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Man found in Ottawa County park identified

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Posted at 3:33 PM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 16:11:18-05

TALLMADGE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Grand Rapids police have identified a man who had been missing until his body was found on Wednesday in an Ottawa County park.

James Earl Robertson, 51, was reported missing Nov. 25, leading to an investigation by the Grand Rapids Police Department.

On Wednesday, his body was found at the Grand River Open Space on Linden Drive in Tallmadge Township. An autopsy determined he died from multiple stab wounds.

Police have already arrested the suspect. Their name is being withheld until arraignment.

Grand Rapids Commissioner Robert Womack shared a lengthy post on Facebook thanking GRPD for their work on the case:

This is a picture of James Earl Robertson. I want to thank my sister as well as Earl's mother and all the community that has brought forth information to help the GRPD in this case. I want to thank the Grand Rapids Police Department for prioritizing this case and finding his body. It is a miracle that they found him after the killers did so much to cover their tracks. We need this community to continue to stand up and bring in more information so justice can be served. The code of silence has turned our community into the terror dome this year. It is time to take our neighborhood back. His car was left in the middle of Huff park for days. So children would have to unknowingly play at a park that was a potential crime scene as a dead man's car lay there. This is how crazy things are getting. They left his car at Huff park and disposed of the body on Ottawa County near Grand Valley State University where a student on anybody could have stumbled across his body. This is how disrespectful and stupid some criminals are. We would be just as stupid and disrespectful to sit back and let a code of silence allow our city to become a true death valley. My common law- brother in-law was not perfect but he was a good good man. He was with my sister on since they were 13 years old and she never complained to me one time about him being violent or abusive. They are now in their 50's. He always seemed to be loving and he was one of the few people that never asked me for a dime. He worked at one of my restaurants before and Earl could out cook the best of them. He was a good person and I will always love and miss him. He used to give me advice and talk me out of being violent when I lost my temper and I lost my temper a lot. He was even tempered but he was no coward and I had to listen to him because I knew he was giving me constructive criticism out of love. I used to give him advice too, I would say "leave them streets alone, all the way alone, like I did." To his mother and to his brothers and sisters and children, I love you all and with the help of God, we will bring you justice. To my sister Carolyn cry no more, they will be brought to justice. I have already forgiven these killers but they will spend the remainder of their lives in a 6x8 where they cannot harm anyone else. Me and Earl have worked at my old restaurant together, as young people we ran in the streets together and we have always had each other's back. When I became a commissioner he stopped talking to me about certain things. So as a Commissioner I know he would Never Ever let me know about any trouble he might be facing . I wish he would have told me, I would have did anything to save his life. Now all I can do is call in my favors from this community and this city. Break the code of silence and give his mother, his siblings, his children and my sister the justice they seek. If you are scared to call the police then continue to call us and we will not divulge your identity. We want anyone who takes any life to know in Kent County we intend to solve %100 of all murder cases. - Kent County Commissioner Robert S. Womack

Anyone who has information on Robertson’s death and disappearance is asked to call:

  • Sgt. Greg Griffin at 626-456-4673
  • Detective Matthew Kubiak at 616-456-4034
  • Detective Timothy DeVries at 616-456-3489
  • Detective Amy Lowrie at 616-456-3786

Tips can also be made anonymously at 616-774-2345.