A stunned community
If they are able to crack the case, an arrest would provide answers to the small town of 2,100, which was rocked the night Jodi was found in the Constantine Township Cemetery.

Residents are expected to gather at 6 p.m. Tuesday for a candlelight vigil at Cannon Park in downtown Constantine, a yearly occurrence since 2007.

Jodi, a fifth-grader at Riverside Elementary School, was reported missing by her mother on Nov. 8 four years ago, after she failed to return home from a friend’s house in the 100 block of East Third Street.

She was last seen at about 4:45 p.m. riding a silver Mongoose bicycle near East Third and South Washington streets, wearing a black T-shirt, jeans and black tennis shoes.

Jodi’s mother, Valerie Carver, reported her daughter missing at about 7 p.m. after the child failed to return home by 5:30 p.m. 

Police have said Carver was with friends searching for Jodi at about 10:30 p.m. when they found the girl dead in the township cemetery.

Jodi’s bike was found nearby, and her death was ruled a homicide. The cause of her death has not been disclosed by investigators.

While Criger’s team is making headway, the sergeant acknowledged the case is more complex than others he has investigated because of the sheer volume of “physical evidence, many more witnesses and tips.”

“There’s no possible way one person could solve this by themselves,” Criger said.

As their investigation continues, Criger said, the team spends time each day in the cemetery where Parrack was found. He said they’ll be there Tuesday hoping to get a sense of what the cemetery and its surroundings looked like that day four years ago when Jodi was found dead.

“Sometimes it’s just a reminder of what we’re doing and why we’re here,” Criger said. “We are moving in the right direction ... This case will be solved, and it’s just a matter of time and thorough investigation.

“It will be solved.”

Police ask anyone with information about the Jodi Parrack case to contact the team at 269-435-1072 or 269-435-1074.
















Detectives try to crack 11-year-old's murder - 
Body of Jodi Parrack was left in Constantine cemetery in 2007 
Grand Rapids Press, The (MI)
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Jef Rietsma / The Associated Press
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CONSTANTINE -- Five crates containing more than 20 binders crammed full of documents sit prominently in a room being used by a team of officials from the Michigan State Police agency investigating the 2007 homicide of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack . 

Over the past months, the files have been reviewed and organized by a four-member team charged with solving the Parrack case. 

"These are top-shelf investigators for the entire district. They've gotten more extensive training than what a normal road trooper would get," said Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen, from Michigan State Police's office in Paw Paw. "They've literally started from scratch." 

The state police team and Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell recently announced the four-member unit of investigators has set up a satellite location in the village of Constantine, where Jodi was found murdered on Nov. 8, 2007. The team recently started its work in a village-owned building. 

Bedell and Christensen said they have no doubt the case will be solved. 

Since early January, the four state police officials assembled in Paw Paw and took inventory of more than 5,000 pages of paperwork, evidence and leads provided to them by Bedell. To date, more than 900 tips have been offered. 

The investigation centers on the November 2007 murder of Parrack, a Constantine Middle School student. Her bicycle and body were found in a Constantine cemetery hours after she was reported missing. 

Bedell and investigators have secured DNA samples that have been compared to several potential matches. He did not elaborate, other than to say a match has not yet been found. 

The four State Police officials, assigned to the case indefinitely, have training in cold-case homicide investigations, Christensen said. 

Parrack's mother, 37-year-old Valerie Carver, said she is glad to see more detectives involved in the investigation. 

"I've seen Jodi's friends and they're all grown up. I didn't stay in touch with them at first, but lately I've started to talk to some of them on Facebook," Carver said. "Emotionally, it's still very hard for me." 

Christensen said sending cold-case investigators to work where a crime remains unsolved is not an unprecedented measure. 

"If there's a (situation) that a cold-case team should commit to, this is the one," Christensen said. "An 11-year-old girl was murdered." 

Constantine Village Manager Mark Honeysett said Bedell deserves credit for all he has done so far. 

"He's lived up to his word, which, from the day he was hired, was to stay on top of the Parrack case," Honeysett said. "It's caused him plenty of sleepless nights." 

Bedell said he believes the suspect lives in the area and is an associate of Parrack and her family. 

Assigned to the case indefinitely are state police Detective Sgt. Shane Criger and troopers Jeremy Carlisle (White Pigeon post), Bryan Fuller (Hastings post) and John Moore (Niles post). Bedell will continue to be active in the investigation. 
















Elite group of Michigan detectives tries to crack 2007 homicide case - Cold-case investigation
Daily Telegram, The (Adrian, MI)
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Jef Rietsma; Sturgis Journal
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CONSTANTINE - Five crates containing more than 20 binders crammed full of documents sit prominently in a room being used by a team of officials from the Michigan State Police agency investigating the 2007 homicide of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack . 

Over the past months, the files have been reviewed and organized by a four member team charged with solving the Parrack case. 

"These are top-shelf investigators for the entire district. They've gotten more extensive training than what a normal road trooper would get," said Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen, from Michigan State Police's Fifth District office in Paw Paw. "They've literally started from scratch." 

The state police team and Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell recently held a press conference to announce that the four-member unit of investigators has set up a satellite location in the village where Parrack was found murdered on Nov. 8, 2007. 

The team recently started its work in a village-owned building. 

Bedell and Christensen said they have no doubt the case will be solved. 

Since early January, the four state police officials assembled in Paw Paw and took inventory of more than 5,000 pages of paperwork, evidence and leads provided to them by Bedell. To date, more than 900 tips have been offered. 

The investigation centers on the November 2007 murder of Parrack, a Constantine Middle School student. 

Her bicycle and body were found in a Constantine cemetery hours after she was reported missing. 

Bedell and investigators have secured DNA samples that have been compared to several potential matches. He did not elaborate, other than to say there obviously has not been a match found so far. 

The four MSP officials, assigned to the case indefinitely, have specialized training in cold-case homicide investigations, Christensen said. 

Parrack's mother, 37-year-old Valerie Carver, attended a portion of the press conference and said she is glad to see more detectives involved in the investigation. 

"I've seen Jodi's friends (in the years since her death) and they're all grown up. I didn't stay in touch with them at first, but lately I've started to talk to some of them on Facebook," Carver said. 

"Emotionally, it's still very hard for me." 

In January, Christensen said sending cold-case investigators to work where a crime remains unsolved is not an unprecedented measure. 

"If there's a (situation) that a cold case team should commit to, this is the one," Christensen said. "An 11-year-old girl was murdered." 

Bedell said he hopes the next press conference he scheduled will be to announce the capture of a suspect responsible for Parrack's death. Bedell said it's his opinion that the suspect lives in the area and is an associate of Parrack and her family. 

Assigned to the case indefinitely are Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Shane Criger, and troopers Jeremy Carlisle (White Pigeon post), Bryan Fuller (Hastings post) and John Moore (Niles post). Bedell will remain an active participant in the investigation. 
















Police confident about solving girl's '07 murder 
Cold-case team works solely on slaying of 11-year-old in southern Michigan
Grand Rapids Press, The (MI)
Monday, March 21, 2011
Jef Rietsma / Press News Service
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CONSTANTINE -- Police expressed optimism they will solve the murder of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack now that a four-man team from the Michigan State Police is working solely on the 2007 case from a satellite office in this town about 30 miles south of Kalamazoo. 

"I hope this is the last (news conference) before the big one," Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell said last week of his hope that the next news conference will be to announce an arrest. 

On Nov. 8, 2007, Jodi's body was found, along with her bicycle, in Constantine Township Cemetery, hours after she was reported missing. Bedell and Detective First Lt. Chuck Christensen, of the Michigan State Police Fifth District headquarters in Paw Paw, both said during the news conference at Constantine Village Hall that they are confident her murder will be solved. 

A State Police team of Detective/Sgt. Shane Criger and troopers Jeremy Carlisle of the White Pigeon post, Bryan Fuller of the Hastings post and John Moore of the Niles post are working on the case out of the Constantine office and reporting to Christensen. 

Starting in early January, the MSP team assembled in Paw Paw and took inventory of more than 5,000 pages of paperwork, evidence and leads provided to them by Bedell, before moving to Constantine. To date, more than 900 tips have been offered, officials said Monday. 

Bedell and investigators have secured DNA samples that have been compared to several potential matches. Bedell did not elaborate, other than to say that there has not been a match found so far. 

The four members of the MSP team devoted to the case are specially trained in cold-case homicide investigations. 

"These are top-shelf investigators for the entire district," Christensen said. "If there's a (situation) that a cold-case team should commit to, this is the one. An 11-year-old girl was murdered." 

Parrack's mother, 37-year-old Valerie Carver, who attended the tail end of Monday's news conference, said she's glad to see more detectives involved in the investigation. 

"I've seen Jodi's friends (in the years sine her passing) and they're all grown up. ... I didn't stay in touch with them at first, but lately I've started to talk to some of them on Facebook," Carver said. 

Bedell, who was hired after the murder, will remain active in the investigation. Constantine Village Manager Mark Honeysett said the police chief deserves credit for all he's done so far. 

"He's lived up to his word, which, from the day he was hired, was to stay on top of the Parrack case," Honeysett said. "It's caused him plenty of sleepless nights." 

















Investigators say they are confident about solving Constantine murder of Jodi Parrack
March 15, 2011 at 6:30 AM
Updated November 07, 2011 at 10:09 AM
MLive
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2011/03/investigators_say_they_are_con.html






CONSTANTINE — Police expressed optimism they will solve the murder of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack now that a four-man team from the Michigan State Police is working solely on the 2007 case from a satellite office in Constantine. 

“I hope this is the last (news conference) before the big one,” Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell said Monday of his hope that the next news conference will be to announce an arrest.

On Nov. 8, 2007, Jodi’s body was found, along with her bicycle, in Constantine Township Cemetery, hours after she was reported missing.Bedell and Detective First Lt. Chuck Christensen, of the Michigan State Police Fifth District headquarters in Paw Paw, both said during the news conference at Constantine Village Hall that they are confident her murder will be solved.

A State Police team of Detective/Sgt. Shane Criger and troopers Jeremy Carlisle of the White Pigeon post, Bryan Fuller of the Hastings post and John Moore of the Niles post are working on the case out of the Constantine office and reporting to Christensen.

Starting in early January, the MSP team assembled in Paw Paw and took inventory of more than 5,000 pages of paperwork, evidence and leads provided to them by Bedell, before moving to Constantine. To date, more than 900 tips have been offered, officials said Monday. 

Bedell and investigators have secured DNA samples that have been compared to several potential matches. Bedell did not elaborate, other than to say that there has not been a match found so far.

The four members of the MSP team devoted to the case are specially trained in cold-case homicide investigations.

“These are top-shelf investigators for the entire district,” Christensen said. “If there’s a (situation) that a cold-case team should commit to, this is the one. An 11-year-old girl was murdered.”

Parrack’s mother, 37-year-old Valerie Carver, who attended the tail end of Monday’s news conference, said she’s glad to see more detectives involved in the investigation.

“I’ve seen Jodi’s friends (in the years sine her passing) and they’re all grown up. ... I didn’t stay in touch with them at first, but lately I’ve started to talk to some of them on Facebook,” Carver said.

Bedell, who was hired after the murder, will remain active in the investigation. Constantine Village Manager Mark Honeysett said the police chief deserves credit for all he’s done so far. 

“He’s lived up to his word, which, from the day he was hired, was to stay on top of the Parrack case,” Honeysett said. “It’s caused him plenty of sleepless nights.” 














Cold-case commitment - Special team focused on finding suspect 
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
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- Valerie Carver, mother of Jodi Parrack 

Five crates containing more than 20 binders crammedfull of documents sit prominently in a room being used by a team of officials from the Michigan State Police agency investigating the 2007 homicide of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack . 

Over the past two months, the fileshavebeenreviewedand organized by a four-member team charged with solving the Parrack case. 

"These are top-shelf investigators for the entire district… they've gotten more extensive training than what a normal road trooper would get," said Det./1st Lt. ChuckChristensen, fromMichigan State Police's Fifth District office in Paw Paw. "They've literally started from scratch." 


The State Police team and Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell on Monday held a press conference to announce that the four-member unit of investigators has set up a satellite location in the village where Parrack was found murdered on Nov. 8, 2007. The team started its work in a village-owned building last week. 

Bedell and Christensen said they have no doubt the case will be solved. 

Since early January, the four State Police officials assembled in Paw Paw and took inventory of more than 5,000 pages of paperwork, evidence and leads provided to them by Bedell. To date, more than 900 tips have been offered. The investigation centers on the November 2007 murder of Parrack, a ConstantineMiddle School student. Her bicycle and body were found in a Constantine cemetery hours after she was reported missing. 

Bedell and investigators have secured DNA samples that have been compared to several potential matches. He did not elaborate, other than to say there obviously has not been a match found so far. The four MSP officials, assigned to the case indefinitely, have specialized training in cold-case homicide investigations, Christensen said. 

Parrack's mother, 37- year- old Valerie Carver, attended a portion of the press conference and said she is glad to see more detectives involved in the investigation. 

"I've seen Jodi's friends (in the years since her death) and they're all grown up… I didn't stay in touch with them at first, but lately I've started to talk to some of them on Facebook," Carver said. "Emotionally, it's still very hard for me." 

In January, Christensen said sending cold-case investigators to work where a crime remains unsolved is not an unprecedented measure. 

"If there's a (situation) that a coldcase team should commit to, this is the one," Christensen said. "An 11year-old girl was murdered." 

Constantine Village Manager Mark Honeysett said Bedell deserves credit for all he has done so far. 

"He's lived up to his word, which, from the day he was hired, was to stay on top of the Parrack case," Honeysett said. "It's caused him plenty of sleepless nights." 

Bedell said he hopes the next press conference he scheduled will be to announce the capture of a suspect responsible for Parrack's death. Bedell said it's his opinion that the suspect lives in the area and is an associate of Parrack and her family. 

A ssigned to the case indefinitely are Michigan State Police Det./Sgt. Shane Criger, and troopers Jeremy Carlisle (White Pigeon post), Bryan Fuller (Hastings post) and John Moore ( Niles post). Bedell will remain an active participant in the investigation. 

"I didn't stay in touch with (Jodi's friends) at first, but lately I've started to talk to some of them on Facebook. 

"Emotionally, it's still very hard for me." 


















Investigators confident they'll solve Jodi Parrack homicide
March 14, 2011 at 12:01 PM
Updated November 07, 2011 at 9:59 AM
MLive
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2011/03/investigators_confident_theyll.html


CONSTANTINE — Michigan State Police and local investigators held a press conference this morning to talk about their investigation into the 2007 homicide of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack.

The state police have assembled a four-person, cold-case team to investigate the case.

The crime was initially investigated by the St. Joseph County Sheriff's Office and the Constantine Police Department.

"It's difficult when you switch and new people take over the case because they're starting from scratch," said Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen, of the MSP Fifth District headquarters in Paw Paw, who will oversee the team.

"But we wouldn't be here if we weren't confident that the case will be solved," Christensen added.

Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell said he was confident that the case would be solved.

Jodi's body was found Nov. 8, 2007 in the Constantine Township Cemetery, hours after she had gone for a bike ride.

Police have received more than 900 tips since the initial investigation began, Bedell said today.

Since the state police took over the investigation earlier this month, they have combed through more than 5,000 pages of documents.
Police ask anyone with information about the case to call 269-435-1072.


















Who Killed Jodi Parrack? 
Girl's Mother Believes Killer is Not Far Away 
FOX - 17 WXMI (Grand Rapids, MI)
Monday, March 14, 2011
Lindsay Kus, WXMI-TV, Grand Rapids, Mich.
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March 14--CONSTANTINE The murder of Jodi Parrack still remains a mystery more than three years after her death. 

On Monday,The Michigan State Police Cold Case Team assigned to work the case announced they are confident in finding Jodi's killer. 

"One of the things the case lacked was a central team or point to organize it," said Lt. Chuck Christensen with Michigan State Police 5th District Headquarters. 

His new team of four will work closely with Constantine Police to solve the case. 

They've spent the last two months re-organizing and say they are going to be starting from scratch with interviews. 

"They are going to be doing duplicate interviews with people who have already been talked to and that's just how it works in cold cases like this, you start from the beginning and work your way through," said Christensen. 

Detectives have remained tight lipped about DNA evidence and possible suspects, but say they are confident they will solve the case. 

Constantine Police Chief James Bedell, who's been with the case since the start, believes the killer is in the community. 

Valerie Jo Carver, Jodi's mom, says she's not resting until that person is found. 

"I think whoever did this deserves to be punished for what they did and if they don't, they are going to do it again," said Carver. 

She remembers Jodi, her youngest child, as her little tomboy and princess. 

On that November day in 2007, Jodi was expected home from a friend's house by 5:30 p.m. 

When she didn't show up, her mother filed a police report. Two hours later her mother found Jodi's body not far from where her bicycle was propped against a tombstone in the Constantine cemetery. 

The murder rocked the small town of Constantine and the investigation has changed hands several times. 

The community has kept the child's memory alive by holding an annual candlelight memorial, care bears and flowers still surround the spot she was found in the village cemetery. 

The State Police Cold Case Team has set up a tip line and texting line and are asking anyone with information regarding Jodi Parrack 's murder to please call 1-269-435-1072 or TEXT 269-858-8197. 
















Michigan State Police cold case team probing Jodi Parrack homicide
January 24, 2011 at 7:55 AM
Updated November 07, 2011 at 10:04 AM
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2011/01/michigan_state_police_cold_cas.html


CONSTANTINE — The investigation of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack's murder is getting extra attention from a group of specially trained Michigan State Police troopers.

The four-person team was assembled earlier this month and has expertise in cold-case investigations, according to Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen, of the MSP Fifth District headquarters in Paw Paw.

He said the team is in Paw Paw reviewing and taking inventory of paperwork, evidence and leads provided to them by Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell. In four to six weeks, the investigators will relocate to a temporary office in Constantine and continue their work from there until the case is closed, Christensen said.

Bedell will remain involved in the investigation of the November 2007 murder. Jodi’s bicycle and body were found in a Constantine cemetery hours after she was reported missing.

Christensen said being in close proximity to the scene of the crime, having a presence in the community and the opportunity to quickly and personally follow up on tips are benefits to having investigators in Constantine.

Bedell said he has invested thousands of hours into the case and welcomes the assistance.

“You follow up on one lead and then that typically branches into many different directions,” said the Constantine police chief, who said he spends more than 60 percent of an average work week on the Parrack case.

The assistance will give Bedell a chance to stay abreast of other police-related matters in the village, but the team of investigators will be dedicated solely to the Parrack case, Christensen said.

“If there's a (situation) that a cold-case team should commit to, this is the one,” Christensen said. “An 11-year-old girl was murdered.”

Bedell said several hundred tips have been provided to the Constantine Police Department. He said no matter how far-fetched a lead may seem, he investigates every one brought to his attention. A credible tip was passed along within the past week, said Bedell, who declined to elaborate.

“Four or five pairs of eyes are better than one and there's always that chance that something that might have gotten overlooked is picked up by someone else … it could be a small oversight like that that could wind up being the break we need,” Bedell said.

Constantine Village Manager Mark Honeysett credits Bedell for the work he’s done so far.

“He's lived up to his word which, from the day he was hired, was to stay on top of the Parrack case,” Honeysett said. “It's caused him plenty of sleepless nights.”
















Team assigned to Parrack case
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Monday, January 24, 2011
Jef Rietsma ; Journal correspondent
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A team of Michigan State Police investigators has been assigned to the Jodi Parrack murder case and will soon be working from a temporary site in Constantine. 

Det./ 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen, from the MSP's Fifth District office in Paw Paw, said a detective- sergeant will oversee four trooper-investigators working in a villageowned facility by early March. 

The team delegated to the review is specially trained in cold-case investigations, Christensen said. 

In the meantime, the MSP team was assembled earlier this month and remains in Paw Paw to sort through paperwork, review evidence and take inventory of leads before it relocates to the village where 11-year-old Parrack was found murdered Nov. 8, 2007. 

Christensen said Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell has turned over all paperwork, evidence and leads to the investigating team. Bedell will remain assigned to the case but will work in conjunction with the MSP investigators, Christensen added. 

He said it's not unusual for coldcase investigators to set up a temporary worksite in a community where such a crime has occurred. Christensen noted that proximity to the scene of the crime, a presence in the community and the opportunity to follow up on tips are benefits to having investigators in town. 

"If there's a (situation) that a coldcase team should commit to, this is the one - an 11-year-old girl was murdered," Christensen said. 

He said the investigators will likely remain in Constantine until the case is solved. 

Bedell said he looks forward to the help. 

"It's a lot of work for one person - you follow up on one lead and then that typically branches into many different directions," Bedell said, noting that he spends more than 60 percent of an average work week on the Parrack case. "The help from the state is going to be outstanding; I asked for one detective and I got four, so I'm grateful." 

While Bedell will continue to tend to other police-related matters in the village, the team of MSP investigators will be dedicated solely to the Parrack case, Christensen said. 

Bedell said since Parrack's murder, several hundred tips have been provided to the Constantine Police Department. Bedell said no matter how far-fetched any of the leads may seem, he investigates every one brought to his attention. A credible tip, in fact, was passed along within the past week, he said. 

Bedell said he is glad to still be involved in the investigation, but not for the glory once the case is solved. 

"It's not about who gets the credit for solving the case, we just want it solved and someone to be held accountable for what happened," Bedell said. 

Constantine Village Manager Mark Honeysett said Bedell deserves credit for all he's done so far. 

"He's lived up to his word, which, from the day he was hired, was to stay on top of the Parrack case," Honeysett said. " It's caused him plenty of sleepless nights." 















Jodi Parrack Murder Investigation - 2010



Vigil for Parrack draws large crowd
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Monday, November 15, 2010
Angie Birdsall ; Journal correspondent
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A candlelight vigil for Jodi Parrack held Nov. 8 at Cannon Park in Constantine, inspired over 100 people to attend. 

The vigil marked the third year since 11- yearold Parrack was slain by an unknown assailant and her body left at Constantine Township Cemetery. 

Valarie "Jo" Carver, Parrack's mother, remains optimistic, according to a Kristy Pearson. Pearson is Jodi Parrack 's aunt. Carver and Pearson organized the vigil. 

"My sister said by this time next year the perpetrator will be caught, that's how confident she is," Pearson said. " Friends want us to do it (vigil) even when he is caught. 

Some times are harder ( missing Jodi) than others. It would be a little bit easier if he were caught." 

A conference speech held earlier during the week, was followed by a speech at the vigil by police Chief Jim Bedell. Bedell was asked to speak at the vigil in late August. 

"Bedell's been trying really hard," Pearson said. 

"In his office, on his desk, he's got a lot of information, all of it. He's even got a few pictures of Jodi on his desk." 
















Jodi Parrack remembered in Constantine on three-year anniversary of her slaying
Kalamazoo Gazette
November 08, 2010 at 9:30 PM
Updated November 07, 2011 at 10:07 AM
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2010/11/jodi_parrack_remembered_in_con.html



CONSTANTINE — Community members gathered Monday evening in Constantine to remember Jodi Parrack. 

She's the 11-year-old girl whose body was found in Constantine Township Cemetery on Nov. 8, 2007, hours after she had gone for a bike ride.

Michigan State Police say they are devoting two troopers to investigate the case, which remains unsolved.

















Community gathers for Jodi Parrack
WOOD TV 8
November 08, 2010
















Community to gather for Jodi Parrack
WOOD TV 8
November 08, 2010


















Michigan State Police to help chief probe Jodi Parrack's slaying 
2007 killing in Constantine still unsolved, but tips abound
November 07, 2010 at 10:05 AM
Updated November 07, 2011 at 10:01 AM
MLive
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2010/11/michigan_state_police_to_help.html

CONSTANTINE — For more than a year, Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell has been the sole investigator trying to crack the unsolved slaying of 11-year-old Jodi Christine Parrack. 

The case rocked this small St. Joseph County town, and Bedell said the magnitude of the investigation — the number of witnesses, the evidence, the thousands of pages of reports — has made the task too difficult for him to handle alone if he hopes to ever bring Jodi’s killer to justice.

In January, he’ll get some help.

Michigan State Police plan to assign two trooper investigators to Bedell, who will focus solely on probing Jodi’s slaying and finding her killer. 

The troopers will work out of Constantine, and there are no plans for them to leave until an arrest or arrests have been made in the 2007 case.

“Two heads are better than one,” Bedell said. “They’re going to stay here for as long as it takes, I hope.”

Jodi, a fifth-grader at Riverside Elementary, left a friend’s house in the 100 block of East Third Street at about 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2007. She was last seen riding a silver Mongoose bicycle near East Third and South Washington streets, wearing a black T-shirt, jeans and black tennis shoes.

Jodi’s mother, Valerie Carver, reported her daughter missing at about 7 that night after Jodi failed to return home by 5:30 p.m.. 

Police have said Carver was with friends searching for Jodi at about 10:30 p.m. when they found Jodi dead in the Constantine Township Cemetery.

Jodi’s bike was found nearby. Her death was ruled a homicide, but the cause of her death has not been disclosed.

As Constantine’s top cop, Bedell said finding Jodi’s killer continues to be his top priority. Last week he conducted five interviews as part of his investigation, he said.

He said he has suspects in the case and is confident it will eventually be solved, but he admitted that investigating the case by himself has not been easy.

“We have numerous tips,” the chief said. “They continue to come in. The problem is, I’m only one guy.”

State Police Detective First Lieutenant Chuck Christensen said he and other command staff from State Police Fifth District Headquarters in Paw Paw met with Bedell in October and agreed to offer assistance in the Parrack homicide investigation. 

Bedell himself is a former trooper and retired from the Michigan State Police in 1999 as a detective lieutenant.

Christensen said that while Jodi’s slaying is not what police would term a traditional “cold case” homicide, the trooper investigators who will assist Bedell will investigate the slaying using cold-case methodology.

“We are going to be starting from the beginning,” Christensen said. “We wouldn’t be offering our assistance if we didn’t think we were going to be successful on it.

Christensen said the trooper investigators will likely spend their first month in Constantine organizing their investigation and reviewing reports. After that, they’ll begin their actual investigation, he said.

“It’s very important that this one gets solved,” Christensen said. “If you talk about a case that pulls at your heart strings, obviously it’s this one.”

Bedell said last week that police have compiled more than 800 tips in the Parrack case and submitted numerous DNA samples to state police for analysis but have failed to match any samples to the DNA collected at the scene that belongs to the perpetrator.

Police have been able to confirm that Jodi’s killer was a male through the DNA sample, Bedell has said.

“I ain’t gonna give up on it,” Bedell said. “If he did it once, he’ll do it again ... I want this guy.”

A candlelight memorial for Jodi is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at Cannon Park in downtown Constantine.

Anyone with information about Jodi’s slayig is asked to call Constantine police at (269) 435-4355, the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Office at (269) 467-4195 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-342-STOP.

















Chief: Jodi Parrack case is 'solvable'
WOOD TV 8
November 05, 2010
















MSP to help solve case - Three-year anniversary of child's murder approaches
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Corky Emrick
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Three years ago Monday - Nov. 8, 2007 - 11- year- old Jodi Parrack of Constantine was found murdered in the Constantine Township Cemetery. 

By mid- January, Constantine Police will have the help of two Michigan State Police detectives to help solve the case. 

Bedell said there have been nearly 900 leads and more than 100 DNA samples collected in connection with the case, but the work is ongoing. "I've been working this case to death," Bedell said this week. "Every day, I work on it. I spend as much time as I possibly can on it." 

Parrack was late getting home that night three years ago when her family called police and went to look for her. Her mother, Valerie Carver, found Parrack's body in the Constantine Township Cemetery under an ancient oak tree. A borrowed bike Parrack had been riding was found nearby. Bedell said he still has a lot of tips that require follow- up. 

"The problem is that I'm working on one tip and that will lead to something else, which needs to be followed up on," Bedell said. "It just sort of branches out and gets too big for one person to handle." In October, Bedell sought the help of State Police. 

"I told them I had a mountain of work to do and I don't want this to end up a cold case," he said. "I talk to Mom all the time. I talk to Grandma all the time. It's disappointing to them and disappointing to have to tell them that I'm working on it, but don't have any good leads." 

Having two full- time detectives would be a big help, Bedell said. 

"It's great because they will be spending all of their time on this," Bedell said. " I think this is a solvable case. We have DNA, we just have to match it up." 

Det./ Lt. Chuck Christensen of the Michigan State Police 5th District said two detectives will be assigned to Constantine to help organize the case, then trooper investigators will take over. 

"We have an organizational process we use," Christensen said. " We've used this since 2000. It indexes every report so if we want a piece of information, we have it in a matter of seconds." 

Christensen said his staff has no timeline. 

"We will stay as long as the investigation is going," Christensen said. " We will work until no stone is unturned. We will keep working this case." 

Bedell is optimistic the case will be solved out of pure determination. 

" I really feel confident that we are going to solve this case," he said. 

A vigil for Parrack is planned for Monday in Constantine. 
















Michigan State Police veteran John Slenk to retire after 37 years
MLive
Rex Hall Jr.
August 29, 2010 at 7:00 AM
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2010/08/michigan_state_police_veteran.html







PAW PAW — The two framed photos on the wood-paneled wall of John Slenk’s office could not be more different.

The larger of the two is that of a bald eagle, the word tenacity in capital letters beneath it. 

“Never let defeat have the last word,” it says boldly.

Ask Slenk about his career as a Michigan State Police trooper and detective or quiz him about the hundreds of cases he has investigated and solved — some of them high profile — and he’ll answer by raising his arm and pointing at that eagle.

“You’ve got to believe that everything you investigate you will solve,” Slenk said. “I don’t have a mind-set in me that I’m going to lose anything.”

The other frame hangs to the right of the eagle, a rectangular mounting displaying seven photos of his grandchildren.

When Slenk talks about what’s ahead of him as his 37-year career as a lawman comes to an end Tuesday, he speaks of fishing and yard work and building bird houses.

And his eyes find that frame.

He says it’s his favorite of any of the photos and numerous awards collected in the office he has occupied for the past 16 years at the State Police Fifth District Headquarters in Paw Paw.

The seven photos are each outlined by a capital letter.“Grandpa,” they spell.

“I’ve had some hellacious experiences, but to keep a balance in this job, you need to keep a balance in your life,” said Slenk, 64. 

“Family always comes first. 

“They have to.”

A ‘go-to’ investigator 
As he closes the book on a career with the state police, Slenk leaves as one of the most respected investigators in the agency.

He’s seen as the task-force guru among his colleagues, a policeman who believes criminals can be caught and cases solved faster if agencies pool their resources and manpower.

He also walks away having investigated, or, at the very least, headed some of the major cases in Southwest Michigan and the state.

“He is a go-to person when we have complex investigations,” Lt. Col. Gary Gorski said. “... That’s the guy we want to tap into.”

Slenk was the commander of a state police cold-case unit that finally cracked the 25-year-old slaying of Janet Chandler, a Hope College student whose body was found on the side of a South Haven highway in 1979.

When the state police were asked to investigate the long-rumored party held by former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at the Manoogian Mansion during which a stripper was reportedly assaulted by Kilpatrick’s wife, Slenk was one of two detective lieutenants called to Lansing to possibly head the probe.

More recently, he supervised the state police investigations of the Calista Springer case in Centreville and the slaying of 32-year-old Venus Stewart, of Colon, whose husband is set to stand trial in November on murder charges.

And when authorities in Flint wanted to set up a task force to find the serial stabber who terrorized the city for months, Slenk’s phone rang.

“Everybody’s picking my brain,” Slenk said. “They asked for help, I’ll help.”

While his vast knowledge and prior work on major cases make him a resource for the state police and other departments, Slenk is also somewhat of a father figure to the 10 detectives he commands within the agency’s fifth district, an area that encompasses the southwestern corner of the state.

“John’s just an old detective,” said Detective Sgt. Mike Scott, a 31-year veteran himself who is assigned to the White Pigeon post and worked closely with Slenk on the Springer and Stewart cases, among others.

“You have total respect for him. He’s good at what he does. You’re constantly calling him, saying, ‘Hey, let me bounce this off of you.’

“He’s been a fantastic resource for me. I don’t know how many times I’ve called him.”

Looking back 
Slenk’s rise through the state police ranks began in 1973 when he graduated from the 85th trooper recruit school and was assigned to the post in Flint.

He says his first few days at the post served as no indication of the career that awaited him as a state trooper.

“I painted,” Slenk said of his first three days on the job. He also was called “a cub” by his superiors and his first night on the road he was forced to ride in the back seat of a cruiser the entire eight-hour shift while two senior troopers rode up front and never talked to him.
Looking back, though, Slenk says his time at the Flint post gave him a solid foundation on which he built his career.

After his initial hazing, he recalls saving a man’s life with cardiopulmonary resuscitation and getting the opportunity to work with post detectives on several major cases. He said he knew, after just two years on the job, that he wanted to be an investigator.

Even with those job aspirations, Slenk said he tried to keep a balance between his job at the post and his time at home.

Unlike some of his counterparts, he came to work in uniform and didn’t get dressed at the post. This practice, he said, gave him an excuse to head directly home after work and avoid spending time at local haunts with fellow troopers after their shift.

“I always worked hard not to take my work home,” Slenk says of himself then and now.

“In my off-duty time, my balance goes with my family and church. You can keep a good balance. ... If you eat, sleep and live that job 24-7, your view of the world gets myopic. You begin to view society as totally depraved.”

Slenk worked at the Flint post for more than eight years as a trooper before being promoted to detective sergeant and moving to the agency’s Second District Headquarters in Northville.

It was there that he investigated a $2.5 million embezzlement at the now-defunct American Motors that led to the arrests of three mid-level executives who were each charged with 96 counts. One of the executives, Slenk recalled, was the son of a Wayne County Circuit judge.

Less than three years later, Slenk went back to Flint as a detective sergeant. While his time in Northville was spent mostly investigating “white-collar” crime, Slenk said he found himself in the middle of several heinous homicide investigations during his return to the city where his career began.

Those cases, he said, are the ones he remembers most.

“Homicide is the ultimate crime,” Slenk said. “There is no crime that has the adverse impact that homicide does.”

Ask Slenk to list homicides he has investigated and he’ll talk about how a bloody footprint helped him identify three men who murdered a friend for his paycheck from General Motors after coaxing him to a house in Flint for a game of cards.

Slenk broke the case with the bloody footprint and a confession he prodded from one of the suspects, a 16-year-old boy.

“The nitty-gritty of most detective work is talking, talking, talking,” Slenk said. “You’ve got to like people, listen and talk. ... You don’t like what (the suspect) did ... but you got to like the person. When you look for that one little speck of good in someone, it helps you to like them.

“Even the bad guys, I tried to treat them the way I wanted to be treated.”

Slenk also talks about another case he investigated in Flint when a slain woman’s body was found in a snow bank outside an elementary school.

He talks about the three people, including a 17-year-old boy, who were shot and killed inside a Flushing party store by two convicts who felt the best way not to be identified and arrested was to kill anyone they came across during their crime spree.
And then there’s Janet Chandler.

Biggest case
Slenk came to Southwest Michigan in 1987 when he was promoted to detective lieutenant and assigned to the Southwest Enforcement Team, one of several state police drug-interdiction units. The eight years he spent with SWET conducting drug probes and leading a crew of investigators were the toughest of his career, he said.

He struggled to keep a balance between work and family. He said undercover drug investigations require working all hours of the day, or what he calls “doper time,” to combat the nonstop criminal trade.

That was the reason why, in 1994, when he was offered a spot at Fifth District Headquarters in Paw Paw, he jumped at the opportunity.

The new position allowed him to direct a team of detectives comprised of investigators from every post within the fifth district. It allowed him to put into practice his strong belief in task forces, including a cold-case unit he formed in 2000.

The unit’s objective was to delve into unsolved homicides in the district and solve them by “taking one, digesting it, remembering it and working on that case only.”

“I know for a fact that if I can spend time on one case only, I can solve it,” Slenk said. “I know I can.”

At the time that he formed the cold-case unit 10 years ago, Slenk said the detectives at the eight state police posts under his supervision had 26 unsolved homicides.

Among them was a case troopers at the South Haven post had gotten following the Jan. 31, 1979, disappearance and slaying of Chandler, 22.

Slenk calls the case the biggest and most important of his career because it took his team three years to solve the murder. He led a team of state police detectives and investigators from the Holland Police Department that began studying the case in 2004.

Slenk said he knew the case would be difficult to solve. His detectives hit several dead ends in the beginning, but he says they never stopped “turning over rocks.”

By 2008, the investigation had led to the arrests and murder convictions of six people and closure for Chandler’s elderly parents. Chandler, who at the time of her slaying was working as a night clerk at the Blue Mill Inn in Holland, was raped, tortured and strangled before her body was dumped along a highway near Covert.

The probe attracted local and national media coverage, including a “Dateline NBC” report on the case that included interviews with Slenk and his cold-case unit.

Slenk said the initial investigation of Chandler’s death was hindered because five of the six suspects were temporary security guards who were staying at the Blue Mill Inn during a local strike in 1979.

The guards, he said, lived in several states and returned to their homes before detectives could do thorough interviews with them.

He said authorities also lost time investigating two potential suspects who bragged about killing Chandler but have since been cleared.

“Any time you can solve a heinous crime like that, it’s satisfying,” Slenk said. “I think justice is a little bit of a hollow term for the victim. You get justice for the bad guy; closure is probably a better term for the family.

“(The Chandler case) is just a good example of what you can do if you don’t quit.”

Work left undone 
While he has had success, Slenk said he knows there will be several things unfinished when he leaves on Tuesday.

Among them are unsolved cases in Southwest Michigan that he wishes he could have investigated with teams similar to the group that cracked the Chandler case.

There’s the 1997 disappearance of 12-year-old Brittany Beers in Sturgis, which Slenk said “didn’t get the attention it needed from the beginning.” There’s the 2004 disappearance of Mary Lands in Marshall.

And there’s Jodi Parrack, the 11-year-old Constantine girl found dead in the Constantine Township cemetery in November 2007.

Slenk said he’s confident the case will be solved and expressed faith in Jim Bedell, the Constantine police chief and former Michigan State Police trooper who has said job No. 1 for him is finding Jodi’s killer.

“Jodi Parrack is one I wish we would have been involved in from the start and we would have solved it,” Slenk said. “Initially, that investigation was handled poorly; however, I remain optimistic ... that that case will someday be solved because of the evidence we have.”

The Chandler case will stick with Slenk too, he says. Even with the arrests and convictions his cold case team was able to secure, Slenk said the investigation remains open because two suspects “with culpability” have been identified but not charged.

“I’m still hopeful that there will be enough evidence to prosecute them,” Slenk said. “It’ll stay open. There’s unfinished business on that case yet.”

Slenk said his retirement will bring with it the first break he’s had since he was 11 years old when his parents put him to work at a nursery in Holland.

He walks away with concerns about the cash-strapped agency and its staffing, with the number of enlisted troopers now at 988.

At the time he began his career in Flint, Slenk said the post had 35 troopers, five detectives, a detective lieutenant, four desk sergeants, a post commander and assistant and two secretaries.

Now, he says, the post still has the two post commander positions and the same number of desk sergeants but only 17 troopers and three detectives.

“They’re doing twice as much with half the people,” he said.

In addition to staffing cuts, Slenk said troopers have been asked to assist with police patrols in cash-strapped cities like Pontiac, Saginaw and Flint along with their other duties.

“That’s all well and good, but the question becomes where’s the breaking point where we say we no longer have the resources to do that?” Slenk said.

“I just hope MSP will get the funding at some point to increase our staffing. If we can’t hire, all we’ve got are people going out the back door and no one coming in.”

As he leaves with work undone and the future of his agency somewhat in flux, Slenk said he takes comfort in knowing his retirement will open new doors for him and allow him more time with his family.

He says he’ll continue to sing on the praise team at his church and teach the junior high group at Sunday school.

He knows he’ll hear of new cases and trade phone calls with the detectives formerly under his charge, and likely, at times, long to be back in his chair in Paw Paw. When the Doug Stewart trial starts in November, Slenk said he plans to be in the courtroom.

“It’s kind of surreal, I’m so used to working,” Slenk said. “I’ve worked my whole life and that’s why now, when I look at retirement, I’m like, ‘What is this thing?’”

Slenk said he plans to teach at the state police academy in Lansing and also may teach at the police academy at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

He’ll also take care of a “honey-do” list that is waiting for him and turn his attention to his wife, Phyllis, their three grown children and his five grandchildren.

The photo of the eagle, he said, will go in his den.

“We always say he has blue blood in him,” Phyllis Slenk said of her husband. “It’s wonderful if you love your job for 37 years. ... I think it’s good for him to be done.”
Slenk agrees.

“It’s time,” he said. “I’ve been there, done it. I came into the agency to be a police officer and that’s what I’m leaving as.”

And, in the midst of everything, Slenk said he’ll fish. He plans to take his 18-foot Lund Fisherman boat onto the Great Lakes often. It’s a safe bet one or more of his grandchildren will be with him ready to cast a line in the water with grandpa.















Jodi Parrack Murder Investigation - 2009 

2 years later, child murder case unsolved
WOOD TV 8
November 12, 2009



















Grandma: Killer will be found
Vigil marks two-year anniversary of Jodi Parrack's killing
Kalamazoo Gazette
Jeff Rietsma
November 09, 2009 at 10:05 AM
Updated November 07, 2011 at 10:11 AM
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2009/11/vigil_marks_two-year_anniversa.html







CONSTANTINE — Linda Allbaugh stood with her arms folded as she watched a crowd gather at South Washington Park on Sunday — exactly two years from the day her granddaughter, Jodi Parrack, was found murdered. 

As dusk settled in, Allbaugh noted the similarities between Sunday and Nov. 8, 2007.

“It was a warm day, almost as warm as today … nice enough that Jodi was on her bike,” Allbaugh said, noting that she still visits the Constantine Police Department and Chief Jim Bedell once a week to inquire about new leads.

Though she did not address the gathering of about 100 people, Allbaugh said before the vigil in memory of her then-11-year-old granddaughter that the person responsible for murdering Jodi will, in time, be caught. 
Constantine is too small a community for the mystery to go unsolved, Allbaugh said.

“We have a little over 2,000 people here; there have been more than 600 tips … that means one out of three or four people in Constantine have had something to say about this case,” Allbaugh said. “The odds are getting better with every tip.”

Organized by Kristy Pearson, Jodi’s aunt, Sunday’s 25-minute vigil featured long pauses of silence, people holding candles, words from Pearson and a few others and a prayer.

In addition to Bedell, Capt. Tim Schuler, of the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department, represented the law-enforcement community.

Bedell told the group that anybody who has information should come forward and not be afraid.

“If you have something to say, you can say it to me, and it will go no further … I will never reveal who tells me what,” said Bedell, who joined the department in June and is a retired investigator from the Michigan State Police post in White Pigeon. 

April Knepple, of White Pigeon, lived in Constantine when Jodi was murdered and has a daughter who was a classmate. She said she hopes it is not long before Jodi’s killer is found.

“It’s been two years; that’s long enough,” Knepple said.

Emily Elder, 13, of Constantine, a schoolmate of Jodi, held a candle Sunday and said she is confident the killer will be found. Valerie Carver, Jodi’s mother, was present Sunday but did not address the crowd. She received several hugs from teary-eyed well-wishers.

Becky Shingledecker, of Centreville, offered a prayer and words of support before people started parting ways.

Jodi was a fifth-grader at Riverside Elementary School. On Nov. 8, 2007, she was at a friend’s house about five blocks from where he lived. She wasn’t seen again after leaving the friend’s house at about 4:45 p.m. on a silver bicycle. Her body and the bicycle were found at the cemetery. 
















Vigil held for Jodi Parrack 
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Monday, November 9, 2009
Jef Rietsma, Sturgis Journal
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The two-year anniversary of the date Jodi Parrack was murdered passed Sunday with an emotional memorial vigil at South Washington Park. 

The somber event drew a crowd of about 100 people, including a number of Parrack's relatives, former classmates, law-enforcement officials and people who showed up to offer support and hope that Parrack's killer is captured. 

Organized by Kristy Pearson, Parrack's aunt, the 25-minute memorial featured long pauses of silence, during which many of those who gathered wiped their eyes and reflected on the tragedy. 

Pearson was one of three people to address the group, as she acknowledged and thanked Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell and other law-enforcement officials involved in the investigation. 

Bedell said despite two years passing since the incident, he remains hopeful the department will receive additional tips. To date, he said the department has compiled almost 800 tips. 



















Constantine police chief explores new information in 2007 killing of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack
November 08, 2009 at 9:00 AM
MLive
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2009/11/constantine_police_chief_explo.html









CONSTANTINE — Two years after 11-year-old Jodi Parrack was found slain among the gravestones that dot this small village’s cemetery, her killer still walks free.

That fact isn’t lost on Constantine Police Chief Jim Bedell, who, since becoming the village’s top cop in June, has been the sole investigator of the case. And, despite the passage of time, Bedell said he’s confident his work will lead to the arrest of Jodi’s killer.

“I’m just following up on some good leads that I’m really anxious to get the results of,” said Bedell, who submitted DNA evidence for analysis last week to the Michigan State Police. He said he plans to submit another DNA sample to the lab this week as part of his investigation. 

“There’s just a lot of work to these things,” Bedell said. “You just talk to so many people and you pick up bits and pieces and after a while you start piecing them together.”

Bedell said police have now compiled 788 tips in the case, including 22 that have been received since mid-August.

He also said that in a recent interview with Jodi’s mother, Valerie Carver, whom he described as “very cooperative,” he “learned some new information that I’m following up on.”

Previous investigators said that Jodi’s family members were ruled out as suspects in her death.

Bedell said more than 100 DNA samples that investigators have submitted to state police since Jodi’s death have failed to match DNA collected at the scene that belongs to the perpetrator. Police have been able to confirm that Jodi’s killer was a male through the DNA sample, the chief said. 

Jodi, a fifth-grader at Riverside Elementary, left a friend’s house in the 100 block of East Third Street at about 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2007. She was last seen riding a silver Mongoose bicycle near East Third and South Washington streets, wearing a black sweater over a black T-shirt, jeans and black tennis shoes.

Carver reported her daughter missing at about 7 that night after Jodi failed to return home by 5:30 p.m..

Police have said Carver was with friends searching for her daughter at about 10:30 p.m. when they found Jodi dead in the Constantine Township Cemetery. Jodi’s bike was found nearby.

Jodi’s death was ruled a homicide, but the cause of her death has not been disclosed.


Bedell, who retired in 1999 as a detective lieutenant with the Michigan State Police, said he spends about half of each day as chief investigating Jodi’s slaying. As his investigation continues, he said, he’s receiving assistance from state police, the FBI and the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Office as needed. 

He said finding Jodi’s killer continues to be his No. 1 priority as the top cop in Constantine.

“The way I look at it, if they did it once, they’ll do it again,” Bedell said of Jodi’s killer. 
















Vigil planned for Parrack
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Rosalie Currier
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A candlelight vigil in memory of Jodi Parrack is planned for Sunday evening in Constantine. 

The vigil beings at 6 p.m. in Cannon Park. 

On Nov. 8, 2007, 11-year-old Parrack of Constantine was murdered. 

When she was late getting home that night, her family called the police and went looking for Parrack. It was her mother, Valerie Carver, who found Parrack's body in the Constantine Cemetery under an ancient oak tree. The borrowed bike she had been riding was nearby. 

Two years later, the initial shock has worn off and panic has died down, but the unsolved murder has changed the community, local leaders say . 

Craig Badman, who was the principal at Riverside Elementary School in 2007, has seen the greatest changes in adults. 

"The students feel safe," Badman said. "The adults are much more vigilant." 

A matter of picking up students from school is now more time consuming for safety reasons. If school personnel see anything abnormal, they are proactive, he said. 

The Constantine Police Department is very responsive to any need or concern coming from the schools, Badman said. 

Constantine Village Manager Mark Honeysett agrees. 

"Apart from being frustrated and impatient to have it solved" the community is returning to normal, he said. 

"Panic of "a stranger in our midst' has passed," Honeysett said. 

While there won't be closure until someone is arrested, Honeysett said the community is moving forward, but with increased awareness for children's safety.
















New Constantine police chief makes solving murder of Jodi Parrack his top priority
August 11, 2009 at 2:00 PM
Updated November 07, 2011 at 10:15 AM
MLive
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2009/08/bedell.html




CONSTANTINE -- As he toils each day in his little office, the eyes of a young girl with flowing blonde hair gaze from a bumper sticker Jim Bedell keeps propped on his cluttered desk.

Jodi Parrack's smile beams from the decal and, Bedell said, reminds him of the pledge he made in June when he became Constantine's new police chief: He is determined to find the 11-year-old's killer.

"My main priority is to work that case," said Bedell, 65, who retired in 1999 as a detective sergeant after 25 years with the Michigan State Police. "I work on it every opportunity I have ... I just don't want this thing to go cold, and it's not going to as long as I'm working here."

Jodi, a fifth-grader at Riverside Elementary in the St. Joseph County town of Constantine, left a friend's house in the 100 block of East Third Street at about 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2007. 

She was last seen riding a silver Mongoose bicycle near East Third and South Washington Street wearing a black sweater over a black T-shirt, jeans and black tennis shoes.

Jodi's mother, Valerie Carver, reported her missing at about 7 that night after Jodi failed to return home by 5:30 p.m. Police said Carver was with friends searching for her daughter at about 10:30 p.m. when they found Jodi dead in the Constantine Township Cemetery. Her bike was found nearby.

Jodi's death was ruled a homicide, but the cause of her death has not been disclosed.

Bedell is a former state police investigator who ran his own private investigation business for nine years after his retirement. 

The case caught his attention the first day it was reported. Now, as the village's top cop, he said his "No. 1 priority" is investigating the homicide and making an arrest.

It's a task the small-town chief says he's gladly taking. His officers are busy dealing with daily reports and calls for service and, while the agencies still provide assistance, investigators from the state police, St. Joseph County Sheriff's Office and the FBI have had to move on to other investigations.

"They've done a very good job investigating it, and I'm no miracle worker," Bedell said. "The only difference is now I can make it a priority ... I'm not going to forget about her. I just feel like I'm getting close."

Bedell said he spends at least two hours each day reviewing the thousands of pages in the case file, doing research and tracking down information on tips. 

He said police had received 766 tips in the case as of Monday, which includes 40 tips that still need to be followed up.

About seven new tips have been received since Bedell started the job, including one from a person who contacted police this past weekend.

"Any homicide is a horrible crime, but when it's an innocent child ... it is a tough one to handle and to think that person is still out there and can do it again," the chief said.

Beneath Bedell's calm, warm demeanor is a confidence that he will solve the case. He said police have collected hundreds of DNA samples as part of their investigation, including two he submitted for analysis just two weeks ago to a state police lab.

He declined Monday to comment when asked whether police have suspects in Jodi's killing, but did say he has "some good leads."

"We just haven't run across that one right clue," Bedell said. "But we're going to ... We're going to get this guy."
















Police chief transition complete
Kalamazoo Gazette (MI)
Saturday, July 11, 2009
BY JEF RIETSMA
Special to Hometown Gazette
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CONSTANTINE -- A transition at the top of the police force in Constantine is complete, as Jim Bedell, former trooper investigator with the Michigan State Police in White Pigeon, is now on the payroll. 

While Bedell has been with the department for about six weeks, his position became official in late June after completing a course to obtain police recertification through the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards. Bedell said the process involved a 200-question examination and shooting-range exercises. Despite his years of experience in law enforcement, Bedell said he studied for the test and brushed up on his shooting skills by practicing at a range ahead of time. 

"Well, I've been out of it for 10 years, so I'm glad I did do a little studying," he said. 

Bedell, 65, was named chief of police earlier this year, replacing Mark Honeysett, who was hired for the job in March 2004. In 2006, Honeysett took on the role of village manager and municipal leaders earlier this year agreed the two jobs warrant separate ownership. Honeysett said the village was fortunate to find someone of Bedell's caliber but was bittersweet about ending his affiliation with the police-related portion of his job

"I've been a cop for 35 years and village manager almost three years, so it's not too difficult to guess which one I feel strongly about," Honeysett said. "But I appreciate the confidence (municipal leaders) have in me to run the village's day-to-day business, and we're small enough here that I'll have plenty of opportunities to work with Jim and help if he asks for it." 

Bedell, known for his low-key demeanor, said his No. 1 priority as chief is to find who was responsible for murdering Jodi Parrack in 2007. 

Bedell knows it's an ambitious goal but the village and Parrack's family deserve to find justice, he said. 

"As long as I'm chief, the Jodi Parrack case will never go in the cold-case file," he said. "We'll find who did it ... it's only a matter of time." 

The body of the 11-year-old Constantine girl was found in a village cemetery in November 2007. 

Bedell previously spent 19 years with the Michigan State Police post in White Pigeon as a trooper investigator, earning "Trooper of the Year" honors three times. He retired from the State Police in 1999 after a stint at the Battle Creek post. 

Since then, Bedell most recently worked as a warrant officer for the St. Joseph County Friend of the Court. Bedell also worked as a private investigator for JLB Investigations Inc., which he owned. Bedell said he has given up both jobs in order to serve as Constantine's chief. 

Including Bedell, St. Joseph County's third-largest municipality has five full-time, three part-time and three reserve officers. Bedell, whose contract covers a two-year period, will earn $49,000 a year. 
















Chief's concerns
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Friday, July 10, 2009
Jef Rietsma, Sturgis Journal
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Jim Bedell's style as the new chief of police in Constantine can be summed up by what didn't take place as he started the job more than a month ago: There weren't any emotional speeches, it was bereft of pomp and circumstance, and there was no swearing-in ceremony. 

"I'm happy to be back doing police work glad to be back in the profession," said Bedell, 65. 

"But I don't feel it's so important to make a huge production out of it." 

Don't let Bedell's low-key demeanor, and lack of enthusiasm for the attention and fanfare, however, be mistaken for his commitment to the job and working to solve a crime that has flummoxed law-enforcement officials for almost two years. Reiterating a point he made the day village officials hired him back in March, Bedell said his No. 1 priority is to find who was responsible for murdering Jodi Parrack in 2007. 

Bedell knows it's an ambitious goal but the village and Parrack's family deserve to find justice, he said. 

"As long as I'm chief, the Jodi Parrack case will never go in the cold-case file," he said. "We'll find who did it it's only a matter of time." 

The body of 11-year-old Parrack was found in a village cemetery in November 2007. 

Village Manager Mark Honeysett had previously served as police chief, a position for which he was hired in March 2004. He assumed both duties in 2006 and municipal leaders earlier this year agreed the two jobs warrant separate ownership. Honeysett said the village was fortunate to find someone with Bedell's credentials but was frank about ending his affiliation with the police-related portion of his job. 

"I've been a cop for 35 years and village manager almost three years, so it's not too difficult to guess which one I feel strongly about," Honeysett said. "But I appreciate the confidence (municipal leaders) have in me to run the village's day-to-day business and we're small enough here that I'll have plenty of opportunities to work with Jim and help if he asks for it." 
















Pleas for justice
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Terry Katz
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Thirty-five people from Branch and St. Joseph counties met at the Chicago Street School in Bronson Friday night to hear about child abuse prevention. 

They signed a petition supporting a new law for harsher sentences for any crime against a child. 

Dr. John P. Robertson, St. Joseph County medical examiner, talked about cases of child abuse he has seen and brought two books as suggested reading material. 

Robertson examined the body of Jodi Parrack , the Constantine girl who was found strangled in a nearby cemetery in 2007. So far, no arrest has been made in that case. 

"This case was very troublesome," he said. "There were dozens and dozens of DNA tests, but nothing matched." 

Robertson said the death of Calista Springer last year personally affected his family. 

"My grandchildren went to school with the Springer girl," he said. 

A poem written by Darlene Hargett about the unheard cries for help by Calista Springer was read. Hargett, Bronson grandmother, wrote the poem in response to stories about Calista's life published in the Journal. 

A special guest at the meeting arrived in a stroller. Ten-month-old Dominick Kline was accompanied by his grandfather, Jerry Bingaman of Sturgis. 

Dominick is the infant who suffered a broken leg and twisted arm last summer when he was 6 weeks old. 
















White Pigeon's Bedell named Constantine's new chief of police
Kalamazoo Gazette (MI)
Saturday, March 7, 2009
BY JEF RIETSMA
Special to Hometown Gazette
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CONSTANTINE -- The village's new chief of police said his No. 1 priority is to find who was responsible for the 2007 murder of Jodi Parrack . 

"The investigation has been intense and thorough, and I plan to continue that devotion toward resolving this case," said James Bedell, who will take over the village's top law-enforcement post June 1. "As long as I'm chief, the Jodi Parrack case will never go in the cold-case file." 

The body of 11-year-old Parrack was found in a village cemetery in November 2007. 

Bedell, who spent 19 years with the Michigan State Police post in White Pigeon as a trooper investigator, was named chief March 2 during the Constantine Village Council meeting. Current chief Mark Honeysett, who has held the position since March 2004, will stay on board as village manager. He has served in a dual capacity since August 2006 and will continue to earn $55,000 a year. 

Honeysett said he sought Bedell after being given a directive from village leaders to find a police chief. Honeysett said the amount of work and hours he was putting in for both jobs were deemed too much by the village council, and being relieved the duty of chief will allow him to focus squarely on duties associated with his job as village manager. 

Bedell is a warrant officer for the St. Joseph County Friend of the Court. He also owns JLB Investigations Inc. 

He said he agreed to the offer after mulling over the opportunity with his wife. 

"I really wasn't looking, and if it was anywhere but Constantine or White Pigeon, I probably wouldn't take it," he said. "My intent is to serve five years ... I look forward to working with a good group of officers here in Constantine." 

Including the chief, St. Joseph County's third-largest municipality has five full-time, three part-time and three reserve officers. Bedell, whose contract covers a two-year period, will earn $49,000 a year. His vote to the position, however, was not unanimous. 

Trustee Mark Brown said he's impressed with Bedell's credentials but was opposed to the two-month severance package offered if Bedell does not fulfill the length of his contract. 

"I didn't like it when we hired Mark either ... it's nothing personal, Jim, it's just a philosophical disagreement," Brown said. 

Honeysett said the village was fortunate to find someone with Bedell's credentials. 

"Jim is a good catch for the village, and we're fortunate to have someone of his caliber agree to come aboard and serve in this capacity," he said. 

Bedell worked at the Michigan State Police post in White Pigeon from 1976 to 1995 -- earning "Trooper of the Year" honors three times -- and retired from the Battle Creek post in 1999. Other accolades while with the state police include a professional excellence award in 1977 for saving a woman's life; a bravery award in 1979 for retrieving an elderly couple from a burning house; and numerous meritorious awards. 

Bedell lives near Klinger Lake in White Pigeon Township. 
















Jodi Parrack Murder Investigation - 2008

Rememberence vigil
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Monday, November 10, 2008
Rosalie Currier, Sturgis Journal
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Jodi Parrack was murdered a year ago, but the 11 year old Constantine girl is not forgotten. 

On Saturday evening in a cold misting rain, a group of about 100 gathered at Cannon Park in Constantine for a candle light vigil remembering Parrack. 

Russ Stauffer, pastor of Word Fellowship Church, Centreville, led the group in prayer asking for comfort for the family and for justice in the case. 

Mark Honeyset, Constantine police chief, invited the group to share memories of Parrack. 

Several spoke of concern for the family and of the trama to the community, but one lady wanted to offer hope. 

Although she isn't from Constantine, she came to the vigil because her own sister was murdered years ago. After 11 years of waiting, the cold case crime was solved. 

"Don't give up hope," she said. "Eventually you'll get some closure." 

Honeyset offered a plea for anyone with even a little information to come forward saying he's convinced that someone at the event has the information that is still missing. 

Vigil keepers did go to Honeyset following the ceremony. Each gave the one speaking with the chief some distance. They came with their memories of the night of the murder and something they'd been mulling over for the past year. 

"I'm every bit as confident that this crime will be solved as I was a year ago," Honeyset told the crowd. 
















JODI PARRACK HOMICIDE - One year later, girl's - slaying still unsolved 
Kalamazoo Gazette (MI)
Sunday, November 9, 2008
BY REX HALL JR.
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CONSTANTINE - On what would have been Jodi Parrack 's 12th birthday, her mother placed a wind chime and vase of flowers at her grave and told her she wanted her to come home. 

Then Valerie Carver turned to leave -- returning to the reality that Jodi is gone and her killer has yet to be found. 

"To me, it seems like it's still yesterday," said Carver, recalling how she and a group of friends discovered Jodi's body last November in the Constantine Township Cemetery. "I'm still stuck there. ... I feel almost like I'm in a movie, and when the movie's over, she'll be back. But I know she's not." 

As Carver waits for a break in the case, residents in this small town of 2,100 admit Jodi's death doesn't dominate conversations the way it used to. But when her death does come up, talk quickly turns to whether the case will ever be solved and complaints that authorities have been slow to let residents know where the case stands. 

And then there are the rumors. 

Carver says she hears them, that drugs or her family are linked to the year-old homicide. Since Jodi's death, Carver said some friends of her two young sons have been barred from visiting her home. 

"If they knew me, they would never think that," Carver said, denouncing suspicions that she was involved in her daughter's death. "Sometimes, I feel like everyone is watching me or judging me." 

New information sought 
On Saturday, Carver gathered with family and friends for a candlelight vigil at South Washington Street Park in downtown Constantine to remember Jodi and mark the one-year anniversary of her death. Authorities hoped the event would serve as a reminder that investigators are still asking for the public's help to solve the case. 

St. Joseph County Assistant Prosecutor Holly Curtis said last week that investigators collected DNA at the scene of Jodi's death, but have yet to find a match. 

"We would hope that if someone was going to provide us with information that would have happened by now, and unfortunately ... we haven't received that key information from the public," said Curtis, who has headed up the Parrack investigation. 

"Everything we've heard so far, we're at a dead end." 

Authorities have been hesitant to release many details of their investigation. In May, county Prosecutor Douglas Fisher said police were looking at 75 suspects and that Jodi's immediate family members had been cleared of any suspicion. 

What is known is that the fifth-grader left the home of a friend in the 100 block of East Third Street on Nov. 8, 2007, at about 4:45 p.m. She was last seen riding a silver Mongoose bicycle near East Third and South Washington Street. She was wearing a black sweater over a black T-shirt, jeans and black tennis shoes. 

Carver, 35, reported her daughter missing after 7 that night when Jodi failed to return to her Centerville Street home by 5:30 p.m. Carver was with friends searching for her daughter at about 10:30 p.m. when they found Jodi dead near her bike in the cemetery. 

Authorities have not released the details of how Jodi died. A death certificate filed in the St. Joseph County Clerk's Office states the cause of Jodi's death is pending. 

"If you talk to the investigators of this case, all believe that that piece of information is critical to actually interviewing and finding whoever may have done it," Curtis said. 

Carver is frustrated that Jodi's killing remains unsolved, but isn't quick to criticize police. 

"I know people working on the case are doing their job and they're going to catch the person who did it," she said. 

Tommy Parsons, owner of the Harvey House restaurant in downtown Constantine, isn't as confident. 

"I don't think (people have) forgotten about it. I think they've just given up hope that police are going to solve it," Parsons said. 

No arrest 
Residents were on edge for weeks after Jodi's killing, the first homicide in Constantine in about 30 years. 

Children who had regularly walked alone to school were accompanied by parents. Lines of cars became the norm at schools as parents drove their children to and from classes. 

Lyndee Williams, 38, who has lived in Constantine for 14 years, said she's still protective of her 6-year-old daughter, who played with Jodi. But Williams said fears that enveloped the town after the slaying have begun to wane. 

"I still think it's scary knowing the guy is still out there," she said. "At first, it was like a ghost town, you didn't see anybody anywhere. Now you see kids riding bikes." 

But while fears may have begun to subside, Lisa Rundman said Jodi's death continues to leave many in the town uneasy. Rundman said she's still hesitant to let her teenage daughter travel alone in town. And she wonders why police have been unable to gather enough evidence to make an arrest. 

"Someone knows something, and they're not saying anything," Rundman said. "Someone was either following her, watching her or knew where she would be. How does a kid go poof and nobody knows nothing? 

"I can't believe (police) haven't come up with anything yet, so either they just want to keep it hush-hush, or they just don't have a clue. We're a close-knit town and people want to know." 

Prosecutor Fisher said he is aware of residents' concerns, but said the release of too much information to the public could prove detrimental to finding Jodi's killer. 

"The progress has been to eliminate a lot more suspects, which is useful, but not where we'd like to be," he said. 

Fisher, who was defeated by John McDonough in the Republican primary election in August, will hand off the Parrack investigation to McDonough when he takes over as prosecutor on Jan. 1. McDonough said Parrack's death and the death of Calista Springer, a 15-year-old Centreville girl who died in a house fire in February while chained to her bed, will be his top priorities. 

That team examining the cases, McDonough said, will not include Curtis, who he plans to replace. He would not discuss Curtis' departure except to say it had nothing to do with her handling of the Parrack investigation, adding he has "a tremendous amount of respect for her as an attorney and as a prosecutor." 

Curtis said she was disappointed when McDonough told her in October that he planned to replace her when he took office. She said the move stemmed from her support of Fisher when he and McDonough faced off in the Republican primary in August. She said she would resign if she's able to line up a new job before McDonough takes over. 

"If I have not, I'm going to make him fire me," Curtis said. "I'm not going to walk out willingly. ... He found it impossible to work with me because of personal reasons, not because of my work." 

Fisher said last week "almost all tips" police have received in the case have been closed out. He expressed confidence authorities will solve the case, saying scientific evidence they've obtained is key

"Once we identify the person ... the case will be very simple and direct," Fisher said. 

Jodi not forgotten 
Carver said her family and friends have helped her deal with the loss of Jodi and the death of her mother on Aug. 11. She said she speaks with police about the case at least monthly, but "they won't tell me too much" because they fear she may seek retribution against any suspect. 

The rear bumper of Carver's car is decorated with a bumper sticker that shows Jodi's bright smile, wavy blond hair and her favorite saying -- "Love is like a hug so hang onto it." 

She said she and a friend made 250 of the bumper stickers in January and some were to be available at Saturday's vigil. She also wants to raise money to purchase a headstone for Jodi's grave at White Pigeon Township Cemetery that would include a photo of her daughter. 

"I think the hardest thing is knowing that it wouldn't have happened if I had told her she couldn't go" to her friend's house, Carver said. "I was hoping that it would have been solved because whoever did it, will do it again if they don't get caught." 

On a recent afternoon, one of the bumper stickers that Carver made rests on Jodi's grave. Figurines of angels, a glass etching of the well-known "Footprints" poem and a pumpkin decorate the grave. 

There's a written message on the smiling pumpkin. 

"Happy Halloween & Happy Thanksgiving Sweetie!" the note reads. "We keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers!" 
















A year of remembering Jodi Parrack, seeking clues
Kalamazoo Gazette
Sarah Crone
November 09, 2008 at 8:15 AM
Updated November 07, 2011 at 10:18 AM
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2008/11/a_year_of_remembering_jodi_par.html

It's been one year since Jodi Parrack, 11, of Constantine, was found dead in the Constantine Township Cemetery. Her killing remains unsolved. Some key developments in the case:

Nov. 8, 2007: Jodi, a fifth-grader at Riverside Elementary School, leaves a friend's house on her bicycle at about 4:45 p.m. and does not come home. Her mother, Valerie Carver, reports her missing after 7 p.m. Carver and friends find Jodi dead at about 10:30 p.m. near her bicycle in the Constantine Township Cemetery.

Nov. 9, 2007: A preliminary autopsy rules Jodi's death a homicide. The FBI and St. Joseph County Major Crimes Task Force are brought into the investigation.

Nov. 13, 2007: Hundreds attend a service for Jodi at Trinity Missionary Church. She is buried at the White Pigeon Township Cemetery.

Dec. 7, 2007: Authorities decline to say whether tracking dogs seen near downtown Constantine are part of their investigation.

March 28: Prosecutors say forensic evidence collected will "ultimately solve" Parrack's killing. They decline to say what forensic evidence has been gathered.

May 8: On the six-month anniversary of Jodi's death, St. Joseph County Prosecutor Douglas Fisher says police are looking at 75 active suspects and that Jodi's immediate family members have been cleared of suspicion.

Nov. 8: Family and friends gather at South Washington Street Park in Constantine to remember Jodi and mark the one year that has passed since her death.
















Vigil to remember Jodi Christine Parrack, slain a year ago
Saturday, November 08, 2008 11:36 PM
By Bradley Pines | Kalamazoo Gazette
http://topics.mlive.com/tag/Jodi%20Christine%20Parrack/photos.html





















Remembering Jodi
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Rosalie Currier, Sturgis Journal
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One year ago today, Constantine and communities across the area were shocked by the news that a little girl in Constantine was murdered. 

Jodi Parrack , 11 years old, was late getting home so her family went searching. 

Her mother found her under an oak tree in the Constantine Township Cemetery. The bike she had been riding was nearby. 

One year later, it's quieter in Constantine. The TV cameras and reporters are gone and people have moved on. 

They remember it well, but many don't want to talk about it. 

At the "farmer's table" at Meeks Mill Cafe, a group who gathered for lunch reminisced. 

They asked to remain anonymous but terms like, "It's a shame," "It's just terrible," came up regularly. 

One diner commented that without a suspect there isn't a sense of closure. 

"They're all so hush-hush about it," she said. 

At the ancient oak tree in the local cemetery where Parrack's body was found, there are teddy bears and candles which weathered the winter and a straggling blue ribbon which denotes the passing of time. 

"I don't think the community will every forget her," said Mike Williams of Three Rivers. 

Although from out of town, the tragedy was still real for Williams. 

"We have a granddaughter that age," he said. 

And while the community remembers from a distance, for Parrack's classmates, the news is still fresh. 

Jodi's classmates are now in sixth grade and the middle school counselor, Sara Russell, is working with students who still feel the pain. 

Although Russell wasn't in the district last year when the murder occurred, she quickly learned the story. 

Then a poem written by Laurana Cook, a student several grades ahead of Parrack, helped her form a plan. 

Students who chose to be involved were invited to create a memory piece for a Jodi Parrack Silent Memorial. 

The students could work alone or together to create a work either with art or words to remember their classmate. 

Twenty two students responded and created 16 pieces that were on display in the middle school library Friday. 

Looking back, Cook said she and Parrack became friends at a football game around the time of Parrack's birthday in September. 

"We started to talk and found out we had a lot in common," Cook said. 

Their friendship grew quickly and after Parrack's death, Cook continued to "hang out" with Parrack's mother and brothers. 

"I found out there was a lot more to Jodi than I thought," Cook said. "She was their little princess." 

By Laurana Cook: 
"Who You Took" 
You took a friend, a loving girl, you made my world grow dark. 
I still remember that painful day when I wanted to just run to the park, to get away from all my fears and never think about her, but she'll be with me always until you're caught. 
I hope you cry. I hope you rot, because you took something more valuable than money. You took my friend. You took her life, it takes all I have to get on with my life, but still I go back to that horrible day when you decided to take my friend away. 

"A Quiet Day" 
It was a quiet day, Friday, the ninth of 
November. 
Everyone was sad and frightened. 
No one really knew what happened, all we knew was that the fifth grade was short a wonderful girl, a friend to everyone that knew her. 
It's been a year but is seems like a day, but we still miss her just the same. 

Laurana Cook is an eighth-grader at Constantine Middle School and family friend who wrote these poems about Jodi. 
















Suspect still sought
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Corky Emrick, Sturgis Journal
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Today marks the one year anniversary of the murder of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack . 

Tonight, a candlelight vigil is being held at 7 p.m. at Canon Park in Constantine. 

"It's frustrating to have the forensic evidence that will ultimately solve this crime and no suspects," said assistant Prosecuting Attorney Holly Curtis. "Were hoping that this vigil will bring out more tips. There is someone out there who knows something. They may not realize it or they are afraid to come forward." 

Parrack's body was found in the Constantine Township Cemetery about 10:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 2007. 

She was last seen at about 4:45 p.m. that day near Third Street on her silver Mongoose bicycle. 

Police from Constantine and the St. Joseph County Major Crimes Task Force have followed up on more than 650 leads. 

Constantine Police Chief Mark Honeysett said one of his officers, Mike Kline, is the lead investigating officer, and spends nearly 30 hours a week on the case. 

Kline has accumulated several 3-inch binders with information on the case. 

"The tips have slowed down," Honeysett said. "But I'm questioned about this case all the time, it's in the front of most people's minds as well as ours." 

Authorities recently said the forensic evidence was in fact DNA evidence. 

While the public may be frustrated that the case has not been solved, police said they are equally frustrated. 

"It's always foremost on our minds," St. Joseph County Sheriff's Det. Lonnie Palmer said. "To say that we talk about this case is an understatement." 

Palmer said police turn their frustration into motivation. 

"We want that one lead, that one tip that solves this," Palmer said. "There is someone out there who knows something. They need to do the right thing." 

Palmer spent the first six months assigned to the case. He said he talks with Kline at least once every week or two. 

"We feel the same as the rest of the public," Palmer said. "We want to solve this crime." 
















Young prosecutor prepares to step into leading role in St. Joseph County
Kalamazoo Gazette
Gabrielle Russon
August 09, 2008 at 11:18 PM
Updated August 09, 2008 at 11:31 PM
http://blog.mlive.com/kalamazoo_gazette_extra/2008/08/young_prosecutor_prepares_to_s.html



Tuesday's Republican primary election pitted McDonough against his former boss, incumbent Douglas Fisher, in the first contested prosecutor's race in the county since 1968. The election had been highly anticipated since April, when Fisher fired McDonough for running against him.

"I honestly can't compare it to anything I've experienced," McDonough said of Election Day. "I've never been nervous like that in my life."

Euphoria set in when McDonough found he'd beaten Fisher by 163 votes. "It was the greatest night of my life," he said.

McDonough is expected to start his new job on Jan. 1. No Democrat filed to run for the office in November and no write-in candidates have surfaced.

Of Michigan's currently elected county prosecutors, McDonough -- just three years out of law school -- would be the youngest, according to the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.

The position will be a challenge, one that former St. Joseph County Prosecutor Jeffrey Middleton calls "the most important job in any county."

"There's nothing inherent that says a 28-year-old can't do the job," said Middleton, who was 33 when he was first appointed prosecutor. "You need a lot of energy. It takes a lot of hours."

McDonough says he knows he has a lot to learn, but he's confident he can be a good prosecutor.

"I'm ready to put my foot forward and get going," he said.

Son of a mayor 
McDonough was born in January 1980, two months after his father, Robert, was elected mayor of Three Rivers at the age of 27.

"Three Rivers Has First Family," the local newspaper announced on its front page.

McDonough, the oldest of four boys, often traveled to Washington, D.C., with his father, who is now the Fabius Township supervisor. He got an insider's view, touring the vice president's office and watching a White House briefing.

His mother, Katie, has taught in Three Rivers public schools for 30 years.

In 1998, McDonough graduated from Three Rivers High School, where he participated in the debate team.
His entire family has attended the University of Michigan, where McDonough said he experienced the best moment of his life, prior to Tuesday -- running out of the tunnel with the football players on game day.

McDonough -- who looks like a football player with his 6-foot-4-inch, 230-pound frame -- was the team's equipment manager.

After graduating, McDonough entered Thomas M. Cooley Law School. During his final year in 2005, he joined Fisher's office as an unpaid intern.

Questioning witnesses 
Right away, he was put to work on the highly publicized case of Lisa Dolph-Hostetter, who persuaded her husband and brother-in-law to murder her lover's wife. It was a complex case, one on which the A&E television show "City Confidential" later based an episode.

McDonough remembers his first day, walking into the office library and seeing 15 file boxes filled with information. Fisher told him to learn it all. "You need to know this case inside and out," McDonough recalls Fisher saying.

For 10 weeks, McDonough studied the files, memorized names and listened to hours of phone conversations.

"I felt like I probably knew the facts and the people just as well as anybody," McDonough said. "That's what my job was."

It was his first time stepping into a courtroom and Fisher allowed him to question some minor witnesses. Dolph-Hostetter was convicted.

That same year, an old classmate of McDonough's was charged with injuring his month-old son. McDonough helped win that conviction, too.

"Prosecuting someone I'd known since elementary school, that was a very, very tough thing to do ... but once you go through the facts and see what happened to the child," he said quietly, his voice trailing off.
For McDonough, those two cases gave him a taste of prosecutorial life. Others took notice, too.

"He had two very interesting and important cases," Middleton said. "That was a little unusual to take an intern and turn them loose."

Hired, then fired 
In August 2005, Fisher hired McDonough as an assistant prosecutor. The then-25-year-old made no secret of his career ambitions.

"My aspirations from Day One -- and Doug knew it -- were to be the prosecutor," he said. "I wanted to one day sit at the end of the hall."

But McDonough figured he'd run in 2012, after the 62-year-old Fisher's next term.

Then one day, McDonough said, Fisher told him that he planned to retire mid-term after securing re-election in 2008 and push for assistant prosecutor Holly Curtis to replace him.

Their conversation spurred McDonough to announce his own candidacy for prosecutor in April -- and Fisher to fire him because of it.

After he was criticized for the firing, Fisher told St. Joseph County commissioners a few weeks later, "I commit to serve a full, four-year term. ... You have my word."

Neither Fisher nor Curtis could be reached for comment.

Middleton called the decision to fire McDonough a "no-win situation" for Fisher, who has the legal power to fire assistant prosecutors unless there's a union contract that outlines terms for a dismissal.

"It's hard to say what is the right course of action," said Middleton, adding the firing could have played a factor in Fisher's losing the election.

Talk of the town 
Around Three Rivers, there are reminders of the hard-fought campaign.

McDonough has leftover political signs stacked in his garage, while a few linger in front yards along Main Street.

And the story of the 28-year-old defeating his old boss is still a topic of conversation around town.
"Folks are talking about it," Dennis Huyck, a local Elks Lodge member, said late last week. "They're a little surprised."

Added Middleton, "I think that conventional wisdom was Doug Fisher was going to win. John was a good guy, but he didn't have enough experience. His turn would come. Obviously the voters felt otherwise."
And while Tuesday's victory hasn't quite sunk in yet, McDonough said, he's already thinking ahead.

He will likely inherit two high-profile investigations: The unsolved murder of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack, whose body was found last November in a Constantine cemetery, and the death of Calista Springer, 16, who perished in a house fire while chained to her bed.

"Calista Springer was important to me," McDonough said. "I attended her autopsy. That's something I'll never forget."

One question McDonough, who hasn't worked since he was fired, must answer is the future of the office's four assistant prosecutors. He said he won't rush a decision but admitted that his dismissal "created a situation in the office where there was animosity." But, he described the staff as "competent attorneys."

"I also know what it's like to be unemployed," McDonough said.

















Prosecutor says 75 are suspects in death of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack
Kalamazoo Gazette
Kathy Jessup
May 09, 2008 at 6:55 AM
Updated May 09, 2008 at 7:32 AM
http://blog.mlive.com/kzgazette/2008/05/prosecutor_says_they_have_75_s.html


CENTREVILLE -- St. Joseph County Prosecutor Douglas Fisher said Thursday that there are 75 "active suspects" in the six-month-old, unsolved homicide of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack. 

But the young girl's immediate family members have been cleared of suspicion, Fisher said.

Fisher declined to answer questions about whether Jodi had been sexually assaulted before she died and was left in a Constantine Township cemetery on Nov. 8. 

He also skirted questions about DNA samples that a number of Constantine-area people have said they have been asked to submit to investigators.

However, Fisher confirmed police have "some scientific, forensic evidence (from the crime scene) that will be of very, very substantial assistance in both identifying and clearing suspects."

Parrack, a fifth grader, left the home of a friend in the 100-block of East Third Street at about 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 8, but never returned home. 

Her mother found her body lying in the cemetery near her bicycle at about 10:30 that night.

Fisher, flanked Thursday by St. Joseph County Undersheriff Dennis Allen and Constantine Police Chief/Village Manager Mark Honeysett, said three full-time investigators remain assigned to the case, in addition to several from the Constantine Police Department. 

Allen and Michigan State Police Dect. Sgt. Mike Scott are supervising the investigation.

















Cops look at 75 suspects: - Investigators ask public's help in probe of girl's death 
Kalamazoo Gazette (MI)
BY KATHY JESSUP
Friday, May 9, 2008
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CENTREVILLE -- Authorities investigating the unsolved homicide of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack have 75 "active suspects," St. Joseph County Prosecutor Douglas Fisher said Thursday. 

But the immediate family members of the Constantine girl have been cleared of suspicion, the prosecutor said. 

Speaking at a press conference on the six-month anniversary of the girl's death, Fisher gave an update on the case but declined to answer some questions, and he skirted around others. 

Flanked by county Undersheriff Dennis Allen and Constantine Police Chief/Village Manager Mark Honeysett, Fisher said three full-time investigators remain assigned to the case. Allen and Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Mike Scott are supervising the investigation. 

Officials asked the public to continue its cooperation that so far has produced 664 tips, three-fourths of which have been "cleared and closed." Allen estimated officers have conducted at least 1,000 interviews. 

Fisher asked residents to report any "suspicious conversations that may relate to this case." 

"As time passes, perpetrators find it easier to talk about what they may have done," Fisher said. "If a member of the public overhears a conversation that seems to refer to this case, instantly report it to the St. Joseph County Sheriff's Department or Constantine Police." 

Parrack, a fifth-grader, left the home of a friend in the 100 block of East Third Street at about 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 8, but she never returned to her house. Her mother, Valerie Carver, reported Jodi missing several hours later and began her own search. At 10:30 that night, Carver and some friends, who were assisting her, found Jodi's body near her bicycle in the Constantine Township Cemetery. 

On Thursday, Fisher declined to answer questions about whether Jodi had been sexually assaulted before she died. Fisher also skirted questions about DNA samples that a number of Constantine area people have said they have been asked to submit to investigators. 

However, Fisher confirmed that police have gathered "some scientific, forensic evidence that will be of very, very substantial assistance in both identifying and clearing suspects." 

"Once the person is identified, we have a very, very good case," Fisher said. 

Fisher also declined to rule out that more than one person could have been involved in Jodi's death. But he said scientific evidence police have is from a single person. 

In addition, Fisher said he is open to the possibility the girl's death may have been an accident that occurred subsequent to other contact with a perpetrator. 

"This could be a semi-accidental happening," said Fisher, declining to indicate whether a weapon was involved in the death. "There are a range of motives we're looking at. 

"In the long run, we will find out who committed this crime and it is to that person's advantage to make it clear to police as soon as possible whatever mitigating circumstances may have existed." 

Investigators say the Michigan State Police crime lab is still processing evidence that has been collected and experts are developing a behavioral profile of a likely suspect. Fisher said the profile will not be released to the public. 

Officials have sealed records on both the girl's cause of death and search-warrant affidavits filed by police thus far. 

In asking for the public's help, Fisher said people often flee within a month or six weeks of committing a crime. 

"If anyone who knows of any persons who moved from the general Constantine area up to around Christmas-time, we'd like to hear about that," Fisher said. 

Fisher said authorities maintain contact with Jodi's family, saying investigators have had "100 percent cooperation" from the girl's relatives. 

"Forensics have cleared the family," Fisher said. "The family needs to know they are not suspects. After six months, the family deserves that courtesy." 
















Family cleared in girl's death
Investigation continues in Parrack homicide
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Corky Emrick
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Thursday marked the sixth-month anniversary of the death of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack of Constantine. 

Parrick's body was found Nov. 8. in the Constantine Township Cemetery. 

St. Joseph County Prosecutor Doug Fisher held a press conference Thursday to give an update of the case. 

Fisher said all members of the Parrack family have been cleared in the case. 

"We have received 100-percent cooperation from the family," Fisher said. "They have helped in the gathering of the scientific forensic information. We have no suspects remaining within the family. They are not under any scrutiny." 

Although no suspect has been found, time could become an advantage in the investigation, Fisher said. As time goes on, he said, those who commit crimes find it easier to talk freely. 

"Those conversations are sometimes overheard," Fisher said. "If any member of the public overhears conversation about this case, we'd like it reported immediately." 

Another area that has not been completely explored is residents who may have left the area, Fisher said. 

"People will move out of the area to distance themselves from the crime," Fisher said. "We want to know about people who may have moved away from the general Constantine area up until the holidays. We would like to hear about that." 

Authorities have received 664 tips. Fisher said up to 75 percent of those have been closed. 

Currently, police are working on between 50 and 100 leads. Fisher said police still have around 75 suspects that have not been cleared, but none have been called a person of interest. 

"We're hoping that one tip leads to two tips, so they keep developing," Allen said. "We're hoping in doing so that it will lead us to the right person we're looking for." 

Fisher said the FBI "As long as we have good leads, we'll have good investigators working the case," Fisher said. 

Fisher was joined at the press conference by St. Joseph County Undersheriff Dennis Allen and Constantine Police Chief/Village Manager Mark Honeysett. 

Honeysett said there is still a heightened sense of awareness throughout the community. 

"You hear references to this daily," Honeysett said. 

The lack of a suspect is a disappointment, Fisher said, but he remained confident. 

"Am I disappointed that we aren't in the middle of a trial instead of an investigation? Absolutely," St. Joseph County Prosecutor Doug Fisher said. "In the long run, we'll find who committed this crime." 
















Press Conference of Six-month Investigation into Jodi Parrack's Murder
MLive
May 08, 2008
http://videos.mlive.com/kzgazette/2008/05/press_conference_of_sixmonth_i.html






St. Joseph County Courthouse
St. Joseph County Prosecutor Doug Fisher spoke with media Thursday to address the current investigation of Jodi Parrack's death. 

Prosecutor Joseph Fisher [St. Joseph County MI]: 
"Good afternoon. Thank you ladies and gentlement for being here. We're here for the six months review of the Jodi Parrack homicide. This is a little bit of a progress report on what we've done so far on the investigation and a little bit of what we've learned so far - very little bit - and what information we still are seeking from the public.

In the six months that we have been investigating this, we have had 645 leads. Approximately two-thirds to three-fourths of those have been closed and cleared.

We started out with probably 35 total investigators on this team. There was of course the Constantine police department, represented by Mike Honeysett here today, and the Major Crime Task Force represented by Dennis Allen. 

Those 35 investigators came primarily from the Major Crime Task Force, which is all the city village police departments in the county cooperate with that or try to, plus the Michigan State Police and the St. Joseph County Sheriff Department. And they are ready to go on any major crime. In this case, since it was a missing child, the Federal Bureau of Investigation could take jourisidction very quickly.  And they came in and they offered us a tremendous amount of manpower in the early stages of the investigation - at least a dozen special agents which is a very large committment of manpower and one we're very greatful for. 

As the leads have been cleared out - closed - the investigation has shrunk, but we still have three full-time investigators working exclusively or almost exclusively on this case.  They are still closing out leads. They're two from the sheriff department, through the Major Crime Task Force, and there's one from the Constantine police department. 

The only thing in terms of new information - which I am prepared to reveal today - is, there is scientific evidence that will be of substantial assistance in both identifying and clearing suspects. We have had one-hundred percent cooperation from the family of the victim. From Jodi's parents to her entire family, they have all helped in the gathering of that scientific forensic information. And, everyone who has helped us with that scientific information has been cleared. 

There are still two areas of information we hope can help us from the public. The first of these is the most important, and that is that as time passes, perpetrators frequently find it easier to talk about what they may have done or did. And those conversations are occassionally overheard, and if anyone - any member of the public - hears, overhears a conversation that seems to refer to this case and might indicate some special knowledge or responsibility, we'd like a very instant report to St. Joseph County Sheriff Office or the Constantine Police. 

The second aspect we don't think we have fully explored, and we'd like some tips from the public is frequently people who do this, either immediately or same day -run away, move away-  or within a few weeks or maybe a month or six weeks move out of the area to distance themself from the crime and examination with respect to the crime.

So, if anyone knows of any persons that moved away from the general Constantine area any time up until about the holiday time - Christmas time - we would like to hear about that. We'd like to explore that with the people who moved."

















Search for killer continues
Police seek help from community to find suspect
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Friday, March 28, 2008
Corky Emrick Sturgis Journal
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CONSTANTINE - As the investigation into the death of Jodi Parrack enters its fifth month, police are asking for the public's help. 

St. Joseph County Assistant Prosecutor Holly Curtis said in a press release Friday that police want to know of anyone who may have suddenly left the area around Nov. 8 or immediately thereafter. 

"We want to assure the public that the Constantine Police Department and the St. Joseph County Major Crimes Task Force is continuing its ongoing investigation," Curtis said. "They have received 637 tips." 

Parrack's body was found in the Constantine Township Cemetery at 10:32 p.m. on Nov. 8. 

"In addition, forensic evidence has been collected and we are hopeful that this will ultimately help to identify the suspect," Curtis said. 

Wood TV reported that investigators have been collecting DNA samples. One man told a reporter he was the 64th person to submit a DNA sample. 

Parrack was wearing a black sweater over a black T-shirt, jeans and black tennis shoes when she was discovered. Her body was lying next to her bike - a silver Mongoose. 

In the course of their investigation, police have used bloodhounds to retrace Parrack's tracks. 

In December, a bloodhound tracked through village streets ending at the cemetery. 

Anyone with information is urged to call police at 435-4355 or 467-4195. 















Jodi Parrack Murder Investigation - 2007



Dealing with the grief 
Great-grandmother talks about life without Jodi
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Sunday, December 9, 2007
TERRY KATZ STURGIS JOURNAL
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CONSTANTINE - Zola Clark of Constantine has a painting on the wall of her home.

The painting shows a pretty blonde girl sitting alone with a puppy along a riverbank as she dangles her foot in the water.

Every time Clark, 77, walks past that framed picture, her heart twinges. She sees her great-granddaughter, Jodi Parrack , in that picture.

That was the reason Clark hung the picture in the living room several years ago ‚*" it looked like Jodi.

A month has passed since 11-year-old Jodi Parrack 's body was found in the Constantine Township Cemetery on Nov. 8. Police have yet to reveal a cause of death but have ruled it a murder. And while no arrests have been made in Jodi's murder, village residents have become accustomed to seeing police, the FBI and sniffing dogs in their quiet neighborhood.

'Brave girl' 
Two years ago when Jodi and the family lived with Clark on Riverside Drive, she had a little dog that she cuddled, Clark said. Jodi loved taking care of babies and baby animals.

Then the family moved to an apartment across the railroad tracks on Third Street, and Clark lost contact. Jodi's new home overlooked the Constantine Township Cemetery. Valerie Jo remarried and Jodi now had a stepfather, Kevin Carver.

It wouldn't be the last time the family moved. During Jodi's lifetime, she lived in Colon, Mendon and Three Rivers. Last month, less than two weeks after her death, the family moved again to a different location in Constantine.

Jodi often spent time alone and on the streets in the village.

"She was a brave girl," Clark said. "Jodi had many friends at (Riverside) school but she liked to ride her bike. I remember the time she was riding with her older brothers when her bike broke down. The boys didn't notice she wasn't following them until they didn't see her."

On the night of Nov. 8, the Constantine police knocked on the door of the Clark house looking for Doug Parrack. Parrack was Jodi's father and Clark's grandson.

"They told me they thought Jodi had been kidnapped by her dad," Clark said. "My first reaction was a feeling of relief because I thought she was better off with her dad. They never told me that Jodi had been killed."

Clark said Jodi's dad is still traumatized by his daughter's death. He lives in the South Bend area but has been considering returning to the Constantine.

Help with grief 
Life has been difficult in many ways for Clark. She raised seven children. She worked in the health care field for many years. Now, painful arthritis keeps her mostly confined to her house along the St. Joseph River where she has lived for 21 years.

Ron Alson, the oldest of Clark's seven children, has been staying with his mother as she grieves over her great-granddaughter.

"If I were the police, I would be looking for a loner who lives in this area and is a pedophile," Alson said. "There are many such people who live between here and White Pigeon."

Alson said Jodi had a nice smile for everyone.

"But tell me what chance would a pretty young girl have against a man with such evil on his mind?" he said. "I wouldn't put it past this person to try doing it again."

Special smile 
There's a Bible next to Clark's favorite chair. It's an old Bible that has been through a years of wear and tear. Clark reads it often, along with many other books covering everything from current events to novels. She said she finds strength reading her Bible in these times.

Jodi always enjoyed going to school. Even students at Colon Elementary School still remember her as a girl who liked to make others happy. She also kept a diary.

"I only wish that it could have been me that was killed instead of her," Clark said.

Clark said she saw Jodi's special smile when she was only 2, and it never changed. She smiled at strangers.

"I'll never forget when she picked a bouquet of flowers outside and she gave them to me," Clark said. "She was wearing that smile ... "
















Constantine police continue hunt for child's killer
Grand Rapids Press, The (MI)
Friday, November 30, 2007
The Associated Press
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CONSTANTINE -- Nearly three weeks after an 11-year-old girl's body was found in a cemetery, the police chief says he is confident an arrest will be made in the case. 

Jodi Parrack , a fifth-grader at Riverside Elementary School, last was seen alive riding her bicycle in the southwestern Michigan village of Constantine after leaving a friend's house around 4:45 p.m. Nov. 8, said police Chief Mark Honeysett. 

The child's mother, Valerie Carver, reported the girl missing around 7 p.m. after Jodi failed to return home. 

Carver was with friends searching for her daughter when they discovered the girl's body in the Constantine Township Cemetery around 10:30 p.m. Her bike was found nearby. 

"We've gotten some tips lately that have been pretty intriguing," Honeysett said, adding he thinks the killing involves "someone locally." 

"I don't believe it was just someone passing through who picked her out," he said. 

A team of 40 to 50 investigators from the FBI and local police have received nearly 450 tips, he said. 
















Police confident they will nab Constantine girl's killer - 
Chief says some tips 'pretty intriguing'
Grand Rapids Press, The (MI)
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Rex Hall Jr. / Grand Rapids Press News Service
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CONSTANTINE -- Almost three weeks after a little girl's body was found in a cemetery, Constantine's police chief says "nobody has been eliminated yet as a suspect" in the killing of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack , and he remains confident police will make an arrest. 

"We've gotten some tips lately that have been pretty intriguing ... and make me more optimistic," Chief Mark Honeysett said Tuesday. 

"I think (the incident) involves someone locally here, so for that reason I'm confident we'll find out who and maybe why. I don't believe it was just someone passing through who picked her out." 

A team of 40 to 50 investigators from the St. Joseph County Major Crimes Task Force and FBI had amassed nearly 450 tips in the case as of Tuesday morning, but have yet to find anyone who may have seen Jodi after she left a friend's house about 4:45 p.m. Nov. 8, Honeysett said. 

"We're hoping that if anyone saw her after 4:45, they may have seen her with the person who killed her or who was with her when she died," he said. 

"I still firmly believe that someone in town did see her or has information that they don't think is important and haven't passed it along to us ... It's easier for me to believe that someone knows what happened apart from Jodi and the person who killed her." 

Jodi, a fifth-grader at Riverside Elementary, was last seen riding her bike near the intersection of East Third and South Washington streets in downtown Constantine. 

Her mother, Valerie Carver, reported her missing at about 7 that night after Jodi failed to return home on time by 5:30 p.m., investigators said. 

Carver was with friends searching for her daughter at about 10:30 p.m. when they found Jodi dead in Constantine Township Cemetery. Her bike was found nearby. 

Jodi's death has been ruled a homicide, but the cause still was undetermined and a final autopsy report hadn't been received by police as of Tuesday, Honeysett said. 

Honeysett declined to say if police have served any search warrants in the case or asked anyone to take a polygraph exam as part of the investigation. 

He said tips received by police so far have ranged from callers with no information to those who provide names of specific people "we need to talk to." Police were continuing to prioritize the tips and following up on them, as well as doing interviews Tuesday, Honeysett said. 

The St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office said in a news release Wednesday the investigation into Jodi's killing is at a point where further media attention and publicity are undesired. 

"We have reached the stage in the investigation where media publicity with regard to the specifics of the investigation is no longer desirable," Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Holly Curtis said.
















Police still hope to solve slaying - 
Someone must have helpful information in Constantine girl's killing, chief believes
Kalamazoo Gazette (MI)
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
BY REX HALL JR.
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CONSTANTINE -- Almost three weeks after a little girl's body was found lying in a cemetery, Constantine's police chief says "nobody has been eliminated yet as a suspect" in the killing of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack , and that he remains confident police will make an arrest. 

"We've gotten some tips lately that have been pretty intriguing ... and make me more optimistic," Chief Mark Honeysett said Tuesday. "I think (the incident) involves someone locally here, so for that reason I'm confident we'll find out who and maybe why. I don't believe it was just someone passing through who picked her out." 

A team of 40 to 50 investigators from the St. Joseph County Major Crimes Task Force and FBI had amassed nearly 450 tips in the case as of Tuesday morning, but have yet to find anyone who may have seen Jodi after she left a friend's house in the 100 block of East Third Street at about 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 8, Honeysett said. 

"We're hoping that if anyone saw her after 4:45, they may have seen her with the person who killed her or who was with her when she died," he said. "I still firmly believe that someone in town did see her or has information that they don't think is important and haven't passed it along to us ... It's easier for me to believe that someone knows what happened apart from Jodi and the person who killed her." 

Jodi, a fifth-grader at Riverside Elementary, was last seen riding her bike near the intersection of East Third and South Washington streets in downtown Constantine. Her mother, Valerie Carver, reported her missing at about 7 that night after Jodi failed to return home on time by 5:30 p.m., investigators have said. 

Carver was with friends searching for her daughter at about 10:30 p.m. when they found Jodi dead in the Constantine Township Cemetery. Her bike was found nearby. 

Jodi's death has been ruled a homicide, but the cause was still undetermined and a final autopsy report hadn't been received by police as of Tuesday, Honeysett said. 

Honeysett declined to say if police have served any search warrants in the case or asked anyone to take a polygraph exam as part of the investigation. 

He said tips received by police so far have ranged from callers with "no information" to those who provide "names of specific people we need to talk to." Police were continuing to prioritize the tips and following up on them, as well as doing interviews Tuesday, Honeysett said. 

The St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office issued a news release this morning indicating that the investigation into Jodi's killing is at a point where further media attention and publicity are undesired. 

"We have reached the stage in the investigation where media publicity with regard to the specifics of the investigation is no longer desirable," Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Holly Curtis wrote. 
















Column: A child's death touches us deeply
Kalamazoo Gazette
Jim Borden
November 18, 2007 at 7:09 AM
Updated August 10, 2009 at 5:16 PM
http://www.mlive.com/opinion/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2007/11/column_a_childs_death_touches.html

Anyone who's been in the news business for as long as I have - almost 30 years - has seen and covered a fair share of tragedies.

The wire services are full of disturbing stories that we see every day, most of which local readers are spared. But when local people experience tragic losses, it often is the job of local journalists to report those stories and help communities understand and deal with the difficult news.

The worst of the tragic stories always seem to involve children. And it never gets any easier to report them.

In 1981, the first year of my oldest child's life, I was a young copy editor on the editing desk of The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. A story that moved on the wires for several consecutive days told of efforts to rescue a young, disabled boy who had slipped down a muddy hole of some kind in Italy. My recollection is imperfect, I'm sure.

But I recall that, for days, crews tried to reach him to pull him from the hole. At one point, a very small man was lowered face-first into the hole with a rope tied to his feet, and although he could actually touch the boy's hand, he couldn't pull him free because the slippery mud wouldn't allow a secure grip.

Those who gathered by the hole could hear the boy's cries, but after several days, the cries went silent. I don't recall if they ever retrieved the boy's body.

I do remember going home from work on the night of that final, tragic story and scooping my little son from his crib just to hold him. Of course, the movement roused him from his peaceful slumber, and he cried loud and hard, a development his sleepy mother failed to appreciate.

Still, as a father and a journalist, I understood the value of a precious young life and was touched by the loss of one.

Just as we all are touched now, by the loss of Jodi Parrack, 11, the girl from Constantine whose body was found in a cemetery not far from her home Nov. 8.

No journalist - or anyone - with any soul or conscience can cover a story such as this and not be touched deeply.

The reporter we assigned to the story, Rex Hall, Jr., is a young father himself. As part of his responsibilities this past week, he's talked with many people who are close to the family and are familiar with the girl and the case. That's not easy, I assure you. Not many would want that task.

I suspect our young reporter will remember this story for the rest of his life, and indeed it's important that he does. While the community doesn't yet have all the answers to what happened in the case of this young girl from Constantine, her story touches every one of us.

If I've learned anything from nearly three decades in the news business, it is that empathy makes us better people. And compassion makes us better journalists.


















Jodi's mom: Murder a 'nightmare'
Kalamazoo Gazette
By Rex Hall Jr.
November 16, 2007 at 8:50 AM
Updated November 19, 2007 at 10:27 AM
http://blog.mlive.com/kzgazette/2007/11/jodis_mom_murder_a_nightmare.html



CONSTANTINE -- Valerie Jo Carver said she knew her 11-year-old daughter was dead even before headlights illuminated her bicycle propped by a cemetery headstone last Thursday.

The mother says Jodi Christine Parrack "looked peaceful" when Carver found her youngest child lying in the dark among dry, crimson leaves in the Constantine Township Cemetery.

"She looked like she was sleeping," Carver said. "Her eyes were closed, her mouth was closed -- she was beautiful."

Carver said she cried, screamed, vomited and finally cradled her daughter's lifeless body in the cemetery grass. But the Constantine mother said hours before she and friends found Jodi's body, "I just knew she was dead."

"I told her I was sorry, told her that I loved her," Carver said at her home Thursday. "She was always scared of the cemetery and scared of the dark. I knew somebody took her when it was dark and she didn't come home. I just knew.

"I knew I was looking for her body and not her."

Carver says her family's nightmare has been amplified by rumors that members of Jodi's family are among those police are scrutinizing in a case where Constantine Police Chief Mark Honeysett says "no one has been ruled in or ruled out yet."

"I took a polygraph and so has my husband," Carver said. Police didn't comment on the test.

"We hear rumors. It's really funny to me that everybody knows this and everybody knows that. But I don't know anything from the police. I don't know if another child could be hurt."

No one in her family was involved, Carter says. And she says she believes "more than one person" participated in the abduction and murder.

Despite police disclosures that the young girl was found with no visible signs of trauma, her mother believes Jodi "would have fought" anyone attempting to abduct or harm her.

What has the past week been like?

"Hell," Carver said. "It might not be hot, but it's like a living nightmare. I feel like, when am I going to wake up and when is it going to be over?"

Carver's stories tell the story of a young girl with a big heart and impish spunk. Jodi -- her own family having limited means -- was profoundly touched during a recent church youth group trip to Chicago, where she first saw people living on the streets, her mother said.

"A couple of weeks ago, she talked about what she wanted to do when she grew up," Carver said. "She said she wanted to be someone who did hair, because she said when people feel pretty, they're happy."

The blonde-haired daughter also loved sports, particularly basketball. But when Jodi declared she planned to play rocket football this year, her mother demurred.

Despite the fact the family had moved multiple times during her young life, Jodi made friends easily, according to her mother. She also loved animals.

The day before Jodi died, she and her mother had gone to an animal shelter where Carver said the 11-year-old fell in love with a "big, fat, cat with big eyes" named Zap.

"We couldn't afford the hundred dollars to get the cat, so we left," Carver recalls. "After Jodi died, I thought about how much that cat meant to her. Our pastor gave us the money and I got Zap last Saturday."

Carver said it was not unusual for Jodi to come home after school and go off to be with friends the remainder of the afternoon.

But Carver says her daughter always returned home by her 5:30 p.m. curfew.

Until Nov. 8.

When 5:45 p.m. arrived and Jodi didn't, Carver said she went to Jodi's friend's house looking for her. Her young friend had gone to a scouting meeting and the two mothers agreed Jodi had probably tagged along.

But when the friend returned home and Carver learned Jodi hadn't gone with her, "I knew somebody had took her."

Carver said she went to the Constantine Police Department to report her daughter missing.

After making the report, Carver, joined by family and friends, began checking parks, school grounds and even a local construction site.

"A friend of ours said, 'Has anybody checked the cemetery?' so we drove there," said Carver, whose rented home is less than a block from the burial ground. "When I saw her bike leaned up against the stone, she (the driver) didn't even stop the car before I jumped out and ran."

Investigators won't comment on whether they believe the girl was killed where she was found or at another location, then left in the cemetery.

And while Honeysett says he doesn't believe the community should "panic that there's a child predator in Constantine," Carver advises parents, "Don't let your kids go anywhere by themselves."

A prayer was offered during Jodi's funeral service for her killer. But Carver's voice hardens when she's asked what she'd like to say to the person or persons responsible for the girl's death.

"Say your prayers," she advises, "because I'd kill them for what they did."

Carver says her family hopes to print bumper stickers with Jodi's picture and a favorite saying about hugs and love.

"As long as her face is out there, people won't forget."
















Probe enters seventh day
Police sift through hundreds of tips, but no suspect yet in Parrack homicide case
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Corky Emrick
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CONSTANTINE - With the investigation of who killed 11-year-old Jodi Parrack ending its first week, police continue to sift through hundreds of tips. 

Mark Honeysett, Constantine police chief and village manager, said police had received more than 320 tips as of Wednesday morning. 

Based on that information, officers have talked to several hundred people. That includes canvassing as well as formal and informal questioning, Honeysett said. 

Police are still looking for anyone who may have seen Parrack after 4:45 p.m. Nov. 8. 

"No one has reported seeing her after 4:45 p.m.," Honeysett said. 

Parrack was last seen riding her bike west on Third Street near Washington Street (U.S. 131). 

"I think that there is somebody that has that one piece of information," Honeysett added. "They just may not realize that they have that one piece. So we need to hear from anyone who may have seen something." 

The village was shaken again Tuesday night with a report of a possible abduction. It caused a brief increase in tension until police found there was no abduction. 

"I think all of the rumors that were flying around pushed people over the edge," Honeysett said. "We just want people to be diligent in caution." 

Honeysett said police have no reason to believe there is a "serial killer," no reason to believe there is a stranger in town posing a threat. 

"We have no reason to believe there is a 'next' target," Honeysett said. 

Nearly 30 officers from the St. Joseph County Major Crime Task Force have been working around the clock since Parrack's body was found. 

"They are a Godsend," Honeysett said. "They've been working their butts off on this. They're extremely dedicated to solving this." 
















Anxiety grips village
Suspicion of abduction briefly heightens tensions in Constantine
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Corky Emrick
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CONSTANTINE - The emotional strain being felt in Constantine became evident Tuesday evening. 

On the day Jodi Parrack was laid to rest, panic overtook the community. Just before 7 p.m., police received a report by someone who believed they may have seen a child abduction. 

Police determined the sighting was of a child being picked up from school. 

The report had come from a concerned student. 

"We are very thankful that the child made the report," Constantine Police Chief and village manager Mark Honeysett said. "He called us when he saw something suspicious." 

Not long after the report was made, word spread throughout the village, along with rumors that another body had been found. 

As police investigated, village streets were filled with vehicles whose drivers were primed for a search. 

Later Tuesday night, Honeysett tried to be reassuring while encouraging caution. 

"Our schools, the administrators and teachers make our schools safe," Honeysett said. "Parents need to take normal precautions with their children." 

Since Parrack was found dead Thursday night, the St. Joseph County Major Crimes Task Force has been working nearly around-the-clock to find a suspect in the case. 

"We're still working very hard to find out, how, why and who killed Jodi," Honeysett said. 

Later in the evening, police talked to the student who had been mistaken for the abductee, and were assured he was safe at home. 
















Our View: It takes a village...
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
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Local residents were shocked last week and continue to talk in disbelief about the death of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack of Constantine. 

Jodi was found dead Thursday night by her mother in the Constantine Cemetery. The Riverside Elementary fifth-grader was late getting home when her parents began searching for her - a search that ended in every parent's worst nightmare. 

As the family gathers today to pay tribute to Jodi it is unfortunate we must face the reality of what we call "civilization." 

Back in 1996, Hillary Clinton gave a speech many remember and quote to this day. The "It Takes A Village To Raise A Child" speech struck a chord with so many. That phrase takes on even more meaning today as area parents stress caution to their children. 

We'd all like to think we live in a place where people care about others, where it's safe to leave the doors unlocked and let the kids play around outside. 

Here in St. Joseph County, we've learned the hard way that those "safe" places no longer exist. 

Our county is made up of small villages and small towns. They are places where children ride their bikes to school, play outside at the neighbor's house and walk to the corner store for a treat. Children here enjoy playing in the local park, getting together a game of kickball or just "hanging out." 

We've always known in the back of our minds, that the dangers exist, but we take for granted the rural area of our existence. We are optimistic about our communities and like to believe people are good. 

Today, however, we have doubts. 

We are angry a young girl's life is over. We search for clues as to why someone would want to hurt one of "our" children. We mourn the loss of a child who had her entire future ahead. We pray for Jodi's family and offer them any assistance we can. 

As Hillary Clinton said, "it takes a village to raise a child," we believe it also takes a village to keep a child safe. 

It is the responsibility of every adult to watch over the children of the community - from a distance, perhaps. We all must be pro-active in keeping our children out of harm's way. 

"...We have learned that to raise a happy, healthy and hopeful child, it takes a family, it takes teachers, it takes clergy, it takes business people, it takes community leaders, it takes those who protect our health and safety, it takes all of us. 

Yes, it takes a village." 
















Jodi C. Parrack - Obit
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Monday, November 12, 2007
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CONSTANTINE - Jodi Christine Parrack, age 11, of Constantine, Mich., died Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007. 

She was born in Three Rivers on Sept. 2, 1996. Jodi loved school and was in Mr. Wing's class at Riverside Elementary in Constantine. She had played basketball for White Pigeon in the third grade. 

Jodi was active in Jr. Youth Group and she loved helping in the nursery at Word Fellowship in Centreville. Jodi loved animals, fishing, swimming, and hanging out with her friends. She was loved by everyone who knew her. Her favorite television shows were America's Most Wanted, Big Brother, Kid Nation and Survivor. Jodi was a fun loving, happy-go-lucky girl who was always ready to lend a helping hand. Her motto was "Love is like a hug so hold onto it." Jodi was so close to perfect that God had to call her home. 

Jodi is survived by her mother and stepfather, Valerie Jo (Pearson) and Kevin Carver, and father, Doug Parrack; brothers, Brian Parrack and Daren Parrack; aunts and uncles, Ken and Debbie Carver, Kim and Richard Elder, Kristy Pearson, Kurt and Crystal Carver, Tonya and Tim Miller, Mike Parrack and Jamie Williams; several cousins; grandparents, Tom and Lillie Pearson, Dennis Carpenter, Linda and Grant Allbaugh and Mike Parrack; and great-grandmother, Zola Clark. She was preceded in death by her grandmother, Pat Carpenter and great-grandmother, Aleatha Harrison. 

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Trinity Missionary Church on U.S. 131 in Constantine. Pastor Russ Stauffer of Word Fellowship will officiate. Interment will be in White Pigeon Township Cemetery, White Pigeon. 

Memorial contributions may be directed to the Jodi Parrack Memorial Fund C/O FNB. Online condolences to the family may be sent to eleyfh@comcast.net. 

















Somber caution
Fewer students at bus stops; community pays respects
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Monday, November 12, 2007
Rosalie Currier
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CONSTANTINE - Four days after 11-year-old Jodi Parrack was found dead, family, friends and community members gathered for visitation at Eley Funeral Home. 

Her funeral is today at Trinity Missionary Church. 

Community members, some who knew Jodi and some who didn't, are flocking to support the family. 

Monday afternoon, school crossing guard Donna Mohoney removed her reflective vest after the last student passed. 

"I'm on my way to the funeral home now," Mohoney said. 

Jodi "is like our baby now," she said. "The baby of the whole community." 

Over the weekend a community vigil was held at the cemetery and gifts of stuffed animals, flowers and candles surrounded an ancient oak tree near the site where Parrack was found. 

Standing in a rain, Cindy Sinkler of White Pigeon viewed it with a sense of heaviness. 

Sinkler attended church with Parrack's grandmother, who occasionally brought Jodi when she was little. 

"It's just a tragedy and you don't expect it in these little towns," Sinkler said. 

While Sinkler had been in contact with Jodi on several other occasions, too, "she was just one of the kids." 

On Friday, news that a child had died rocked the community. By Monday, news that the case was ruled a homicide resulted in fear. 

Everyone is being more vigilant. 

In a foggy drizzle, Constantine parents made a special effort to take their children to and from school. The buses and sidewalks were emptier. 

"Usually, we have 40 kids walking to school," said Norm Taylor, Constantine Public Schools superintendent, looking to the sidewalk that runs in front of the middle school, high school and Riverside Elementary. "This morning, there were eight." 

Mohoney agreed there were significantly fewer students on foot. 

"Thank goodness," she said. 

The schools are "trying to be as normal as possible, but it's tough." 

Local school districts sent counselors to Constantine on Friday as soon as the news spread. A professor from Western Michigan University contacted Taylor to offer his services to the students. 

But Taylor pointed out that Jodi's death was not a school issue. 

"It's a societal issue," he said. 













Police get 150 tips in girl's homicide
MLive
John Barnes
November 11, 2007 at 7:34 AM
Updated November 11, 2007 at 2:27 PM
http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2007/11/police_get_150_tips_in_girls_h.html


CONSTANTINE -- Authorities are continuing to seek information from the public in hopes of solving the killing of an 11-year-old girl, particularly any tips involving a dark-colored pickup seen near where the body was found.

The St. Joseph County Major Crimes Task Force and the FBI on Saturday were sifting through about 150 tips they received since Jodi Christine Parrack was found dead Thursday night in the Constantine Township Cemetery, St. Joseph County Undersheriff Dennis Allen said at a noon press conference.

Authorities have said Jodi's mother, Valerie Carver, found her about 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

Allen said police spent Saturday prioritizing tips, conducting interviews and following up on leads. At this time, there are no suspects, said Police Chief Mark Honeysett, who is also Constantine's city manager.

Police have asked anyone who may have seen suspicious people or vehicles in the village Thursday to come forward. Specifically, investigators have said a light-colored "painters-style" van was seen near Constantine Middle School on Thursday.

At Saturday's news conference, authorities further revealed a dark-colored pickup truck, possibly a Ford Ranger, also was seen Thursday afternoon in the vicinity of the cemetery.

"We're trying to get some information out there with the hope it might help us with tips," St. Joseph County Assistant Prosecutor Holly Curtis said. "Something (the public doesn't) believe is important could lead to something for us."

Authorities also disclosed Saturday that, in addition to incidents in Three Rivers that have been reported in the Kalamazoo Gazette, there have been other reports to police in Cassopolis and Mattawan of a suspicious van around young people. In the incidents, the vehicle was reported to be light-colored, police said.

Curtis said Saturday authorities don't know if the incidents are connected to Jodi's killing or if the vehicle in those incidents is the same one that was spotted Thursday near the middle school in Constantine.

"It may not be the same vehicle, but it's important to be aware," she said.

Police have said that Carver contacted police after her daughter failed to return at 5:30 p.m. Thursday from visiting friends on East Third Street.

The girl had been seen earlier riding a silver Mongoose bicycle, which was later recovered near her body.

On Saturday, at the cemetery where Jodi's body was found, a makeshift memorial was created at the foot of a large tree.

There were lit candles, teddy bears, flowers, a card and a plastic box to drop off prayers.

"R.I.P., Sweet Miss Jodi," read a note placed atop the prayer box. "You will always be remembered and greatly missed. Our prayers are with your family."

Investigators have said an autopsy conducted Friday indicated that Jodi's death was a homicide, but that the cause of her death has not been determined.

Visitation for Jodi is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Eley Funeral Home in Constantine. A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Trinity Missionary Church in Constantine. Burial will be in White Pigeon Township Cemetery.

















Body of girl, 11, found
Grand Rapids Press, The (MI)
Saturday, November 10, 2007
The Associated Press
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CONSTANTINE -- Authorities say someone killed an 11-year-old girl and left her body in a cemetery in St. Joseph County near the Indiana boundary. 

The FBI is helping the local investigation. 

Constantine police say Jodi Parrack 's mother reported her missing Thursday night. They say she left the home of a friend about 4:45 p.m. on a silver bicycle. 

Police searching for the girl found her body in Constantine Township Cemetery about 10:30 p.m. Police say preliminary autopsy results show her death was a homicide but don't show how she was killed. They're asking for tips and say a light-colored older van spotted nearby may have a tie to the case. 
















Second suspect vehicle sought in homicide case
Police review leads, ask for tips
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Corky Emrick
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CONSTANTINE - Authorities are now seeking a second vehicle in connection with the death of Jodi Parrack of Constantine. 

Parrack, 11, was found dead in Constantine Township Cemetery Thursday night. 

At a press conference today, assistant prosecuting attorney Holly Curtis said the vehicle in question is a dark-colored pickup similar to a Ranger. 

"No matter how insignificant a person may think their information is, we want to hear from them," Curtis said. 

Police also want information about a light-colored van. Someone driving a similar vehicle had been involved in recent reports of accosting children in the Cassopolis, Mattawan and Three Rivers areas. 

Police and prosecutors said no new information about the cause of Parrack's death had been determined. 

St. Joseph County Undersheriff Dennis Allen said police have received about 130 tips about the case. 

"Right now we're going through all of the tips and prioritizing them," Allen said. 

A second team of investigators were brought in Friday night and canvassed the area, Allen said. 

Investigators spent today reviewing leads and tips, and developing a timeline of the last hours of Parrack's life. 

She was last seen at about 4:45 p.m. Thursday, riding a bike in the Third Street area in Constantine. 

She wearing a black sweater over a black T-shirt with black pants and black shoes. She may have on her way to a store in Constantine. 

Anyone who had seen Parrack Thursday afternoon or early evening, or who may have seen either vehicle in question is asked to call police at 435-4355 or 467-4195. 

Curtis said canvassing the area and getting community input was instrumental in solving the 2005 abduction case of Sean Lucas. 

Lucas was abducted from his home in Sturgis in July of that year. 

More press conferences will be held when new information is obtained. 

















'Awful, just awful'
Shock spreads through village after girl's death
Sturgis Journal (MI)
Friday, November 9, 2007
Rosalie Currier
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CONSTANTINE - George Dieffenderfer was on his way to Meek's Mill Restaurant Friday morning when he noticed a roped-off area as he drove past Constantine Township Cemetery. 

Dieffenderfer's first question when he arrived at the restaurant was, "What's going on?" 

Those who arrived earlier already knew: a young girl was found dead Thursday night at the cemetery. 

That girl turned out to be 11-year-old Jodi Parrack , who police say was murdered Thursday. 

Dieffenderfer shook his head in disbelief. 

A similar reaction was taking place at Harvey House Restaurant. 

"It's awful. Just awful," said Chris Howell, a Harvey House waitress. 

Downtown merchant Deb Eiswald heard the news at about 9:30 a.m. when a friend called her. 

"My first thought was, 'This is Constantine. This can't happen here,'" Eiswald said. 

After Eiswald learned it was ruled a homicide, it sparked an even more severe reaction. 

"That just makes me sick to my stomach." 

It's bad enough that the parents don't have their child, Eiswald said. Now, they must deal with the fact she was murdered. 

News media descended on Riverside Elementary, where Parrack had been a fifth-grade student. 

"Our focus has been to support our students," high school principal Mike Mulligan said. "They are doing as well as can be expected." 

Counselors from surrounding communities went to the school to offer support to students. 

"We're doing our best to support our students and we will as long as it is needed," Mulligan said. "And we're doing what we always do - providing a safe learning environment." 

Back at Harvey House, Charlene Clementz, who grew up in Constantine, recalled "safer days." 

"When I was a kid, I could run all over town on my bicycle and late at night, but that was years ago," Clementz said. 

Inevitably the talk circled back to the tragedy at hand. Kermit Parsons of Constantine summed up saying, "Unbelievable that it was a child." 
















Joni Parrack murdered - November 08, 2007










CONTINUED:
Jodi Parrack Murder - Former Reserve Officer Raymond McCann arrested 









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