West Michigan’s Most Wanted: Anthony William Vronko

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- A nationally sought fugitive, a murderer who killed a man with his bare hands, is back on the streets.

The Grand Rapids Police department says he has struck again, and they fear there could be deadly consequences if he’s not found soon.

Anthony Vronko, 31, served seven years in prison for the beating death of a friend, Jim Whiting. Four months after his release, he’s accused of randomly attacking a stranger outside a Grand Rapids gas station.

There’s a permanent memorial at the Hovey Street SW home where 44-year-old Whiting was beaten to death in 2006. His cousin David Whiting held him in his arms during his final moments.

Vronko was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for Jim’s death and served nearly eight years before being released from prison in April.

“A physical assault with his fist resulted in another individual’s death. (It) doesn’t look like Mr. Vronko’s learned from that experience,” Lt. Pat Merrill of the Grand Rapids Police Department said.

Police are back on the hunt for Vronko after an August strong armed robbery at the Go-Lo gas station at Leonard and Fuller.

“(The) Individual’s on their phone actually looking at some information on their phone, reading some emails and our suspect walked out of the gas station and just turned to him and just started assaulting him repeatedly for no reason whatsoever, they had never had any interaction with each other,” Merrill said.

Witnesses and surveillance video identified Vronko as the attacker.

Merrill says Vronko knows police are looking for him. There is reason to believe he has fled the state.

Vronko has a history of violent behavior with alcohol as a trigger. “It does appear he had been drinking at the time," said Merrill. "Alcohol seems to be a significant contributing factor to his behavior. When he’s drinking, he’s not a pleasant person to be around, apparently.”

That’s a terrifying and infuriating reality for the family of Jim Whiting, who says the two were friends. They tell us that they were drinking beer on Jim’s front lawn when Vronko attacked.

Now the Whiting family is living every day knowing what Vronko is capable of. Whiting is missed by his three daughters and never met his seven grandkids.

Cousins David Whiting and Linda Vert say they don’t believe the punishment fit the crime.

“Jim was down and didn’t get one swing in, not one,” Vert said.

She says every year on Jim’s birthday family and friends get together for a balloon release in his memory.

Merrill says police are adamant about finding Vronko before he hurts someone again. “What I would hate to see is that the reason we take him into custody is because he’s beaten someone else somewhere else,” Merrill said. “Right now it’s strong armed robbery; hopefully it won’t be another manslaughter murder charge.”

As long as the wanted fugitive roams the streets, the friends and family of Jim Whiting will live in anger and fear.

“He’s gonna kill somebody else, plain fact,” David said.

Anthony William Vronko is 5 feet 11 inches tall and 215 pounds. He has brown hair, but may be bald, and has hazel eyes.

He’s been convicted of manslaughter and is now wanted for strong-arm robbery.

If you see him call 911, do not approach him. If you know where he may be call Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

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17 comments

    • TheFoundingFathers

      I love stupid fools like yourself, maybe if the court system was worth 2 shits this monster would have been put to death like he should have been we wouldn’t have to hear this stupid story!

  • Kristle tanis

    Just get dog the bounty hunter he will get his ass…
    An we wouldn’t be in fear if the justice system didn’t let a fkn murderer out in the first place are u that fkn ignorant… Wow

  • Angela

    Why did he only spend 8 years in prison for the murder of someone? Our judicial system is so screwed up! I agree with Brandine, yet another win for alcohol. Waste of money and it never does any good for anybody!!!

  • Zigamn Frued

    Battalions of law enforcement specialize in finding marijuana in the darkest corners of national forests hope he’s hiding in one of them.

  • Terri Tilson Ryon

    The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. This losers dad is also in Newberry prison. I guess they weere never taught what morals were. I say put them both to death….the sooner the better.

  • jon greer

    It’s pretty fucked up that I did ten years for armed robbery when I was only sixteen sentenced as an adult. And my first felony. No one was injured. And this guy kills some one and gets 8 yrs WTF!!!!!

    • Domestic Goddess

      Exactly!! It is rediculous!! Even people who are convicted of vehicular manslaughter get more time than this monster!
      Just like with my ex , he almost kills me after kidnapping me but bc he was wanted for absconding from parole they charged him with that and not what he did to me! I haven’t seen him in years! Thank Goodness I’ve been able to get away from him! And it’s nice to know he’s back in prison. He got off parole on May 1st and was arrested and had a charge for drugs. I’m relieved to know he’s back in prison bc when he’s out I’m always looking over my shoulder bc of my fear of him.

  • ashley

    He not a murderer you ignorant fools. Read the facts of the case. It was self defense, witneses even testified to that. The media blows everything out of proportion. It’s sad society judges people. on what the media thinks they know