Thursday, December 8, 2016

Already Gone Podcast - Janette Roberson and Sue Clason COLD CASES

I had an opportunity this week to speak with Nina Innsted on her Already Gone true crime broadcast. She focuses mainly on Michigan missing and unsolved homicide cases and we spent our time discussing the Janette Roberson and Sue Clason cold cases. If you are not familiar, click on their names and you will be directed to a page that gives you the backstory on each.

Click here to listen to our conversation: Already Gone Podcast

If you have any information on the murders of Janette Roberson or Sue Clason, please contact:

Detective Sgt. Mike Stephens 
Mt. Pleasant Post-Special Investigations Section 
Michigan State Police
Office: 989-773-5951

Janette Roberson
Sue Clason

Sue Clason drove a 1977 Lincoln like this one. 
Her car was driven back to Cadillac by the perpetrator that day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

UPDATE: Esther Gaffney homicide case

In an effort to leave no stone unturned and follow the evidence they’ve uncovered in the unsolved homicide case, Michigan State Police are spending the day diving bodies of water near the former home of Esther Gaffney. The then eighty-year-old Tustin widow was found by a family member on July 12, 2004. At the time, in preparation for a move, Mrs. Gaffney had been getting ready for an estate sale.

The perpetrator - apparently trying to hide evidence - set a fire that snuffed itself out before it could overtake the dwelling. This fact may prove unfortunate for the perpetrator, yet fortuitous for investigators who were able to obtain evidence at the scene that may have otherwise been consumed with the house and its contents.

According to investigators, there was no documented evidence of forced entry to the home. I asked Det. Sgt. Forner of the Michigan State Police if Mrs. Gaffney could have known the perpetrator (or perpetrators) and let them inside. He said that was a possibility.

I was told they do have persons of interest in this case.

The dive team was doing what they called a swing line search, meticulously covering an underwater grid while moving across the body of water a couple feet at a time, searching the mucky bottom by hand. They also had a team using a metal detector. According to investigators, they are looking for a weapon related to the crime that may have been disposed of near the scene.

If you have any information about the murder of Esther Gaffney, please contact the TIP LINE at 989-775-9302 or email Det. Sgt. John Forner at

A few items they found while I was there.

The former home of Esther Gaffney sits empty.


Monday, June 27, 2016


Reed City Michigan State Police Post

UPDATE:  If you're naturally curious like me, you may have noticed more activity than usual at the old State Police Post in Reed City, which was closed to walk-in business in 2011. That's because, as I learned recently, a cold case team quietly convened months ago and has been working behind the scenes on the unsolved homicide cases in our area. 

Reed City, we are in good hands.

Some of the same investigators who worked exhaustively to put a case together for the prosecutor in the Shannon Siders case are now looking at our longest unsolved cases, including that of Esther Gaffney, Janette Roberson, and Sue Clason

Old interviews are being combed over, new interviews are being done, and evidence that has been held for decades in some cases, is being resubmitted for analysis with technology that has thankfully travelled light years since the days when DNA testing was not regularly performed. 

If you're curious about human nature and why bad guys do the things they do, you've likely watched Dateline, or 20/20, or any number of true crime shows, and you understand that more often than not, this is how cold cases get solved. The tiniest speck of evidence that long ago would have gone unseen can now be subjected to testing which can provide volumes of information. 

As the old adage says, "Evidence doesn't lie, people do."

The team of cold case investigators is armed with years of experience and determined to bring resolution to each of these cases, but the best part about it is... they sound optimistic. If the successful conviction of Matthew and Paul Jones is any indication, there may well be some bad guys out there with serious cause for concern. 

“Many cold cases are solved because the passage of time allows reluctant and fearful witnesses the courage to come forward,” said Detective First Lieutenant Mike Anderson, Michigan State Police 6th District Special Investigation Section. “The investigative team would like to thank the Newaygo County community for telling the truth to bring justice for Shannon.”   ~Grand Rapids Legal News, May, 2015

I wrote in Redacted: A Search for Truth About the Murder of Janette Roberson  that if Janette's case were to be solved, it would be the people of this community who make that happen, and I still believe this to be true.

These crimes are old, most of them decades. Many of the people associated with Janette's case are much older now; some have passed away. If there is one thing I know for certain it's that you never want to take something to the grave that you should've left here, so if you know something, please say something. 

Police would rather get hundreds of tips that lead nowhere than miss a piece of the puzzle that never came in because you thought it was probably nothing.

It's never nothing, I promise you that. 

While I'm not an overly religious person, I know many in our community are, so I will also mention that prayers and positive vibes for the team working these cases won't be turned away, either.

Today's press release involves the unsolved homicide of Esther Gaffney:



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                6/27/16

ROCKFORD:  A task force of investigators from the Michigan State Police, in conjunction with Osceola County Prosecutor Tyler Thompson, is focusing on the 2004 homicide of Tustin resident Esther Gaffney.

Eighty year old Esther Gaffney lived alone at her residence on Tustin Rd., north of the Village of Tustin.  On July 12th, 2004, Esther was found deceased inside her home. An autopsy concluded that the manner of Esther’s death was homicide. 

For the past 12 years, detectives have continued to investigate the case following up on numerous tips.  Task force members are confident that advances in forensic science and information technology will generate new leads and aid investigators in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.

Cold cases are often solved because the passage of time allows witnesses and persons with information to come forward.  Investigators feel that there are persons with information that will be pertinent to this case.  Detectives are asking anyone with information regarding the homicide of Esther Gaffney to contact the cold case tip line of the Michigan State Police Mt. Pleasant Post at (989) 775-9302. 

D/F/Lt. Michael Anderson, Michigan State Police, 6th District Headquarters, (616)-866-6684
Lt. Gary Green, Michigan State Police, Mt. Pleasant Post, (989) 773-5951
D/Sgt. John Forner, Michigan State Police, 6th District Headquarters, (989) 775-9302         

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Richard Atwood PRESS RELEASE - Michigan State Police

Michigan State Police has just issued this Press Release asking for any information the public has regarding the 1983 homicide of Richard Atwood. Investigators believe there are persons with information that is pertinent to this crime. Last seen in White Cloud, MI on August 10, 1983. He and his vehicle - a brown 1975 Pontiac Trans Am - were reported missing on August 22, 1983. The car was later recovered in the Grand Rapids area in October of 1983.

If you or anyone you know has information regarding this case, please contact Det./Sgt. Scott Rios at

You can also call the Michigan State Police at this number: 231-873-2171 or leave a voicemail at 231-873-3584 ext. 222.

If you would prefer to call in an anonymous tip, contact The Silent Observer at 231-652-1121.