GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It was about 7:30 a.m. when police received a call from someone using the Plaster Creek Trail system near Ken-O-Sha Park , saying they found a woman’s body.
Police have identified her as Marie Nettles, 47.
Investigators say she’s from Grand Rapids and has worked as a known prostitute in the past on Division Avenue. They say she was 50 to 60 feet away from the paved trail area, and wasn’t far from the trail head itself.
They believe she was killed somewhere else and placed there. Investigators say she was easy to spot because she was in a clearing, thus prompting the passerby to call police.
As forensics teams walked in and out of the trail system Thursday, surrounded by police tape, regular trail walkers like Dan Brewer were stunned.
“I walk around here every day and even during the times the schools are open and so, I even see how the kids play around here. So that makes it really frightening,” said Brewer. “Everything seemed to be normal.”
Local mom Kari Stuart brings her son Lucas to walk or ride his bike on the trail system all the time.
“My husband and I run these trails early in the morning and never noticed anything unusual,” said Stuart.
She was also surprised at the news that someone had found the woman so close to the park.
“We feel like it’s a really safe neighborhood and we’ve been here for about six years,” said Stuart.
When you look at crime numbers for the past year in a five mile area, nothing stands out except for assaults and theft.
Over the past year, there were reports for: 125 assaults, 241 thefts/larcenies, 40 burglaries, 8 robberies, 34 drug/alcohol violations, and 16 sex crimes.
There were no homicides in the area within the past year.
Police say there were no obvious signs of trauma when they first arrived on scene.
They say the medical examiner was able to help determine she died as the result of a homicide.
If you have any information on the case, contact the Grand Rapids Police Department or the Silent Observer program.