“He dumped her body into the river”: Man charged in elderly mother’s death

Posted at 4:29 PM, Jan 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-08 16:35:21-05

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. – A Coopersville man faces open murder and lying to police charges in the death of his elderly mother. During his preliminary hearing Thursday, chilling testimony shed light on a possible motive.

Michael Roersma, 50, first lied to police and said he knew nothing of his mother’s death, 72-year-old Sharon Roersma.

Ottawa County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Tamminga shared Michael Roersma’s confession in court.

​”(Roersma said) he was there when his mom had died and that he was the one that dumped her body in the river,” said Tamminga.

Police said Roersma told them that Sept. 29 was the last time he saw his mother, after she was beaten to death in her own home.

“(Roersma said) when he opened up the rear passenger door her body fell out of the car and he then proceeded to roll her body down into the river and as he watched her float away he said a prayer,” said Tamminga.

First Roersma’s sister, Cynthia Senna, took took the stand and said he alerted her with a voicemail.

“It said Cindy, this is your brother,” relayed Senna. “Mom didn’t come home last night. I’ve called the hospitals and police. I saw the news they said there’s a body in the river, call me.”

Then Coopersville Betten Baker Chevy Buick employee, Joe Estrada, said when Roersma tried to buy a car, he was denied a loan. According to the family’s Pastor Arnold VanBeek, of Coopersville Reformed Church, said Sharon felt bad, but she did not co-sign for her son’s car loan.

“She was concerned because she says am I being a good Christian mother by denying the request of her son to buy a vehicle,” said VanBeek.

“She says I’ve done this four or five times before and I end up making the payments. And she was upset because she says he’s using my car to go to work so I’m left without a vehicle and I can’t get my meds or my groceries and I’m stranded.”

When she died, detectives said Sharon recently filed for bankruptcy; she had $7 in her bank account.

“I said you’ve helped before,” said VanBeek. “I said you’re not being a bad mother. I says sometimes it’s difficult to say ‘no’ as a parent, but sometimes that’s what we have to do cause you’re just making him co-dependent.”

Roersma is bound over to circuit court for trial on charges of open murder and lying to police.

He will stay in jail with no bond, and his arraignment is set for Jan. 19.