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Posted on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

Air Force and U-M Police to assist AAPD in investigation of medical student's death

By Kyle Feldscher

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Ann Arbor police detectives, shown here outside Phi Rho Sigma the day Paul DeWolf was found dead, will be assisted by investigators from the Air Force and UMPD as they investigate the case.

Investigators from the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the University of Michigan Police Department will assist Ann Arbor police in the Paul DeWolf case.

Ann Arbor police Detective Lt. Robert Pfannes said in a statement DeWolf’s death is still being investigated as a homicide. The investigators from the Air Force and U-M Police are assisting, and Ann Arbor detectives are still leading the case.

DeWolf was found dead on July 24 in his basement room at the Phi Rho Sigma medical fraternity in the 200 block of North Ingalls Street. He was killed by a single gunshot wound and police are investigating the incident as a homicide.

U-M Police spokeswoman Diane Brown said investigators from that department will do whatever they are asked by their Ann Arbor counterparts.

“They have asked for our help and we have willingly provided that,” she said. “This investigation has a high priority for the University of Michigan police as well, as a member of our community was lost. We want to do everything we can to assist in solving this case.”

She emphasized that this is an Ann Arbor case and U-M police are responding to any tasks Ann Arbor detectives ask them to complete.

DeWolf was a second lieutenant Air Force and a reservist. The Air Force was paying his way through medical school and the Schoolcraft, Mich., native was going to enter the service following graduation.

He was a 2010 graduate of Grand Valley State University.

He lived alone in a basement room in the Phi Rho Sigma house, where he had lived for almost three years, and other residents were home at the time of his death. The room did not appear out of order and nothing of value appeared to be stolen.

A colleague was sent to the home after DeWolf didn’t show up for an assignment at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System on the morning of July 24. That colleague found him dead, and then called 911.

No firearm was found at the scene, according to police. An autopsy was performed Thursday,

DeWolf’s funeral took place Monday in Portage, where family and friends remembered the prospective surgeon.

Police have not released any information regarding suspects at this time.

Anyone with information on DeWolf’s death is asked to call the Ann Arbor police anonymous tip line at 734-794-6939 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

Finally! A little late in my opinion. Isn't the first 48 hrs the biggest chance to solve a murder? I would have gotten every resource possible immediately! ESP, because since he is in the reserves. A lot of connections and areas to investigate!


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

I am very optimistic that the criminal will be discovered as a crucial piece of evidence was left behind. The bullet that killed the medical student will tell us the whole story.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

When crime is reported in a news story, I explore the nature of human behavior that contributes to aggression and its consequence called violence. I use the perspective provided by scientists like Dr. Konrad Zacharias Lorenz, Dr. Burrhus Frederick Skinner, Auguste Comte,Dr. Sigmund Freud, Dr. Edward Osborne Wilson, and others. The interaction of heredity and environment and its effect upon human behavior is often referred to as the Nature-Nurture controversy. The tools and techniques used by Law Enforcement do not investigate the problem of human behavior. The expertise of Police will not solve the problems of humanity.


Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 5:54 p.m.

JJC, three decades of LE work here. Isn't it wonderful how many people think they are police experts?


Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

The Bullet Story: Firstly, let me assure you that I do not watch TV shows other than news. I understand that the gun from which the bullet was fired is not found. However, we cannot exclude the person who is of interest and see if there could be a connection between the suspect, victim, and the bullet. The suspect was in the room and was at close proximity of the victim found in the room. There was no apparent struggle between the suspect and the victim. It is reasonable to think that they had a prior contact and relationship. It narrows the search to a few selected individuals among the victim's social contacts. It appears that the suspect knows the building and could enter and exit from the building without catching the attention of other occupants. I do not suggest that all of the victim's contacts could be owning multiple guns. The bullet can be linked to gun owner, and the owner is driven by a motive other than that of economic gain.


Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 3:04 a.m.

Well that is very csi'ish ( tv show). Only way the bullet helps u is if u have the actual gun the fired it. There is little that can be gleaned from a fired bullet without the gun that fired it. About the only thing they can tell is if the rifling is right or left and how many lands and grooves. That will narrow u down to a several makes in each caliber. To cross ref that to registered owners of each possible make and hope that there is a connection (assuming its a michigan gun some states do no require registration ) with one of them would be time and cost prohibitive and in my opinion contrary to the constitution. The bullet could be run through IBIS but the likelihood of a match is very slim but would be a better first step with regards to the fired bullet this of course is ALL dependent on the condition of the recovered bullet.


Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 1:55 a.m.

The Whole Story: I have studied Forensic Medicine and I am very pleased to read about your two decades of law enforcement experience. My experience comes from a different direction. I am considering the motivation to commit this crime. I do not view this crime as an act of random, senseless violence. This bullet that is found inside the body of the victim would give me the clue about the gun from which it was fired. In my calculation, the gun is registered. There could be several people who may own the type of gun that was used. I can most assuredly tell you that the motivation, the opportunity to use that particular type of gun would be available to one particular owner. I would check the names of those gun owners, and only one of them would have the reason to kill.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 5:54 p.m.

I ask this with having close to 2 decades of law enforcement experience in which I have been a detective and evidence tech so I have actual real world knowledge of forensic capibilities. Please explain how having the bullet (even if it is prestine) at this point, will lead to the identification of the suspect? Just curious what u think is available forensically speaking.

EMU Prof

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Wait, CSI isn't real?


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

Like the internet, if it is on TV, it is true.

Kyle Feldscher

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

Everyone is, of course, entitled to their opinions, but I just want to jump in here and say the AAPD has some very experienced detectives that are very good at their jobs. This is going to be a complicated case with a lot of investigating yet to be done - as someone pointed out, crimes usually only get solved in an hour on CSI.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

We all missed a significant anniversary while fretting over the supposed lack of attention to the DeWolf case -on the part of law enforcement investigators: July 30, 1975 was the day Jimmy Hoffa "disappeared." You can't find a more high profile or "urgent" case than that but it's been 38 years, +1 day since that case began. That's regardless of untold investigative efforts and resources. Now consider what is known about the DeWolf case and what was known abut the Hoffa case. Every adult in the country knew who Jimmy Hoffa was and investigators even knew who was with Hoffa the last time he was seen alive. That's not an argument against AAPD, the ME or any LE investigators nor am I saying we shouldn't expect "the best effort" in the DeWolf case. No - it's just a reminder of the realities associated with such homicides. If anything, we are so scared of the reality of murder that we develop a kind of comfort food for the mind; to allay our fears. Nationwide, about 30% of known murders are never solved. And some murders go undiscovered altogether. Lets not be too quick to start finger pointing or insisting this case "must be" solved to everyone's satisfaction.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

However, in the Jimmy Hoffa case, the records are now subject to FOIA. They have not continued to say it is an open investigation so we cannot let the public see the records. However, in the case of the EMU student, the records are still secret more than a year later. How long can they claim that releasing records might interfere with their investigation?


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

This seems like a very important development in this case that reflects very well on AAPD. It seems that very few important complex cases are single jurisdiction cases any more--too much evidence to gather from too many different contexts for a single law enforcement entity to handle appropriately. Adding manpower and important institutional access and perspectives in a complex case like this that spans so many different contexts seems essential. I am impressed that AAPD chose to make such a decision and at this point in the investigation. For the sake of the family and the community, hopefully such a collaborative effort will help to bring this very sad case to a resolution more quickly.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 3:38 a.m.

I will probably be in the minority about this, however, the AAPD success rate in solving cases is troubling. Though I don't have proof to support this, and I clearly admit this omission. But, from the year ago summer rapes, the robbery on Main St. of the jewelry store, the drug dealer on Packard St. street busted by LAWNET. It appears, on the surface, that the AAPD is seeking assistance from outside sources to solved crimes. As with the summer rapes they enlisted the FBI to create a profile to no arrest. Now this case. Just putting it out there. For a city/town that doesn't gardner a lot of major crimes I wonder if and when there are major crimes if the police department is up to the task. Maybe the News can obtain records from the police department to either debunk this or prove it and, at what percentage are cases solved between major crimes and minor (vandalism, burglary, bike thefts). Spare me the nasty retorts that are sure to follow. I fully support the police department and know and worked with several officers on the force. However, this is a good opportunity for the "press" to delve just a bit deeper.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 6:59 p.m.

How does being caught in another city prove they did the robbery on main st.? Don't you think they may have gathered evidence? Stick to your tv shows where everything's wrapped up in a bow in one hour. You clearly know nothing of what goes into police work. AAPD puts people into lawnet just for that purpose of investigating drug complaints. Just because you think there's a drug dealer in a house means you can go barging in and "busting" people. But I guess ignorance has onions too


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

I guess the police missed the full confession the killer left with his name, address, and phone number which was tacked to the front door of the victim's apartment.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

"Though I don't have proof to support this, and I clearly admit this omission." No reason to read past that statement.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

Hmm, could it be that AAPD is a police agency which exists in a city with few murders and where most crimes are property crimes? It seems we'd be better off to think of this as expecting too much of a police department which spends, what, 1% of its effort dealing with homicide cases and 99% dealing with other, less serious & dramatic crimes. Maybe it's a matter of too high expectations based on an unreal picture of the world we live in. Even if the AAPD was at the top when it comes to solving murder cases, they'd still be at least 30% short of perfection. And - to be sure - there'd still be people doubting and calling AAPD inadequate or worse.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

Did the AAPD make the arrest in the jewelry case or were the persons found in another city? Yes, i realize its early in the investigation and no, I don't expect the case to be solved in an hour. However, if the drug dealer on Packard had been operating for over a year, and, some in the community knew what was occurring at that house for sometime, why didn't the AAPD just bust the house and not wait for LAWNET to begin an investigation? Still, no response on the summer rapes either. So continue to respond, but I maintain my beliefs that the AAPD will continue to have issues solving major crimes. Again, maybe the press can rebuke and present facts.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

They've made arrest in jewelry store robbery on main st and the men are facing trail. AAPD is part of lawnet, it's a drug task force. So clearly you're right you don't know what your talking about.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

I concur. I don't feel terribly confident with just the AAPD on the case. I am a bit relieved to see that the Air Force has joined the team.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

It's not like the Criminal Minds where they wrap up a case in less than an hour. Some cases are never solved because the perp has no relationship to the victim and simply moves on.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:12 a.m.

If they ( AAPD ) have nothing to go on such as workable evidence what exactly do you want them to do.Ann Arbor is full of arm chair cops and detectives.But really, do you think they have some sort of crystal ball ?

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 3:16 a.m.

"... killed by a singe gunshot..." burned off gunshot?

Kyle Feldscher

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 3:21 a.m.

dading - Good catch. Was writing very fast when this came out. Appreciate you pointing that out.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

The Medical Examiner is a member of the Medical School faculty and the morgue is located at UM, so the University was already involved in the investigation. In general the UM police do a good job but they are still responsible to the UM administration so they can find themselves under pressure not to make the University look bad. As a pathologist, I would sure like an opportunity to look at the autopsy but it will be kept secret for a long time. The autopsy on the EMU student who was killed last year is still not available. I have seen autopsies by the ME screwed up in past cases and I don't think it would be a bad idea to get another opinion on this autopsy.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

John, funny you should ask, we have an update on that story coming tomorrow.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

Whatever happened in the case of that man who died while he was helping his daughter out of that same apt complex that Julia died in? Last I can tell, the two people that were held were then released and nothing more was said about it.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

I'm guessing that you're referring to the Julia Niswender case. I have also been wondering all along why the final toxicology report(s) have not been released for her case. My condolences to those who knew and loved Paul.