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Update: Neighbor in custody for murder of missing Crockery Twp. woman

Tribune Staff • Dec 29, 2017 at 12:54 PM

CROCKERY TWP. — Police have arrested a suspect in relation to the death of a Crockery Township woman. 

According to Capt. John Wolffis of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, a Crockery Township man is in custody on the charge of open murder.

WZZM-TV is reporting that Wendell Popejoy, 63, is in custody for the murder of Sheila Bonge.

According to the television station, Popejoy was Bonge's neighbor, and they both lived on 104th Avenue in Crockery Township. He was arrested Friday, Dec. 29, and his arraignment is expected to be Saturday. According to state records, he's facing a felony homicide charge.

Police said Bonge, 59, was last seen by family members at her home on Sunday, Dec. 24. She was contacted by phone at about 2 p.m. Christmas Day, the Sheriff’s Office reported. Family members contacted police on Wednesday, according to WZZM-TV.

Deputies located Bonge’s body in a wooded area near her home early Thursday evening, Sgt. Jay Douglas of the Sheriff’s Office reported late Thursday night.

Popejoy's house is just a few yards away from Bonge's home. The Sheriff's Office said it was a search-and-rescue team that discovered Bonge's body.

Authorities would not provide the cause of death, but said as the investigation continued it was apparent that they had a homicide case.

"Our department has responded to this location in the past on disputes," Wolffis told WZZM-TV. "There has been some disputes reported between neighbors out here in the past."

Wolffis said they responded to the area for disputes at least five times, most recently within the past month.

A neighbor said Bonge has lived in the area for the past 8-10 years.

Related: Missing woman found dead

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