Myspace Doesn't End At Death


GALESBURG - The body found Tuesday morning in the rubble of the former O.T. Johnson building has been identified as a missing Galesburg man.
Michael D. Olson, 23, was last seen across the street from 125 E. Main St. about 30 minutes before a fire was reported at 1:32 a.m. Jan. 23 in the O.T. Johnson building. The fire destroyed both the O.T. Johnson building and the former Gross Galesburg building, 152 E. Ferris St.

Police said the identification is based on physical description, clothing and dental X-rays. Based on the autopsy, the preliminary cause of death is smoke inhalation. The autopsy did not indicate foul play.

About 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, forensic dental work was done. The family was notified of the positive identification shortly thereafter.

Contacted this morning, Olson's stepfather, Dave Ryner, who is married to Olson's mother, Becky Ryner, said even with the sense of closure, the family has "mixed emotions. It's not what we wanted, but it's just there. We didn't want this kind of closure. ... Even when we were still living with hope until 4 o'clock (Wednesday), we pretty well knew, but our hope was still there."

Olson's father, Steve Olson, would not comment when contacted this morning.

Olson and his brother, Matt, had been shooting pool at Billiards on Main the night of Jan. 22. Matt Olson had left around midnight and their friend Chris Greene left around 12:45 a.m. Michael Olson left Billiards on Main about 12:50 a.m., stopping at Papa John's around 1 a.m.

He asked to use the restroom, but the business was closed and employees sent Olson on his way.

Olson did not return home and his family reported him missing at 3:40 p.m. Jan. 24.

Search dogs had been taken to the scene of the fire twice. At 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, Olson's body was discovered in an area where the dogs had shown some interest, Galesburg Police Chief John Schlaf said Tuesday afternoon.

Olson's body was discovered about 30 feet north of where the main entrance of O.T. Johnson was on Main Street. It would have been in the wide center aisle of the building, but officials would not say which floor they thought he had been on before the building collapsed.

On Tuesday, police would not give any details about the body they found.

Knox County Coroner Mark Thomas said the autopsy was performed by a forensic pathologist in Peoria Wednesday morning. Samples were taken for toxicology tests. It could take several weeks to receive the results.


UNION CITY -- The Alameda County Coroner's Office has identified the man fatally stabbed during a suspected gang-related fight at Perry Road and Mann Avenue on Friday evening as Nam Pham of Fremont.

Police identified another man, found along Perry Road near the fight scene, as Jobencio Camacho, 51, of Union City. Camacho was treated for minor head injuries at St. Rose Hospital in Hayward and later released, police said.

Sgt. Tom Haselton said police think the fight involved a Vietnamese gang and a Hispanic gang.

He refused to release the gangs' names but said they have a history of rivalry.

At about 6:41 p.m. Friday, police were called to Perry and Mann on an initial report of a group of men vandalizing a car, followed by additional reports of a fight between groups of Hispanic and Asian men.

Witnesses said a group of 10 to 15 Vietnamese men started smashing Camacho's car. Police believe Camacho's son was involved in the fight.

"He tried to protect his property and got injured in the process," Haselton said.

Over the weekend, at least four investigators were working full time on the case, police said. Officers stepped up patrols in areas prone to gang-related activities, Haselton said. No arrests had been made in the case as of Monday evening.

Pham, described by the coroner's office as in his late teens or early 20s, was found lying in the street with multiple stab wounds.

Police think Pham is a juvenile but would not confirm his age Monday. Pham, who was pronounced dead at the scene, became the first homicide victim in Union City in 2006.

Several juveniles who were detained at the time of the incident provided statements to investigators and were later released, police said.


A 17-year-old Warren boy committed suicide by jumping from a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 696 during rush hour Friday morning, police said.

Garrett Mezuk, a senior at Warren Mott High School, died at St. John Macomb Hospital at 8:50 a.m. -- approximately 45 minutes after he plunged from the walkway to the right shoulder of the eastbound lanes, just west of Ryan Road, police said.

Word of the incident spread quickly through the school, located on 12 Mile near Dequindre Road.

Counselors from across the Warren Consolidated school district were sent to a somber Mott High to help staff and students deal with their grief.

"(Mezuk's) death is a tragic loss to his family and the students of the school district," Warren Consolidated spokesman William Kiefer said. "At a time like this, there are many questions as to why this tragedy has happened. These are among many of the painful questions that his family and friends will be asking and for which they will attempt to find answers."

More than 350 students and some staffers sought the assistance of counselors. Several students having difficulty were allowed to leave school with parent supervision.

Becky Michalak, who resides on eastbound 11 Mile Road, said she stepped outside around 7:30 a.m. to grab her newspaper, and saw a young male staying on the crosswalk that students in her neighborhood use to get to Mott High School or Beer Middle School.

"I didn't think anything of it. I thought he was waiting for a friend," she said. "He was just kind of standing there, real nonchalant."

Michalak drove her daughters to school, stopped at a market and saw commotion along her street after the teen had jumped.

Some motorists pulled over.

"He was lying there and people were around him calling 911," said a woman who declined to give her name to a reporter. "As soon as I got there I asked, 'What happened?' They said he jumped."

The woman said she works as a medical assistant in the area and that she initially detected a pulse shortly before paramedics arrived.

"I feel bad I couldn't do more to help him. There was nothing more I could do," she said.

The pedestrian overpass is fenced on both sides and partially overhead. Police said Mezuk climbed through the opening and along the outside before jumping approximately 30 feet to the paved shoulder of the freeway.

"We think he stood up there and contemplated it for a while. We're not sure for the reasoning," Lt. Scott Pavlik said.

Investigators late Friday afternoon were still trying to pinpoint what prompted Mezuk to take his own life.

"We do have some information, but nothing we've nailed down yet," Detective Cpl. Mark Christian said. "This was not an accident. Nobody pushed him."

Police said the teen sent an e-mail to a family member Friday morning and abruptly left home.

"He had discussed going away for a while. There was no explicit threat that he was going to harm himself," Christian said.

The content of the electronic message concerned a family member who phoned police shortly after 7:30 a.m. Warren police issued a radio bulletin including a description of the teen.

At 8:05 a.m., police received calls that someone jumped from the crosswalk.

"He was very well liked," Warren Mott Principal Brad Martin said. "He did well in class."


PLYMOUTH -- After a predawn high-speed chase through town yesterday, two Plymouth police officers fatally shot a 16-year-old who tried to run them down with his car, authorities said.

Plymouth police said that the officers' lives were in danger and that they fired in self-defense. Plymouth County prosecutors launched an investigation into the death of Anthony W. McGrath.

His mother, Denise McGrath, questioned the actions of the officers, calling her son's shooting an unwarranted ''death sentence."

''I want to know what happened," she said, her eyes tearing. ''I want to know who killed my son for no reason at all. . . . He was my only son, and I loved him."

The encounter, according to accounts given to Plymouth police by the two officers involved, began when an officer responded shortly before 3:30 a.m. to an alarm at a liquor store on North Park Avenue and spotted a Toyota Camry speeding away.

The officer pursued the Camry several blocks on Water Street and saw the vehicle overshoot the intersection at Nelson Street and hit a stone wall.

The officer and another who had joined the chase positioned their cruisers behind the car, according to the police account. The Camry, moving in reverse, rammed one of the police cars, pushing through the gap between the two cruisers and slamming into a utility pole, the officers said.

Then, with the car facing the officers head on, the driver accelerated the Camry toward them, police said. Both officers fired at McGrath, the sole occupant of the car. He was pronounced dead at Jordan Hospital.

Both of the officers were standing outside their cruisers when they fired, police said. Plymouth police would not discuss how many shots were fired, where McGrath was hit, or how fast the car was traveling when he was shot.

''It's certainly a traumatic incident for those officers and also for the family of the 16-year-old," said Plymouth police Captain Michael Botieri.

State Police policy, which local departments such as Plymouth police are expected to follow, states that officers should not fire at a moving vehicle ''unless any occupant uses or threatens to use immediate lethal force."

Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz will examine whether the two Plymouth officers adhered to this standard, said his spokeswoman, Bridget Norton Middleton. The officers, both longtime members of the force who were not identified, were placed on paid administrative leave.

The initial alarm at Richards Wine & Spirits apparently signaled a break-in attempt. The store's owner, Stephen J. Berg, said yesterday that someone had used a rock to crack the window of a side door.

Kathleen A. Killion, who lives near the shooting site, said she was awakened by the sound of sirens and gunshots.

''It was pow, pow, pow, just like fireworks would be," she said.

Killion said she heard three to five gunshots and later saw police recover two shell casings lying on the street next to one of the cruisers.

Her boyfriend, Basil Schultz, 30, said he saw one officer hand his gun to another while other officers were investigating at the scene.

''He was shaken," Schultz said. ''It's horrible. It's bad for the town, the kid, the police, and the community."

The last fatal shooting by Plymouth police occurred in September 2003, when an officer shot a mentally troubled 35-year-old named James Glidden who allegedly attacked police with a 12-inch military knife. On Nov. 25, Plymouth police shot a 73-year-old man in the hand after he allegedly pointed a rifle at them.

The slain teen's grandfather, Roy McGrath, said he thought the officers involved were ''a little free with the guns."

''He shouldn't have been shot," he said. ''He crashed. . . . They should have just dragged him out instead of shooting him."

McGrath had recently been in some trouble. While he had never been convicted, he had been charged and held in state Department of Youth Services custody awaiting trial three times last year: for a week in March, for most of April, and most recently for half of November, according to Mary Silva, a DYS official with access to McGrath's records.

Another official with access to the records said McGrath was one of three teenagers charged in October with beating up an Eagle Scout at Plymouth North High School and robbing him of $40 the scout had collected for charity.

McGrath enrolled as a sophomore at Plymouth North last fall, but had not shown up for class since October, said Plymouth School Superintendent Barry E. Haskell. He said McGrath had transferred from Sandwich, where he attended high school his freshman year.

Instead of attending school, McGrath was working for a landscaping business run by Richard J. Higgins, 42, who said yesterday he was renting a room from Denise McGrath.

''He was a hard-working kid," Higgins said. ''I didn't know if he was going to handle it, but he did very well."

Higgins also owned the car McGrath drove yesterday. Higgins said he did not know how or when McGrath took the car, but said he usually leaves the key in the ignition.

Relatives and neighbors said McGrath was a decent person who would not try to harm police.

''Anthony was a normal 16-year-old," said the teen's uncle, David Ritchie, speaking on behalf of McGrath's family. ''He was getting some help for his issues. We do not believe that he would try to hurt someone with a car. We hope that officials do a detailed and complete investigation as quickly as possible."


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