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Neighbor ID's victim in Lake Odessa murder; says suspect is a 'monster'

Scene of homicide in Lake Odessa
Posted at 4:57 AM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-05 05:18:04-04

LAKE ODESSA, Mich. — We are learning more about the suspect and victim in the Lake Odessa homicide Monday night.

Police have charged Jesse James Thompson, 29, in connection the murder of a 47-year-old woman who police say was in a romantic relationship with the victim.

Sarah Perez Rock tells FOX 17 she has lived next door the the woman's mother for several years and identifies the victim who died in the incident as Tina Salas Schray.

"I heard a woman screaming, I was in my bedroom and I opened up my back door and realized it was coming from the front of the house. So I came running outside with my phone calling 911 and I realized it was my neighbor," she tells FOX 17.

Sarah says she believes Tina and Jesse were seeing each other for about a year.

"Something was odd about him, you know, he was just one of those types of people that you can just look at and know that something's not right with him, but no one ever thought that he would actually do this to her."

"All I can think of is her poor mom," she said.

Neighbors of the unit in the Lakewood mobile home park say they were shocked to hear of the killing.

Thompson was arraigned on 1 count of open murder in Ionia County District Court Tuesday afternoon. He was denied bond.

Chief Kendra Backing, with Lake Odessa police department, says the department has had very little prior contact with Thompson.

According to online court documents, Thompson has been charged with violent crimes before in other counties. In 2012 he pleaded guilty to charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and domestic violence.

Thompson is expected back in court later this month.

Chief Backing says there was at least one witness to the murder. She says officers were also able to locate some "security video" that assisted them in identifying and locating Thompson.