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Arrest made in 2003 cold case murder in Bayfield County

Michael John LaGrew

BAYFIELD COUNTY, WI -- An arrest has been made in a murder case that has stumped investigators for nearly 17 years.

Police have arrested a 56-year-old Bayfield, WI man in connection to a murder that happened around June 27th, 2003.

The Red Cliff Band says the suspect has been formally charged. Michael LaGrew faces a felony of first-degree intentional homicide.

Court documents say he was arrested in relation to a death that occurred in the Town of Russell Wisconsin on or around Friday, June 27, 2003.

The Red Cliff Band confirmed LaGrew is being charged in connection to the murder of Jody Ricard. 

Ricard was found dead in a wooded area in 2003 by a man looking for firewood.

The man arrested was questioned in relation to the victim's disappearance in 2003.

In August of 2019, investigators were able to determine discrepancies in witness reports for the case.

Red Cliff Band Special Agent Gerald Katchka and Police Chief Kyle Cadotte were assigned to follow up on the investigation shortly thereafter.

In March of 2020, law enforcement conducted an interview with the suspect, which lasted three hours.

During that time, court documents say the suspect denied any involvement in the murder.

A criminal complaint says on March 18th, 2020, at around 2:40 in the afternoon, police arrested the suspect, who allegedly said "yeah, you got me" and "I did it".

Court documents say, during an interview with law enforcement, the suspect said he and the victim got into a verbal altercation that turned physical.

The argument apparently started after the suspect said he was going to fire the victim.

Allegedly, the suspect hit the victim in the head with a trailer jack, dragged the victim into the woods, and covered the body with a tree. He allegedly checked the victim for a pulse, but none was found.

At this time it is unclear where the suspect is being held or when he will be back in court.

In a statement, they said "First and foremost, the Tribe once again extends its deepest sympathies to the Ricard family. The Tribe is grateful to the hard work of all law enforcement involved in this case, including the Red Cliff Police Department, Bayfield County Sherriff’s Department, Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Bayfield County District Attorney. "

Reporter Anthony Matt

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