Sunday, November 4, 2007

Officer Kevin Brainard - murdered wife Pam Aukerman Brainard




November 04, 2007: Pam Aukerman Brainard murdered by her ex-husband Officer Kevin Brainard, Plainwell Police Department





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Pam's murder sadly demonstrates that there are no agencies, laws, or programs to assist victims of officer involved domestic violence.







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On November 04, 2007, Pam Aukerman Brainard was murdered by her husband, Plainwell Police Officer Kevin Brainard. Friends and family of Pam claimed that Officer Brainard was abusive towards Pam...And a week prior to her murder, Pam had threatened to leave her husband.






Pam Aukerman Brainard: Shot and killed by her husband, Plainwell Police Officer Kevin Brainard. November 04, 2007.







Officer Kevin Brainard turned the gun on himself and committed suicide, after he murdered his wife, Pam.






Pam and Kevin had only been married for a year, at the time time of the murder - suicide.








Kevin and Pam's residence in Plainwell Michigan











 A friend of Pam's spoke about how Pam's husband was abusive and controlling, and Pam's plans to leave Kevin [because of the abuse].









Plainwell Police Department, where Officer Kevin Brainard had been a patrol officer for seven years.




Ostego Police Department, where Officer Brainard was on the Volunteer Fire Department.











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Pam Aukerman Brainard










Pam's husband was a police officer for the Plainwell Police Department













Pam was murdered by her husband, in their home.









Pam and Kevin's two-year old daughter was in the home at the time of murder- suicide. She was not hurt.








Pam's teenage son was not home at the time of the murder - suicide.





Family and friends say that Pam had told Kevin a week prior, that she intended to leave him.





A neighbor said that she was unaware of the abuse that Pam was being subjected to at the hands of Kevin: 'Never heard anything...'







Friends and co-workers painted a completely different picture of what was going on at the Brainard home.







A friend of Pam's spoke about the abuse Pam was subjected to, and how she had no agency to turn to for help, because Kevin was a police officer.  Pam's friend was so terrified of speaking out about officer involved domestic violence, that she had the media hide her identity.






Rick Klemmer, a co-worker of Pam's, placed flowers in memory of Pam on her front porch, and prayed.









Pam had confided in Rich about the abuse she was subjected to and her intentions to escape.








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Officer Kevin Brainard's father's call to 911


















Jennifer Aukerman [Pam's sister]









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Murder of Pam Aukerman -Brainard / Suicide of Officer Kevin Brainard investigation.

















Pam and Kevin's home.








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Plainwell residents stresssed by Officer Brainard murder - suicide.



 Pam Aukerman - Brainard





 City of Plainwell















The aftermath after a parent kills a parent
by John Agar and John Tunison
The Grand Rapids Press
Sunday January 27, 2008, 12:11 AM
http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/01/the_aftermath_after_a_parent_k.html

As she fought for her life, Lori DeKleine -- a strap tightening around her neck -- pleaded with her estranged husband: "Think of the kids."

Ken DeKleine responded: "I am thinking of the kids."

With his wife out of the way, DeKleine, a Holland police officer, allegedly told investigators he could have the children to himself.

The chilling statement was recounted Friday by a state police detective.

The DeKleine case is among about a dozen high-profile slayings in recent years in which parents allegedly killed an estranged or ex-partner -- killings that left children the ultimate victims.


They found a parent's body or slept through the killing. Troy Tyo's kids spent five days wondering what happened to their dad before his body turned up.

And for three years, Alex Dawson, 4, lived with his father, Timothy Dawson, who was named a prime suspect a few months after the death of his wife, Julia. Timothy Dawson was arrested Friday evening at his Texas home on a murder warrant charging him in his wife's death.

The killings led an investigator to ask: "What the hell were they thinking?"

Acting out of hatred
These children face a possible lifetime of hurt, anger, distrust, even, in some cases, undeserved feelings of guilt as they grow up without those they relied upon the most. Few can identify with such loss and betrayal. The stigma is enormous in a period of life in which conformity is valued.

"There are three things going on that make this just what I call a 'triple whammy' for the kids," psychologist R. Scott Stehouwer said.

"No. 1, your mom dies. No. 2, she was murdered. No. 3, your dad did it. To the kids, it's ... an absolute numbing. It just sort of levels you."

They are essentially orphaned, and the world they once knew ends in an instant. Police, protective services and extended family take over.

"We try to get them with family as soon as possible," Allegan County sheriff's Detective Chris Koster said. "When you've got a murder-suicide, you got two sets of grandparents. How do you choose the best one? What (dynamics) of the family are going on? With young kids crying for somebody, that's the person we're generally trying to find."

Children are not a consideration for parents who kill. Parents act out of intense hatred for the ex-spouse.

"Perpetrators are extremely narcissistic people," said Stehouwer, chairman of Calvin College's psychology department. "Nobody thinks about the kids.

"'It's all about me. I'm all good, and you're all bad. If everybody thinks you're horrible, I win.' If you really were concerned about the kids, this is the last thing you would do," Stehouwer said.

Long-term consequences
For the children, it takes time just to comprehend what happened. They need a long time to heal, with support from the community, including church and school, to know they can have a normal life. It is important they not be stigmatized.

Stehouwer, who has counseled two families in such circumstances, said: "They need the freedom to be kids, the freedom to go to homecoming ... goof around, go to concerts. They need the freedom not to talk about it at all."

Allegan County Sheriff Blaine Koops said these "true victims ... must carry this burden for their entire life."

"In fact, in many cases, because of unresolved psychological trauma, many of the children will pass the trauma on to their children -- thus making it intergenerational. So now, not only must we deal with the immediate emotional trauma, the long-term consequences are even more devastating. These kids will experience their own form of post-traumatic stress syndrome for many years."

In some cases, family divisions -- the victim's family on one side, the suspect's on the other -- create problems for the kids. Others come together.

In Troy Tyo's Dec. 3 killing, the suspect's brother and sister-in-law, Adam and Holly Osmun, care for the girls, ages 6 and 10. They attend elementary school in Gobles and are doing "excellent," Holly Osmun said.

The Gobles community helped renovate the couple's basement for more living space and new bedrooms. The Osmuns have three young children of their own. Holly Osmun, trying to "keep everything pretty neutral," did not want to share the girls' questions about their parents.

In the Dawson case, grandparent visitation rights ended up in the court system. Timothy Dawson tried to bar Julia Dawson's parents from seeing their grandson, taking his case to the state appeals court. Judges sided with the grandparents.

Since then, Julia Dawson's parents, Kevin and Tamara Keenan, have visited their grandson regularly in Texas. Immediately after the Friday arrest, they weren't sure where Alex was, though the sheriff in Kerr County, Texas, said the boy had been turned over to protective services.

Family has come together in the aftermath of the November murder-suicide by Brainard, the Plainwell police officer. He shot and killed his wife, Pam, then himself. Family friends said she planned to divorce him. Left behind were their 2-year-old daughter, Kayla, and her 15-year-old son, Kyle.

With the support of family and his father, Kyle Aukerman is doing as well as can be expected, said Pam Brainard's sister, Jennifer Drake. He lives with his father, and Kayla is with Kevin Brainard's parents under temporary guardianship.

"They'll be OK," Drake said. "We have a great family and great support system."

Still, family members are not sure how the couple's daughter, too young to understand the incident, will cope in later years.

"There are going to be questions no one can answer," Drake said.

It is difficult to understand how a police officer skilled in handling domestic violence failed to recognize the impact on the children.

"He had to be trained on what the children go through," Drake said. "He should have thought of the children and looked at what he was doing to an innocent baby and a fine young man."

Forever 'scarred'
Christopher DeKleine, 16, and his sister, Breanne DeKleine, 18, are the latest victims. Their father, the 13-year Holland police officer, allegedly hid in the attic until the kids left for school, then strangled their mother. The son found his mother.

"When he closes his eyes, he's always going to see that. I still see my parents on the floor," said Susan Murphy-Milano, who became a nationally recognized advocate for battered women after her father, a Chicago police detective, killed her mother in January 1989, then killed himself.

She has engaged in online discussions of the Holland killing and thinks the children will suffer for a long time.

They will ask, "'How could he do this? That was Mom.' They're not going to be quick to forgive, if at all. Forever, they're going to be scarred. They're always going to be the kids whose father killed their mother," she said.

Surviving families are left to pick up the pieces, said Larry McKenna, whose daughter, Julie Abbott, was killed in 2004 by her estranged husband, Randall Abbott, at her Gaines Township home. She left two boys, including a young son with Randall Abbott later adopted by her family.

The family requested the boy's name be withheld. When he was 5, he would look to the sky and ask Jesus to talk to his mother. "I'm a good boy, I'm a good boy," he would say, seemingly blaming himself for his mother being gone.

"He is a very happy boy, now," McKenna said.

He talks about his mom, and his family keeps her memory alive. He'll probably have questions when he's older -- questions only his biological father could answer.



Brandon and Brooklyn Wilson now live with their aunt after their mother was killed by their father in 2002. Press Photo/Katy Batdorff.













Trying to make sense of it
LaVette Wilson, a mother of three, adopted her sister's children, Brandon, 8, and Brooklyn, 7, after LaDena Wilson was killed in 2002.

She works full time and attends college. She has help from the three older children, especially 22-year-old Kyle, "a dad, an uncle, a big brother, all wrapped up into one."

The young ones -- only 1 and 2 when their mother died -- do well in school. They seem happy. They like to hear stories about their mom. Later, they can decide about their dad, something LaVette Wilson knows "they'll have to deal with." They don't really talk about him.

She stopped hating Leon Wilson -- who shared a last name but never married her sister -- two years after her sister's death. She had to put that energy into the kids.

She can't help but wonder why it ended this way.

It is something no one else can truly grasp, said Niki Nimmo, whose sister, Mimi Bernard, a Forest Hills schools volunteer, was killed in 2003 by her ex-husband, Paul Bernard, in her Cascade Township home.

The youngest of their four children, Jeffrey, was 14 when he found his mother's bloodied body slumped in the garage. The children suspected their father and even tape-recorded conversations with him.

Jeffrey Bernard moved in with his sister, out of state. The others left the area, too. Nobody wants to be a spectacle or have people look at them differently. Old friends cannot really understand. New ones do not need to know.

"I think that's why the kids really do need counseling, and they need counseling for a long period of time," Nimmo said. "This isn't a problem you talk to your peers about. It's something your peers can't even identify with. Many family members don't voluntarily discuss it with friends or new friends. You don't want to have to explain it to anyone.

"I don't think you ever completely make it go away. It's something you learn to live with."













Pamela (Aukerman) Brainard
BRAINARD (AUKERMAN), Pamela Of Otsego
Passed away Sunday, November 4, 2007. Pam was born July 2, 1974 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of David and Debra (Hayward) Aukerman and was raised in Mattawan. She had worked for Gentiva for several years as a Registered Nurse, in the Medicaid Programs such as the Mother-Infant Program, Home Health Care and finding resources for funds to help Mothers in difficult medical situations. She was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Willard and Barbara Aukerman. Pam is survived by her parents, Dave and Deb Aukerman of Mattawan; her children, Kyle Aukerman and Kayla Marie; her sister, Jennifer Drake; her brother, David (Peggy) Aukerman; her maternal grandparents, Robert and Shirley Hayward; several cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, including a very special nephew, Chase. Funeral services will be conducted at 11:00 AM Saturday in the Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Portage Chapel 411 E. Centre Ave. with Pastor John Vick and Pastor Mark Minger, officiating. Interment will follow in Mt. Ever-Rest Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Friday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to a Y.W.C.A. Domestic Assault Program. 269-343-1508
http://obits.mlive.com/Kalamazoo/DeathNotices.asp?Page=LifeStory&PersonId=97491255













Murder victim ‘loved to teach’
By Daniel Pepper
Allegan News
Friday, November 16, 2007 10:48 AM EST
http://www.allegannews.com/articles/2007/11/16/local_news/1.prt

Co-workers remember Pam Brainard as being perfectly suited to be a nurse.“Her job was perfect for her because she was everything a nurse should be,” said Jennifer Dentler, who worked with her at Allegan General Hospital.

Brainard was found murdered Nov. 4, according to police, by her husband, Kevin, a Plainwell Public Safety Officer, at the couple’s home in Otsego.

Co-workers from the hospital remembered her working to bring new people into the world at the hospital’s birth center. She’d worked at the birth center about a year, while previously working in home health care. Dentler, a fellow nurse, said Brainard’s best skill was working with patients.

“She loved to teach, she was really great with the moms and babies with getting out parenting info or anything they needed,” Dentler said.

She knew how to ask the right questions of patients, Dentler said, to get the answers nurses needed.“She was great at just counseling and helping the moms and babies, beyond just providing care,” she said.

Brainard took it upon herself to become certified in putting in car seats and would go out to the car with mothers and babies leaving the birth center to make sure their car seats were put in correctly.

That was just one example, Dentler said, of her going above and beyond.

“Always after somebody delivered, she’d call and check back in even when she wasn’t working to check on them,” she said. “She’d go above and beyond. When she was off-duty she’d call and check on her patients.”

The nurses at the birth center work 12-hour shifts, but Brainard was always busy.

“She was always, always, always working,” Dentler said. “She was never one to just sit back and read when we were down, she’d always have something we were doing.”

She was survived by her two children, Kyle, 14, and Kayla Marie, 2.

“She talked a lot about her children,” Dentler said. “That’s what we talked about a lot.”

That seemed very in line with her personality at work, Dentler said.

“Pam just exuded a very motherly nature about her. She was very much a caretaker. She was very intuitive with the patients and with us. She’d see if you were sick or sad and she’d want to take care of you.”

Brainard was born July 2, 1974, Kalamazoo to David and Debra Aukerman. She grew up in Mattawan and was buried Saturday, Nov. 10, in Kalamazoo.

According to their funeral home’s Web site, the family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Y.W.C.A. Domestic Assault Program.

Dentler said she’d be missed. “Deeply, deeply missed,” she said. “It’s a very hard thing to understand, but she’ll just be missed.”










Advocates speak out on officer domestic violence
November 9, 2007 - 8:42AM
WWMT TV News
http://www.wwmt.com/news/domestic_1344687___article.html/pam_harrington.html


OTSEGO (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Police believe Kevin Brainard killed his wife Pam, then shot himself last Sunday. Pam will be laid to rest on Saturday.

Kevin's funeral is Friday.

This murder has caught the attention of domestic violence advocates across the Midwest.

One of them calls it a case that proves Michigan needs to change the way it handles police officer domestic violence cases.

Her reason for pushing for this is a belief that victims of domestic abuse committed by police don't feel there's a neutral place they can turn to and report what happening.

"I wish I could have done more and I could have been there for Pam and I feel like I let Pam and her family down," said domestic violence advocate Renee Harrington.

By phone, Harrington broke down, wondering if a change in state law could have prevented Pam Brainard's death.

Friends of the victim tell News channel 3 that despite claims of abuse at the hands of her husband, Public Safety Officer Kevin Brainard, Pam never filed a police report.

That is a common problem says Harrington, who believes often victims of domestic violence at the hands of law enforcement don't feel safe turning to local police. Officers often work alongside the accused abuser. Even local domestic violence shelters often hold joint-programs with area cops.

That's why Harrington is pushing a proposal that would create an independent, statewide agency where victims could turn. What she calls a neutral party. Harrington, who has written state lawmakers following the Brainard case, believes federal funding would cover the costs. It could potentially save lives, and make Michigan a model for other states.

"I believe that victim's number one concern is safety, and if they knew they had a safe place to go to, they would take that opportunity and run with it," said Harrington.

News channel 3 did talk with Pam's sister. She supports the idea and says her family has been discussing the need for a system like the one described.

Video link:
 http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1111405973/bclid1137706675/bctid1300129635









Plainwell officer kills wife, self
By Daniel Pepper
Allegan News
Wednesday, November 7, 2007 5:02 PM EST
http://www.allegannews.com/articles/2007/11/09/ue_news/1.txt

Police suspect a Plainwell Public Safety officer shot his wife and then himself late Sunday, Nov. 4.

The bodies of Kevin and Pam Brainard were found inside the couple’s home by Otsego police and Allegan County sheriff deputies about 10 p.m. Sunday after a family member called 9-1-1. Kevin Brainard was taken to Borgess Pipp Health Center, but was pronounced dead there. Police said he and his wife both had gun shot wounds to the head.

Brainard had been a public safety officer in Plainwell for about seven years and a volunteer fireman in Otsego for about 12 years.

Otsego police Chief Gordon Konkle said the case was shocking.

“No one that I know of had any idea this was coming,” Konkle said. “It was out of the blue. We’d never been there on a domestic abuse call, or anything that I am aware of and I think I’d be aware of it if it had happened.”

No other indications of impending violence had been seen, as far as police know, he said.

“You never know what is going on in somebody’s house,” Konkle said. “People are private, sometimes, and never air their dirty laundry in public. But this is the epidemic that’s running through everywhere, as far as domestic assault. This was a domestic assault that escalated. It’s unfortunate it came to this and that they didn’t get help.”

Konkle said that investigation suggested the couple were having marital problems.

The crime was the first murder Otsego police could remember taking place in the city in anyone’s memory, Konkle said. “This was a shock to us, both of the families are good people and our condolences go out to them,” he said.

Plainwell Director of Public Safety Bill Bomar said that Brainard had been an exemplary officer.

“He was one of our hardest working officers,” Bomar said. “An officer who absolutely loved his job.”

Bomar said his department had sat down with a grief counselor.

“Our deposition counsel said last night that you can’t see that stuff, these people hide that stuff,” he said. His department never received an indication anything like this was coming, Bomar said.

“He was a good employee, we never had any issues,” he said. “I wish everyone had worked as hard as he did.”

Konkle said Pam Brainard wasn’t an Otsego native like her husband and that she worked as a nurse.

He said Kevin Brainard was known in Otsego and Plainwell for volunteering. He ran a mock drunk driving accident at Plainwell High School several years ago, meant to illustrate the perils of drunk driving. He’d been an assistant soccer coach and worked on charitable programs for the fire department.

“I’ve know him since I’ve been here and longer, since he went through the police academy in Kalamazoo that I taught at,” he said. “It seems like he shouldn’t be known just as a murderer when he did all the volunteering and things, but that’s what happened.”

Otsego police are awaiting autopsy results.The regular meeting of the Otsego City Commission began Monday, Nov. 5, with a moment of silence for the families. “They both served the community for a number of years,” said Otsego Mayor Joel Thompson. “It’s a horrific and tragic loss.”

The commission asked for prayers to the families.

Intern Elizabeth LaDuke contributed to this story.














Ex-husband tells of warning in murder-suicide
November 6, 2007 - 5:23PM
http://www.wwmt.com/news/police_1344621___article.html/pam_straub.html

OTSEGO (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Sunday night Pam Brainard was shot to death in her Otsego home. It appears her husband Kevin, a Plainwell Public Safety officer, shot her and then turned the gun on himself.

Tuesday we have new information about the final days of Pam Brainard's life.

"She called me on her cell phone," said Ed Straub. It was only the second time Straub had heard from his ex-wife since their divorce. "I was a little bit surprised." That surprise quickly turned to fear.

In a voicemail Pam said she was leaving her current husband, Kevin Brainard.

"I called her back and stated she shouldn't be calling me, she should fear for her life because he's going to find out about that phone call," said Straub.

Then last Friday Ed was so scared for his safety and Pam's, he decided to tell police in Plainwell.

He met with the chief before Kevin arrived for his night shift. "The Chief of Police stated he wouldn't want anyone on his force that could act like this and he was going to check into it with what he could," said Straub.

But Ed didn't have formal evidence of a threat or a police report. He knew the police didn't have much to go on.

Then Sunday night the 911 calls started coming in. It was already too late. Those deaths stunned Kevin Brainard's boss. The Police Chief told us he had no idea this was possible.

"We're all in that, wondering what happened, what we missed, where could we help," said Chief Bill Bomar.

Tuesday we asked him about that meeting with Pam's ex-husband. He told us off-camera it was a private conversation, not a police report.

Even Ed Straub seemed to know he'd have trouble getting anyone to believe him. "You got an ex-husband coming and blaming a police officer for these type of things and accusing him and saying he's going to do this kind of thing, me coming in off the street, that's a tough thing to believe," said Straub.

Otsego Police should know more about the exact sequence of events inside the home in the next few days. That's when they'll get autopsy results for Kevin and Pam.

Video link: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1111405973/bclid1137706675/bctid1293608712













Victim's loved ones feared husband's eruption
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
By John Tunison
The Grand Rapids Press
http://www.mlive.com/grandrapids/stories/index.ssf?/base/news39/1194355504292440.xml&coll=6&thispage=3

OTSEGO -- Jennifer Drake wonders whether her sister, Pam Brainard, ever heard a message she left, warning the Otsego woman to get out of her house. Kevin Brainard, a Plainwell police officer and an Otsego firefighter, left emotional and foreboding messages on Drake's phone Sunday, apparently after he learned Pam intended to divorce him.

"He said he couldn't be a failure, and that he wasn't going to be a failure by letting Pam leave him," Drake said Monday. "He thought he loved her so much that he couldn't stand to see her go. I don't see the sense in that, but how do you make sense of this? "I told her (in a message) Kevin didn't sound right and that I loved her and I hoped that she would leave. I don't know if she got it or not. I hope she did."

Police say Kevin Brainard shot and killed his wife of 14 months before turning his gun on himself.

Authorities located the couple about 10 p.m. Sunday. Pam Brainard, 33, was dead, and Kevin Brainard critically wounded. He died later at a hospital. Their 2-year-old daughter, Kayla, whom Pam called "little ladybug," was inside the house and not injured.

Pam Brainard's 15-year-old son from a previous relationship, Kyle, was not home. The apparent murder-suicide stunned the small communities of Otsego and Plainwell, particularly the neighbors near the Brookside Drive home the Brainards bought before they were married.

"Like everyone says, it's a shock," said Don DuBois, who lives across the street. "It's just so tragic."

Friends of Pam Brainard said the nurse had come to dread her husband. "She felt really trapped," said a close friend, Rich Kremmel.

When he learned Monday that Pam Brainard was dead, Kremmel said he knew it was no accident. "I knew he killed her. He tried to control everything she did," Kremmel said. "When he thought he was going to lose her, he offed her."

The slain woman's sister said Kevin Brainard, 31, knew how hard he could emotionally push his wife without breaking the law.

He never physically assaulted her, Drake said, but the pain inflicted through constant monitoring of her actions, reviewing her purchases and her interaction with others distressed her sister. "You could feel her stress every time," Drake said. "She wasn't free of him, ever."

Officers on the small police forces in the two communities tried to cope with the deaths Monday. Kevin Brainard was a seven-year Plainwell officer. He served on the Otsego Fire Department for 12 years and was an assistant soccer coach at Otsego High School.

"This is so much out of character," said Otsego Police Chief Gordon Konkle, who said the Brainard's home has no history of domestic violence calls. "(Kevin) is very well-known in the community and well-liked."

Friends of Pam Brainard believe she was hesitant to call police about any domestic problems for fear it might be swept under the rug.

But Konkle said such allegations are meritless. Police always take domestic violence seriously, no matter who the offender. "It's just not tolerated anymore," he said. "We would not cover it up."

Drake said her sister did not want to threaten her husband's job with complaints about emotional abuse. "She just wanted out," Drake said.

Friends described Pam Brainard as a nurse who cared about her patients. A leader at an Allegan County organization to help survivors of domestic violence said the murder-suicide shows that even people skilled in handling domestic disputes, such as a police officer, can fail to address problems in their own home.

"It's different when it's in your own life. When it's happening in your home or family, it's a whole different situation," said Shelly Lorbeck-Dietz, director of Sylvia's Place.

Lorbeck-Dietz said Kevin Brainard probably did not get help when he needed it, such as counseling, out of a sense of shame that can develop when personal problems arise for people in high-profile jobs.

"When you are in a high-profile profession like that, you feel like you're supposed to always know what to do," she said.

Lorbeck-Dietz said the most treacherous time in any potentially abusive relationship is when one side announces he or she is leaving. "Typically, when they do choose to end the relationship, it is the most dangerous time. That's when there is no more control. And it's all about control," she said.

Kevin Brainard's family declined to comment.

In addition to her sister and children, Pam Brainard is survived by her parents, David and Debra Auckerman, and her brother, David Auckerman II.
-- Press staff writer Nate Reens contributed to this story.














Video of 911 call
Wood TV
November 06, 2007 15:43
http://video.woodtv.com/?video_id=9111






Urgency in officer murder-suicide 911 call
Posted: Nov 6, 2007 03:43 PM CST
Updated: Nov 7, 2007 08:20 AM CST
By PATRICK CENTER
http://www.woodtv.com/global/story.asp?s=7320714&ClientType=Printable

OTSEGO -- The 911 call from a family member who discovered the bodies of Kevin Brainard and his wife, Pam, in their home Sunday night were released to the public.

Police are still trying to piece together what prompted the officer to kill his wife then himself.

Kevin father, Roger Brainard, went to the house after Kevin apparently called his mother. In the call, Roger Brainard, is heard telling dispatchers what he saw:

--Roger Brainard: "Kevin Brainard.

--"Dispatcher: "Okay."

-- Roger Brainard: "All right.

--"Dispatcher: "The Officer Brainard?"

-- Roger Brainard: "Yes, Sir. It's him. Correct. Could you get the (deleted) over here."

--Dispatcher: "Sir, listen to me. We've got (inaudible) on the way already."

-- Roger Brainard: "Ah, man. I appreciate the (deleted) out of that."

--Dispatcher: "OK."

--Roger Brainard: "It doesn't look like they're breathing. So, I'm shaking like a son-of-a-bitch."

--Dispatcher: "Who found him?"

-- Roger Brainard: "I did, sir. I found him and his wife."

--Dispatcher: "Where is his wife?"

-- Roger Brainard: "Upstairs with him God ---- it, we need."

--Dispatcher: (Inaudible)

-- Roger Brainard: "She's laying there. It looks like she's dead."

Both Pam and Kevin Brainard were dead.Jennifer Drake, Pam's sister, said Pam was concerned for her safety when she decided to leave Kevin Brainard. But she didn't think police would take her concerns seriously.

"She knew once she made a report on him that he would lose, he could lose his job," Drake told 24 Hour News 8. "His whole career could be over with."

But Chief Bill Bomar said if a report had been filed, his department would follow the law and investigate. If the claim was substantiated, the case would be turned over to another jurisdiction, in most cases the Michigan State Police.

If an officer is found guilty, the department could suspend him and require counseling, plus whatever the court ruled.A police psychologist told 24 Hour News 8 that under Title 18, an officer found guilty of domestic violence must turn over their sidearm.

In other words, no gun, no job.









Victim's sister left warning
Published: Tuesday, November 06, 2007, 10:10 AM
Updated: Tuesday, November 06, 2007, 10:13 AM
By Rex Hall Jr.
The Kalamazoo Gazette
http://blog.mlive.com/kzgazette/2007/11/victims_sister_left_warning.html

OTSEGO -- Jennifer Drake wonders whether her sister, Pam Brainard, ever heard a message she left, warning the Otsego woman to get out of her house.

Kevin Brainard, a Plainwell police officer and Otsego firefighter, left emotional and foreboding messages on Drake's phone Sunday, she said, apparently after he learned Pam intended to divorce him.

"He said he couldn't be a failure, and that he wasn't going to be a failure by letting Pam leave him," Drake said Monday. "He thought he loved her so much that he couldn't stand to see her go. I don't see the sense in that, but how do you make sense of this?

"I told her (in a message) Kevin didn't sound right and that I loved her and I hoped that she would leave. I don't know if she got it or not. I hope she did."

Police say Kevin Brainard shot and killed his wife of 14 months before turning his gun on himself. Authorities located the couple about 10 p.m. Sunday. Pam Brainard, 33, was dead, and Kevin Brainard critically wounded. He died later at a hospital.

Their 2-year-old daughter, Kayla, whom Pam called "little ladybug," was inside the house and not injured. Pam Brainard's 15-year-old son from a previous relationship, Kyle, was not home.

On Tuesday, on Gentiva Health Services on Portage Road in Kalamazoo, where Pam Brainard had worked as a nurse for the last four years, her co-workers were struggling to deal with their grief.

"She was a fabulous person, she was the sweetest person," said close friend Wendy Weststrate, director of clinical management for Gentiva. "She walked into the room and just lit the room up."

Brainard had accepted a new position with Gentiva just last Monday to manage its Mother Infant Health Program, a state initiative that assists low-income families.

Weststrate said Pam Brainard had told her that Kevin Brainard was controlling and abusive, going as far as tracking her bank transactions and cellular phone calls, and calling her 15 to 20 times a day. He sent her a bouquet of flowers to her work last week with a card that read, "Our love will last as long as these flowers," according to Weststrate.

"He decided if he couldn't have her, no one could have her," Weststrate said of Kevin Brainard.

The slain woman's sister said Kevin Brainard, 31, knew how hard he could emotionally push his wife without breaking the law.

He never physically assaulted her, Drake said, but the pain inflicted through constant monitoring of her actions, reviewing her purchases and her interaction with others distressed her sister. "She wasn't free of him, ever," Drake said.

Kevin Brainard was a seven-year Plainwell officer. He served on the Otsego Fire Department for 12 years and was an assistant soccer coach at Otsego High School.

"This is so much out of character," said Otsego Police Chief Gordon Konkle, who said the Brainard's home has no history of domestic violence calls. "(Kevin) is very well-known in the community and well-liked."

Friends of Pam Brainard believe she was hesitant to call police about any domestic problems for fear it might be swept under the rug. But Konkle said such allegations are meritless. Police always take domestic violence seriously, no matter who the offender.

"It's just not tolerated anymore," Konkle said. "We would not cover it up."

Kevin Brainard's family declined to comment.

In addition to her sister and children, Pam Brainard is survived by her parents, David and Debra Auckerman, and her brother, David Auckerman II.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 






Emotional messages left before deaths
Published: Tuesday, November 06, 2007, 6:37 AM
Updated: Tuesday, November 06, 2007, 7:21 AM
By John Tunison
The Grand Rapids Press
http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2007/11/emotional_messages_left_before.html



Pam Aukerman Brainard. Courtesy/WOOD-TV








The home of Kevin and Pam Brainard on Brookside Drive in Otsego. Press Photo/John Tunison.


OTSEGO -- Jennifer Drake wonders whether her sister, Pam Brainard, ever heard a message she left, warning the Otsego woman to get out of her house.


Kevin Brainard, a Plainwell police officer and an Otsego firefighter, left emotional and foreboding messages on Drake's phone Sunday, apparently after he learned Pam intended to divorce him.

"He said he couldn't be a failure and that he wasn't going to be a failure by letting Pam leave him," Drake said Monday. "He thought he loved her so much that he couldn't stand to see her go. I don't see the sense in that, but how do you make sense of this?

"I told her (in a message) Kevin didn't sound right and that I loved her and I hoped that she would leave. I don't know if she got it or not. I hope she did."

Police say Kevin Brainard shot and killed his wife of 14 months before turning his gun on himself. Authorities located the couple about 10 p.m. Sunday. Pam Brainard, 33, was dead, and Kevin Brainard critically wounded. He died later at a hospital.

Their 2-year-old daughter, Kayla, who Pam called "little ladybug," was inside the house and not injured. Pam Brainard's 15-year-old son from a previous relationship, Kyle, was not home.

The apparent murder-suicide stunned the small communities of Otsego and Plainwell, particularly the neighbors near the Brookside Drive home the Brainards bought before they were married.

"Like everyone says, it's a shock," said Don DuBois, who lives across the street. "It's just so tragic."

Friends of Pam Brainard said the nurse had come to dread her husband.

"She felt really trapped," said a close friend, Rich Kremmel.

So when he learned Monday that Pam Brainard was dead, he knew it was no accident.

"I knew he killed her. He tried to control everything she did," Kremmel said. "When he thought he was going to lose her, he offed her."

The slain woman's sister said Kevin Brainard, 31, knew how hard he could emotionally push his wife without breaking the law.

He never physically assaulted her, Drake said, but the pain inflicted through constant monitoring of her actions, reviewing her purchases and her interaction with others distressed her sister.

"You could feel her stress every time," Drake said. "She wasn't free of him, ever."

Officers on the small police forces in the two communities tried to cope with the deaths Monday. Kevin Brainard was a seven-year Plainwell officer. He served on the Otsego Fire Department for 12 years and was an assistant soccer coach at Otsego High School.

"This is so much out of character," said Otsego Police Chief Gordon Konkle, who said the Brainard's home has no history of domestic violence calls. "(Kevin) is very well-known in the community and well-liked."

Friends of Pam Brainard believe she was hesitant to call police about any domestic problems for fear it might be swept under the rug. But Konkle said such allegations are meritless. Police always take domestic violence seriously, no matter who the offender.

"It's just not tolerated anymore," he said. "We would not cover it up."

Drake said her sister did not want to threaten her husband's job with complaints about emotional abuse.

"She just wanted out," Drake said.

Friends described Pam Brainard as a nurse who cared about her patients. A leader at an Allegan County organization to help survivors of domestic violence said the murder-suicide shows that even people skilled in handling domestic disputes, such as a police officer, can fail to address problems in their own home.

"It's different when it's in your own life. When it's happening in your home or family, it's a whole different situation," said Shelly Lorbeck-Dietz, director of Sylvia's Place.

Lorbeck-Dietz said Kevin Brainard probably did not get help when he needed it, such as counseling, out of a sense of shame that can develop when personal problems arise for people in high-profile jobs.

"When you are in a high-profile profession like that, you feel like you're supposed to always know what to do," she said.

Lorbeck-Dietz said the most treacherous time in any potentially abusive relationship is when one side announces he or she is leaving.

"Typically, when they do choose to end the relationship, it is the most dangerous time. That's when there is no more control. And it's all about control," she said.

Kevin Brainard's family declined to comment.

In addition to her sister and children, Pam Brainard is survived by her parents, David and Debra Auckerman, and her brother, David Auckerman II.










Update: Abuse allegations in murder-suicide
Posted by llupo
November 05, 2007 22:33PM
http://blog.mlive.com/chronicle/2007/11/abuse_allegations_in_plainwell.html


Officer Kevin Brainard [Plainwell PD]

OTSEGO -- A 31-year-old woman slain by her husband, a Plainwell police officer, told him she planned to leave him before he allegedly shot her and then himself in a murder-suicide, friends of the woman say.

"He tried to control everything she did," said Rich Klemmer, a friend of Pam Brainard. "When he thought he was going to lose her, he offed her."

Klemmer, who knew Brainard as a caring nurse who worked in Kalamazoo, left a bouquet of flowers on the Brainards' front porch this afternoon and briefly prayed.

Police believe Kevin Brainard, a seven-year officer with the Plainwell Public Safety Department and an Otsego firefighter, first shot his wife and then himself sometime Sunday night. She was discovered dead at their Brookside Drive home, while Kevin Brainard died later at the hospital.

The couple's 2-year-old daughter, Kayla, was in the home during the shootings but was not harmed.

Family and friends of Pam Brainard said she was in an emotionally abusive relationship, but was hesitant to go to police because her husband was an officer.But Otsego Police Chief Gordon Konkle said police would have taken any complaint seriously. "Nothing was ever reported," he said. "(Domestic violence) is just not tolerated any more. We would not cover it up."









Updated: Nov 5, 2007 08:10 PM CST
By JOE LaFURGEY
WOOD TV News
http://www.woodtv.com/global/story.asp?s=7311294&ClientType=Printable

OTSEGO -- Jennifer Drake remembers the last calls from and to the home on Brookeside Drive in Otsego Sunday Night.

One, a voice mail message from her brother-in-law, Kevin Brainard, followed by a call she made.

"I told her, I said, 'Pam, you've got to get out of the house. He's calling, leaving us messages. He doesn't sound good,'" Drake told 24 Hour News 8. "'Get out of the house!'"

Within that same hour, Pam Brainard, a nurse and mother of two, was dead. Police believe Kevin Brainard, a Plainwell police officer and firefighter, shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself.

The couple's 2-year-old daughter was in the home, but not injured.

"I knew how bad things are getting for her, but I really thought she was going to get out of there," Drake said.

Drake said her sister had just told Brainard she was filing for divorce. The two had been married about a year. But it was a tough year for Pam, according to her sister.

"He played mind games with her," Drake said. "I mean, her phone would be filled with 100 calls a day by him. Her receipts were checked. I mean, every little thing of hers was under a microscope with him.

"But Pam Brainard never contacted police. Her sister said she knew it could ruin his career, and she wasn't convinced she'd get anywhere with a complaint.

Drake said, "She didn't feel comfortable because of him being a police officer in that town."

But Otsego's police chief said police officers are held to higher standards.

"I think there's a lot of pain now. There's a lot of pain. She's upset," said Chief Gordon Konkle. "Hopefully she doesn't really believe that."

Kevin Brainard's boss, Plainwell Director of Public Safety Bill Bomar, said Brainard was a good officer who received commendations for traffic enforcement including drunk driving.

Brainard, like other officers in the department, went through a psychiatric evaluation before being hired.













Abuse allegations in Plainwell murder-suicide
Posted by mholland
November 05, 2007 17:50PM
http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2007/11/abuse_allegations_in_plainwell.html

OTSEGO -- A 31-year-old woman slain by her husband, a Plainwell police officer, told him she planned to leave him before he allegedly shot her and then himself in a murder-suicide, friends of the woman say."He tried to control everything she did," said Rich Klemmer, a friend of Pam Brainard. "When he thought he was going to lose her, he offed her."

Klemmer, who knew Brainard as a caring nurse who worked in Kalamazoo, left a bouquet of flowers on the Brainards' front porch this afternoon and briefly prayed.

Police believe Kevin Brainard, a seven-year officer with the Plainwell Public Safety Department and an Otsego firefighter, first shot his wife and then himself sometime Sunday night. She was discovered dead at their Brookside Drive home, while Kevin Brainard died later at the hospital.

The couple's 2-year-old daughter, Kayla, was in the home during the shootings but was not harmed.

Family and friends of Pam Brainard said she was in an emotionally abusive relationship, but was hesitant to go to police because her husband was an officer.

But Otsego Police Chief Gordon Kunkle said police would have taken any complaint seriously."Nothing was ever reported," he said. "(Domestic violence) is just not tolerated any more. We would not cover it up."











Murder-suicide in southwest Michigan
WNDU News. Channel 16/South Bend, Indiana
Allegan County, MI
Posted: 5:32 PM Nov 5, 2007
Last Updated: 7:04 PM Nov 5, 2007

A Michigan police officer and his wife are dead and authorities say the deaths are a result of a murder suicide.

Police were called to a home in Allegan County in southwestern Michigan last night.

Authorities say a family member led them to the bodies of Pam and Kevin Brainard.

Both had been shot and authorities believe Kevin Brainard's injuries were self-inflicted.

Brainard had served as a public safety officer for the Plainwell police department for the last seven years.








Suspected murder-suicide under investigation
Posted: Monday, November 05, 2007 at 4:09 p.m
WPBN-WTOM TV 7 and 4
http://www.tv7-4.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=62477

Traverse City, MI (AP) -- A police officer and his wife are dead and authorities say it looks like a murder-suicide. Officers were called to this home in Allegan County Sunday night. Police say Pam and Kevin Brainard had both been shot. Authorities believe Kevin shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself. Brainard had served as a public safety officer for the Plainwell Police Department for the last seven years.











Plainwell puzzled by murder-suicide
Posted by mholland
November 05, 2007 12:56PM
http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2007/11/plainwell_puzzled_by_murdersui.html

OTSEGO -- Plainwell police officers today are struggling to understand what may have prompted a seven-year officer on the force to kill his wife and then shoot himself late Sunday.

"We are at a loss when it comes to that," said Plainwell Public Safety Director Bill Bomar. "We don't know much about what his marital life was like."

After a relative called Otsego police, officers went to the home of Kevin and Pam Brainard, 707 Brookside Drive, and found Pam Brainard, 33, dead of gunshot wounds. Kevin Brainard also was in the house, critically wounded from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

He later died at Borgess-Pipp Hospital.

Court records show the Brainards were married Sept. 16, 2006, in Plainwell and bought the Brookside Drive house in 2005.Bomar described Kevin Brainard as a "very good officer" and said he was active in the community as an assistant soccer coach at Otsego High School.

"Soccer and firefighting were his passions," Bomar said. The next-door neighbor of the Brainards said the couple has a 2-year-old daughter. The neighbor, Patricia Finnegan, did not know whether the daughter was home when the shootings occurred.

Finnegan said the Brainards seemed like a normal couple and had made many improvements to their house." They put a lot of work into the house. They put new windows in and added a sunroom," she said, describing them as "very nice."

She was not aware of any domestic problems in the family and wonders what might have prompted the shooting.

"Everybody is asking that, but nobody has answers," she said.

Meanwhile, the Plainwell Police Department has brought grief counselors to help other officers cope with the deaths.










Presumed murder-suicide involved Plainwell police officer
Posted by efinnert
November 05, 2007 11:55AM
http://blog.mlive.com/kzgazette/2007/11/presumed_murdersuicide_involve.html

OTSEGO -- Autopsies were to be performed Monday on a Plainwell public-safety officer and his wife found shot in an apparent murder-suicide Sunday night.

A family member called police after discovering the bodies of Kevin and Pam Brainard in their home in the 700 block of Brookside Drive at 10 p.m., police said. It appeared that Kevin Brainard, 31, shot his wife, who was dead when police arrived, and then turned the gun on himself, according to the Otsego Police Department.

Kevin Brainard was pronounced dead a short time after reaching the Borgess-Pipp Hospital emergency room, said Otsego Police Chief Gordon Konkle.

Konkle said Monday morning that it wasn't clear what led to the presumed murder-suicide."Obviously, it appears to be a domestic situation," he said. "We are trying to backtrack with friends and relatives."

Autopsies were to be performed Monday at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.

Konkle said Kevin Brainard was with the Plainwell Department of Public Safety for about seven years and was a volunteer firefighter in Otsego for perhaps 10 years. He grew up in Otsego.

"It's a small town. He's well-known ... with his job in the fire department and Plainwell," Konkle said. "This was a shock and a tragedy."










Plainwell Officer, Wife Die In Apparent Murder-Suicide
POSTED: 11:19 am EST November 5, 2007
UPDATED: 12:03 pm EST November 5, 2007
http://www.wnem.com/news/14512767/detail.html

SAGINAW, Mich. -- A public safety officer and his wife are dead in an apparent murder-suicide in Allegan County.

Police said Kevin and Pam Brainard were found with gunshot wounds at their Otsego home about 15 miles north of Kalamazoo.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene while her husband died later in a hospital emergency room.

WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids is reporting that Kevin Brainard was a public safety officer in Plainwell for about seven years.

Plainwell is just east of Otsego.











Police: Plainwell officer, wife die in apparent murder-suicide
11/5/2007, 10:49 a.m. ET
The Associated Press
http://www.mlive.com/ap/stories/index.ssf?/base/news48/11942780609490.xml&storylist=topstories

OTSEGO, Mich. (AP) — A public safety officer and his wife are dead in an apparent murder-suicide in Allegan County.

Police say Kevin and Pam Brainard were found with gunshot wounds at their Otsego home about 15 miles north of Kalamazoo.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene while her husband died later in a hospital emergency room.WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids is reporting that Kevin Brainard was a public safety officer in Plainwell for about seven years.

Plainwell is just east of Otsego.













Plainwell cop involved in Allegan murder/suicide
Bob Brenzing
Created: 11/5/2007 10:37:16 AM
Updated: 11/5/2007 1:53:48 PM
http://www.wzzm13.com/printfullstory.aspx?storyid=83204

Otsego - The Otsego City Police Department and the Allegan County Sheriff are investigating a murder-suicide which involved a Plainwell police officer.

Responding officers found Pam Brainard dead from an apparent gunshot wound. Kevin Brainard was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was transported to Borgess-Pipp Hospital where he later died.

Kevin Brainard was an officer with the Plainwell Police Department.

Officers responded to a call at a home in the 700 block of Brookside in the city of Otsego around 10 p.m. Sunday. We'll have more information on this story as soon as it becomes available.










Plainwell cop shoots wife, then himself
Posted by jbarnes
November 05, 2007 10:01AM
MLive
http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2007/11/husband_shoots_wife_kills_self.html

Plainwell Police Officer Kevin Brainard


OTSEGO -- A man who fatally shot his wife late Sunday, then himself, was a Plainwell police officer.Police responded to a home in the 700 block of Brookside Drive about 10 p.m. Sunday and found the body of Pam Brainard, 33, and her critically wounded husband, Kevin Brainard, 31.

Kevin Brainard has worked for the Plainwell Police Department for several years and, according to the Plainwell Police Department Web site, patrolled the city's west district as part of the city's community policing program.

When police arrived at the home, Pam Brainard was dead of gunshot wounds while Kevin Brainard died later at a local hospital of a self-inflicted wound.











Police suspect murder-suicide in Otsego
Posted by efinnert
November 05, 2007 09:12AM
Gazette Staff Reports
http://blog.mlive.com/kzgazette/2007/11/police_suspect_murdersuicide_i.html

OTSEGO -- An Otsego couple found shot Sunday appears to be a case of murder-suicide, police said.Officers responding to a call in the 700 block of Brookside Drive in Otsego around 10 p.m. were directed by a family member to the bodies of Kevin and Pam Brainard, both of whom had gunshot wounds, according to an Otsego Police Department news release.

Pam Brainard was pronounced dead at the scene, while Kevin Brainard died in a hospital emergency room from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the news release said.Anyone with information is asked to contact the Otsego Police Department at (269) 692-6111.










Public Safety officer involved in apparent murder suicide
November 5, 2007 - 7:28AM
WWMT TV News
http://www.wwmt.com/news/brainard_1344567___article.html/police_otsego.html

PLAINWELL (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Police tell us Kevin Brainard, a Plainwell Public Safety officer and volunteer fire-fighter, killed his wife Pam and then ended his own life. It was around ten Sunday night when police were called to the home. It was one of Kevin Brainard's family members who reported a problem.

When investigators made their way inside, they found Pam and Kevin.

People that knew the couple tell us they'd been married for a little over a year. Neighbors on Brookside tell us they had never heard arguing and never had known anything was wrong.

Police found Pam Brainard dead at the couple's Otsego home. They also found Kevin Brainard. He'd been shot, and later died at the emergency room. Investigators are trying to determine what happened in their home that lead to this fatal conclusion.

There is mixed reaction in Allegan County. For many it is the surprise of a lifetime. A mother and father, husband and wife, public safety officer and registered nurse, torn from a small town.

Kevin Brainard, the man police say killed his wife then turned the gun on himself. But why? Why would a man who swore to protect citizens, emotionally cave to murder and suicide?

"You'd never expect this from him or his family and you don't expect this in a town like this,” said Chief Gordan Konkle of the Otsego Police Department.

"He was very verbally abusive and controlling," said one of Pam's best friends. She thinks Kevin snapped. She asked to remain anonymous, painting one nasty picture of her friend's husband. Someone she says Pam threatened to leave last week.

"She couldn't feel comfortable going to the cops because they believed he's one of their own and they were gonna take his side,” said the friend.

But her description of a domestic danger doesn't match the public's perception of Officer Brainard.

There is not a single blemish on his career as a public safety officer or volunteer firefighter.

You'd expect this is a safe place but it just goes to show tragedies like this happen, domestic violence and other issues that come up,” said Chief Konkle.

Chief Konkle worked with Kevin for a number of years as he was a volunteer firefighter in his department. He calls this case very personal and very sensitive for that reason. Autopsies are being performed in Lansing Monday. Police continue to investigate the shootings. If you have information that can help police call them at 269-692-6111.











Police say couple's death may be murder-suicide
Monday, November 05, 2007
Gazette News Service
http://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo/stories/index.ssf?/base/news-26/1194278717321140.xml&coll=7

OTSEGO -- An Otsego couple found shot Sunday appears to be a case of murder-suicide, police said.

Officers responding to a call in the 700 block of Brookside Drive in Otsego around 10p.m. were directed by a family member to the bodies of Kevin and Pam Brainard, both of whom had gunshot wounds, according to an Otsego Police Department news release.

Pam Brainard was pronounced dead at the scene, while Kevin Brainard died in a hospital emergency room from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the news release said. He'd been a Plainwell police officer for about seven years.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Otsego Police Department at (269) 692-6111.





Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence

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