BYRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Six weeks after retired Pastor Dale Cross Sr. died from a gunshot to the head along a southern Kent County road, the mystery surrounding his death has grown deeper. A search-warrant affidavit reveals investigators found the wound path to be “suspicious”.
The 66-year-old Cross – who once pastored at Abundant Life Church of God in Byron Center – was found dead next to his GMC Envoy by a passerby on August 6th, in the 1400 block of 68th Street, east of Burlingame Avenue.
FOX 17 has obtained a copy of the search-warrant affidavit that was issued by a Kent County District judge so detectives could check records from two of Cross’s cellular devices found at the scene: an Apple iPhone and a ZTE SmartPhone. The affidavit says the county sheriff’s Dispatch Center received a 911 call from a witness at 5:56 p.m. that day, who said she saw a man lying along the road with a handgun next to him. The affidavit indicates police initially investigated the incident as a “possible completed suicide”.
But family members were skeptical about that, citing the family’s religious beliefs – and suicide “would also void the insurance policy” Cross carried. Police checked Cross’s phone records to see if he had researched anything about suicide or left a note. And they asked for the public’s help in trying to figure out exactly what happened. And now, the affidavit findings are raising at least some doubts about it having been a suicide:
“The entry wound was identified as being on the top, left side of the victim’s head, and the exit wound was located below the right ear, near the neck. This wound path was found to be suspicious, as the victim is known to be right-handed, and carried the pistol on his right waistband.”
According to the affidavit, the sheriff deputy’s report indicated a “black revolver was located in the grass near the victim’s left arm.” The report said the gun had been properly registered to him in March 2013.
And another witness who pulled up on the scene tried to find a pulse on Cross, “and pulled out the victim’s left hand, which was underneath his head.”
Cross’s wife told police that Dale had left their home at 5 p.m. and was headed to Menards to return an item, and planned to stop at a gas station before immediately returning home. When he didn’t arrive home, she “became concerned and began calling her husband, who did not answer. She then called her son and asked him to drive her around, thinking he might have been involved in an accident.”
Police are still looking for a man and a woman who may’ve been at the crime scene – but they’re not being described as suspects. The man is white, about 5-feet-5 inches tall, around 30 years old with a thin build. And the woman is white, with long dark hair. Police say they may’ve been in a white or light gray regular-cab smaller truck, with a red or maroon hood.
Anyone with more information about the case should call the Kent County Sheriff’s Office at 616-632-6357 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.