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Longtime friends remember man found near Grand River

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Posted at 11:44 PM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-06 23:47:16-05

TALLMADGE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The man found dead in Tallmadge Township is being called someone who was "loved by many," who also cared about others.

James Earl Robertson, who went by Earl, was found on Wednesday in an open area in Ottawa County.

"It's hard because we had a bond no one could break," said longtime friend, Carolyn Stewart. She first met Robertson when she was 13 and remained friends throughout their nearly 40 years of knowing each other.

"It didn't matter what he was doing. It didn't matter," said Stewart. "He always checked on me. He always wanted to make sure that I was okay."

Stewart spoke to Robertson the morning before he went missing on November 25th. Two days later, his family filed a police report.

Stewart, family, and friends searched for Robertson, but could never find him. Stewart says she told police that Robertson had a GPS locator on his car. Friends say it was then shortly recovered at Huff Park off of Ball Street in Grand Rapids. His glasses were inside.

"The frames were bent, so I knew something was terribly wrong" said Stewart. Based on information from Grand Rapids Police, detectives searched the open area in Ottawa County and discovered Robertson's body.

Though Robertson did have a criminal history, his friends and family do not want that overshadowing his life and memory.

"Mild mannered, even tempered, never really saw him lose his temper at all," said Commissioner Robert Womack, as he described his lifetime friend.

The Grand Rapids Police Department has arrested one person in relation to Robertson's death. His name has not been released, but he is expected to be in court on Friday.

"When a homicide occurs, we put as many resources as possible into solving that crime," said Sgt. Wittkowski with the Grand Rapids Police Department.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral costs. You can click here if you would like to donate.