Police ask hunters to be on the lookout for criminal activity in the woods

Police ask hunters to be on the lookout for criminal activity in the woods. (WWMT File)

Police have a message for West Michigan hunters and a warning for criminals.

Newschannel 3's Nicky Zizaza reported on how hunters can help police solve crimes.

Rumors have swirled for years that the Allegan State Game Area is a dumping ground for the dead. A place where criminals dispose of bodies deep inside the wilderness.

Allegan County Sheriff Capt. Chris Kuhn said, “It's about location, location, location. We have two large metropolitan areas that are to the north and south of us, so people who are accustomed to a city environment will drive into our county and go, ‘Oh, wow, this is pretty rural’ and think there is nobody around.”

Kuhn has served the Allegan county sheriff's office for 22 years and said it's not that easy.

He said, "We are very good at finding things and it may take a while, but I don't think we have had too much trouble every figuring out what happened once we do find them. So you can go ahead and try but generally we'll find you and things will go badly for you.”

Often criminal evidence or even body parts are discovered in the woods. Just two weeks ago a bow hunter found human remains, a case police later determined did not involve foul play.

Kuhn said, "Nine times out of 10 it is something that was just accidental or nothing criminal, but that one time we want to make sure we have all the evidence we need to find to make sure we find that somebody else is responsible for that person's death."

Kalamazoo-area teacher Theresa Lockhart’s remains went undiscovered in the area for 5 months.

Kuhn said, “It is not very frequent but anytime we have somebody out in areas that aren't regularly visited or that people aren't regularly in its important and it is nice if they can pay attention to what is going on in their environment.”

Hunters cover a lot of ground and seek out places no one else has picked over, avoiding the beaten path and sometimes unknowingly helping solve cases.

Kuhn said, "The biggest thing is to call right away, it is natural curiosity to try and figure out why something is odd in the environment where they are at that they are not used to.”

He said he knows of at least three cases where a hunter stumbled across a body in the woods.

Police urge hunters to pay attention and let them know about anything that seems out of place.

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