by Elizabeth Wehman, editor
THIS WHITE VEHICLE parked in the southeast portion of the Caledonia Township Walmart store parking lot was found at 5:24 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27 containing the bodies of two adult males. First on the scene was the Michigan State Police who began a thorough and quick investigation, apprehending the suspects just over 24 hours later in Grand Rapids. (Independent Photo/Elizabeth Wehman)
Media outlets from around mid-Michigan swarmed to the Owosso Walmart store in Caledonia Township on Friday evening, Jan. 27 for what police departments immediately called a double homicide. Upon arriving at the scene, a section of the southeast corner of the Walmart parking lot was taped off as investigators began searching for clues as to why two male individuals were found dead in a car sitting in the lot. Most Walmart employees park in this designated area and for even a few of them, the scene was blocked off and they were unable to get to or leave work in their personal vehicles because of the crime scene.
The first to arrive on the scene was the Michigan State Police who quickly took charge of the investigation. Right behind that first available police car on the scene to participate in the investigation were Shiawassee County Sheriff Brian BeGole, and Owosso and Corunna Police Departments. Specifics were unclear and not revealed for nearly two hours after the discovery of the bodies. Around 8:30 p.m., an Investigation Lab vehicle from Michigan State Police arrived from Lansing and soon photos were being taken and clues revealed as to how this double homicide had taken place. At that time, MSP told the media, “We will be transporting the vehicle with the men inside to a remote location to further conduct the investigation.” The only information given, at that time, was that it was two males in the vehicle and they were both deceased.
Events like this are rare in Shiawassee County. The most recent murder investigation involved a son who murdered his father in Woodhull Township in March of 2015. The last double homicide taking place in the county in 2009 with the murder of Jim Pouillon and Mike Fuoss. Nothing seems to shake residents more than to find an unsolved and hard to understand event taking place in areas where they shop and are familiar with, sometimes on a daily basis.
Soon the names of the victims were released as 31-year-old Joseph Michael Carson and 39-year-old Anthony Lee Hammond. Rumors quickly circulated that it appeared to have been an online sale deal gone bad.
Sunday morning arrived to news that suspects had been arrested in the murder. Working tirelessly, non-stop, Michigan State Police apprehended two males in connection with the crime in Grand Rapids. The victims had been trying to sell marijuana to the suspects, but instead of making the illegal exchange, the suspects shot and killed the Flint men as well as robbing them. The deal to sell and exchange was made on Craigslist.
“We’re happy that the investigation went well and the people who were responsible were apprehended quickly,” commented Shiawassee Sheriff Brian BeGole.
Arraignments for the suspects were held on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 10 a.m.