GRINNELL, Iowa – Four people have been arrested in connection with the death of 44-year-old Michael Williams.
William’s death was ruled a homicide by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation after his body was found burning in a ditch in Kellogg, Iowa last Wednesday.
According to DPS Special Agent Adam DeCamp, 31-year-old, Steven Vogel has been charged with first-degree murder and one count of abuse of a corpse. Vogel is currently being held in the Marshall County Jail, where he was already incarcerated on other charges.
Julia Cox, 55, Roy Garner, 57, and Cody Johnson, 29 were also arrested and charged with abuse of a corpse, destruction of evidence, and accessory after the fact.
DeCamp said the murder was not a random act and all four of the suspects knew Williams. DeCamp said although there is no known motive at this time, there is no evidence to suggest that Williams death had anything to do with his race.
“The circumstances surrounding Mr. Williams’s death and the limited facts revealed about the discovery of this crime have, understandably, caused concern within the Grinnell community and beyond. Evidence and statements gathered during this investigation have shown that Mr. Williams and Vogel were known acquaintances who often socialized within the same circle of friends,” DeCamp said.
Iowa-Nebraska NAACP President Betty Andrews also spoke at the news conference. She said at this time, the NAACP sees no indication that Williams was killed because of his race.
DeCamp said evidence suggests that Williams died by strangulation on Sept. 12, and that his body was wrapped in cloth, plastic and carpet, then wrapped in duct tape before his body was set on fire in rural Kellogg on Sept. 16. He said the suspects efforts to hide the body and destroy evidence failed.
DeCamp said the case is still under investigation, and anyone with information should contact authorities.