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‘I miss him everyday:’ Woman hoping for tips in brother’s hit-and-run death

Silent Observer highlighting cold case each day until 50th anniversary in late May.
Posted at 6:29 PM, Mar 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 18:33:08-04

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — When Michelle Emaus went through her brother Michael’s belongings, she was touched to find that he kept all the cards she and her daughters ever sent him.

“He was my brother. He was an uncle to my daughters. You know, so, it’s hard, it’s still hard. And I still get emotional,” Michelle said with tears in her eyes. “I miss him everyday. And I would just like to maybe make sense of what truly happened to him.”

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, on July 21, 2021, just before midnight, the 50-year-old was riding on a one-wheel motorized skateboard when he was struck by a vehicle on Cascade Road just north of 36th Street.

“There are lights on the one-wheels,” Michelle said during an interview with FOX 17 on Thursday morning. “So, I don’t understand, and I may never understand, how he came to be in the road and not seen having lights on it.”

When deputies arrived they found Michael unresponsive. He later died of his injuries.

Detectives immediately launched an investigation. She said no nearby houses nor a church had surveillance video.

“We know nothing about the vehicle. We know nothing about the driver,” she said. “To my knowledge, according to the officers I’ve spoken to, there have been no leads and no information that has come forward in regards to details.”

Michelle said the journey since his death as been a difficult one. He died just before his 51st birthday and a year after their father.

“We lost our dad of July 4th of 2020 to just a tragic drowning and Mike and I hadn’t yet settled my dad’s estate,” Michelle said. “Now, I’m responsible for overseeing both estates following his death.”

In late May, the Silent Observer will be marking their 50th anniversary, having solved numerous cold cases throughout the years. In honor of the milestone, they’re highlighting a different case each day from now until then.

Thursday was Emaus’ case. Michelle is hoping someone will see it and come forward.

“Somebody has to know something,” Michelle said. “At this point with the information that’s been out there, if someone did by chance think they had struck an animal, this may make them aware that there was actually a person who was hit and ended his life.”

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