Rochester stalking suspect dies after jumping out hotel window

By: Mary Beth Almond | C&G Newspapers | Published April 23, 2015

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MADISON HEIGHTS/ROCHESTER — Police are investigating a case that ended with a 56-year-old Ferndale man jumping to his death from the third-story window of a local motel April 22.

Rochester police responded to a home in the 1600 block of Chase Drive at 1:30 p.m. after a woman reported that a man she was acquainted with was cutting cable and phone wires with a knife on the exterior of her home.

The man, according to police, was the subject of prior stalking complaints and was not allowed to be in the area due to a personal protection order.

“She has had prior incidents involving this same suspect with stalking type behavior at the residence,” Rochester Police Chief Steve Schettenhelm said.

After calling police, the woman confronted the man, who fled the area in a black Ford C-Max. An area resident, Jeffrey Simon, noticed the speeding car, called 911 and followed it for a bit to give police an idea as to where the car was located.

Rochester Police Lt. Paul Matynka saw the vehicle in the area of University and Ludlow, weaving in traffic at a high rate of speed and continuing into Mt. Avon Cemetery, where the car broke through the First Street gate. The vehicle, according to police, then struck a tree at Castell and Harding, but was able to continue out to Livernois.

The chase, according to police, was terminated since officers had already identified the man.

Police later discovered the car ended up at a collision shop on Livernois in Rochester Hills, where the man convinced a patron to drive him to Madison Heights. Inside the car was the knife used to cut the wires, a 7-inch chain and a small can of bear spray, which Schettenhlm said is similar to pepper spray.

Police were able to make contact with the collision shop customer, who gave them information that helped them locate the suspect in the area of 14 Mile and Stephenson Highway in Madison Heights.

Madison Heights police were contacted and determined that the suspect was staying in a nearby motel. When Madison Heights officers went to speak with the man, he fled the room on foot, entered a nearby room open for maid service, slammed the door and later jumped to his death from the third floor window. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The man’s identity was not released at press time.

“I don’t know what Madison Heights’ investigation showed as to whether that was deliberate, or accidental, or what the actual mechanism was. They were on the outside trying to ask him to open the door and they heard some commotion and he eventually jumped out,” Schettenhelm said.

Corey Haines, deputy police chief of Madison Heights, said his department is still piecing together what happened.

“This case is still under investigation,” Haines said. “Our officers were initially there on scene looking for this subject based on information we had received from the city of Rochester’s Police Department. Our detectives responded to the scene and did preliminary investigation there, and have been working in conjunction with the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“Now they’re waiting for a report from them,” Haines said. “This case will remain open until we have all the investigative evidence we’re looking for.”

The investigation continued with the assistance of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office at press time.

Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski contributed to this report.

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