Ferndale police detail encounters with Detroit serial killer suspect

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published June 18, 2019

 Deangelo Martin

Deangelo Martin

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FERNDALE — After Detroit police arrested a man who might be a suspected serial killer, Ferndale police decided to release information pertaining to their previous run-ins with the person of interest.

On June 10, the Detroit Police Department charged Deangelo Martin, 34, with the nonfatal stabbing and sexual assault of a woman. He also is a person of interest in three similar cases of sexual assault and murder that have happened on Detroit’s east side since March.

In a press release that came out the same day, the Ferndale Police Department detailed two previous encounters with Martin that were referenced by Detroit Police Chief James Craig during a press conference. Ferndale Police Sgt. Baron Brown said there were “inaccurate” reports dealing with the department’s brushes with Martin, and the department wanted to clear up some information.

The first incident occurred Aug. 3, 2018, when police were called to a 7-Eleven for a report of suspicious or disorderly people. Officers met with Martin and Deborah Reynolds, 64, who were sitting outside the building with an open container of alcohol.

“Once there, our officers quickly came to the decision they wanted to help these people avoid going to jail,” Brown said. “We asked them where they wanted to go. Martin said Woodward and State Fair (avenues). In all of our dealings with them, both together and separate … there were no indications, no statements, no awkward moments from Reynolds that even indicated that she felt she was in any danger. In fact, the opposite was indicated. At one point, they were standing arm in arm.”

Several weeks after this incident, Reynolds was reported missing by family to Detroit police. Reynolds remained missing at press time.

“The last time that we (Ferndale police) know that she was seen alive was Aug. 3 when we dropped her off with him (in Detroit),” Brown said.

Brown said they wouldn’t have let Reynolds go with Martin if there had been any indication that she was in a dangerous situation.

The Ferndale Police Department also stated in its press release that, after learning that Reynolds was missing, it reviewed the Aug. 3 encounter through in-car and officer-worn body camera video footage. Brown stated that the contact had been handled appropriately by the officers.

“We want that to be crystal clear that we take seriously our role as caretakers in the community, and we wouldn’t have let her go had there been any indications that she was in danger or uneasy or even uncomfortable in his presence,” he said.

The other run-in with Martin occurred Sept. 2, 2018. The press release states that Martin was stopped for jaywalking on Woodward Avenue, near Cambourne Street, after he walked into the line of moving traffic and caused cars to swerve and brake. He was arrested for giving police false information about his identity, police said. He was later released without incident. Ferndale police also noted in the press release that Reynolds was not with Martin at this time.

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