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Posted on Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

Police offering reward for information in homicide of U-M student Paul DeWolf

By John Counts


Police are now offering a $5,000 reward in the Paul DeWolf homicide case.

Melanie Maxwell |

Editor's note: This article has been updated with information about U-M police matching the reward initially offered by Ann Arbor police.

Ann Arbor and University of Michigan police are offering rewards totaling $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction in the fatal shooting of University of Michigan medical student Paul DeWolf.

Thumbnail image for DeWolf_Psm.jpg

Paul DeWolf

Ann Arbor police announced a $5,000 reward Monday morning. Just after 2 p.m. Monday, the University of Michigan Police Department announced the department would be matching the $5,000 reward offered by Ann Arbor police. Anyone with information is asked to call the AAPD tip line at (734) 794-6939 or e-mail

The rewards are being offered independently of CrimeStoppers, which is also accepting tips at (800) SPEAK UP, police said. CrimeStoppers tips can also lead to rewards.

DeWolf was found dead from a single gunshot wound July 24 at his apartment at the Phi Rho Sigma medical fraternity in the 200 block of North Ingalls Street in Ann Arbor. No firearm was found in the apartment and nothing seemed disturbed in the room, police have said. The case is being investigated as a homicide.

The Schoolcraft, Mich., native was a 2010 graduate of Grand Valley State University, where he was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. DeWolf had just completed his third year of medical school at the University of Michigan and was studying to be a surgeon. He was set to graduate in May 2014.

DeWolf was a reserve officer in the Medical Services Corps of the United States Air Force serving as a medical student under the the military's Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP), according to officials.

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



Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

According to a fundraising website "In Memory of Paul DeWolf - Save Phi Rho", the tragic death also impacted the fraternity financially. I quote: "....However, Phi Rho is struggling in more ways than most are aware. Following last week's tragedy, more than half of our members moved out of the house due to concerns for their ongoing safety as well as the emotional trauma that all of us have sustained. This has created a financial crisis at the house. At half capacity, the house is projected to run a $100,000 deficit for the 2013-2014 academic year. This includes operating costs and necessary improvements to security and infrastructure that have become critical to house integrity. ..." The website asks for donations. I wonder who initiated this fundraising, and whether the timing of it is appropriate.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

Here's the link: delete it if it is against posting rules

Honest Abe

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

John, I know I have asked this before, but have the Police mentioned what caliber or type of gun was used?

Honest Abe

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

Such a strange case. Nothing adds up and obviously LE is stumped if they're resorting to offering rewards. I am very curious if the Police are at least 'leaning' towards a motive. If other similar homicides happened in the area before and after, I'd say we have a serial killer on our hands, but that is not the case. The Police have said that no valuables were taken, which practically rules out a burglary gone wrong. At the very least, based off what the Police have revealed; the victim may have known his killer. I know most of us like to play 'Arm chair detective", but I would look into his romantic life, if he had one, and anything to do with finances and if he had a life insurance policy. I suppose there is the possibility of murder with no motivation and someone did it randomly. Either way, I hope the person(s) who did this are captured and punished!!! Any homicide is saddening, but this one is sad, tragic and bizarre! The scary thing is whomever did this, is walking around free.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

The Identity of the suspect: I am glad to read about this reward which was recommended by PineyWoodsGuy in a comment posted at this discussion forum. Police need specific information about the Identity of a person who could be connected with this crime. But, all of us share the same identity and hence this story compels us to talk about the issue. It is not gossip, or speculation. It is not only the identity that is common to all of us, but also common is the fact of human nature. The suspect is just a person who shares our identity and our nature. The only difference is that of motivation, and the degree of that motivation to kill a specific, known person whose identity is clearly established beyond any doubt.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:56 a.m.

neighborhood-scout say this areas are one of more dangers places in Ann arbor... .maybe brawlers and burglarizing people a the time.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:19 p.m.

It is not proper for this reward to be given for arrest and conviction. It should be awarded once a warrant is issued by the prosecutor. A lot of bad things can happen in court due to an error by police or a bad jury. A citizen who reports enough to identify the suspect should not be penalized by a conviction requirement. An acquittal does not mean the right person was identified, just that the burden of proof was not met. So, if I find out who done it, I'll have to call John Seto and renegotiate the terms of the reward.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 6:06 p.m.

Have the Ann Arbor police solved any crimes lately ? What about the house that burned on State or the Ann Arbor rapist a few years ago.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

I applaud's desire for their message board not to be used to spread misinformation/gossip/innuendo. That seems like very responsible journalism. I suspect that many "mainstream" media may be more interested in the sensationalism, and less interested in protecting the accuracy of information, the feelings of the family, and the reputations of folks/institutions in the community. If anyone thinks they have a really good theory that someone should know about, the TIP lines seem like a very good place to share those ideas.

John Counts

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3:31 p.m.

The argument isn't really that it hinders the investigation. The argument is that concocting theories about what happened for sport isn't helpful to either the police or the family. Speculating can lead to gossip which can lead to people being potentially misinformed about a case.

lucinda walsh

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

It strikes me that your policy as stated above itself contains a great deal of speculation. You state unproven assumptions about people's motives for posting and what they will do with statements they find on the board. Is this kind of policy in place at other papers in what I will call main stream media?

lucinda walsh

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

I would like to open this discussion: Do fellow readers think speculation on this board hinders crime investigations? Thank you.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:29 a.m.

I can't believe an investigator would peruse this site looking for clues.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:31 p.m.

I think it confuses things and is not positive.

John Counts

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

We're all wondering about what happened to this young man, but let's remember that speculating about the case doesn't really help the investigation. Keep in mind that there is a grieving family out there and that real-life homicide cases are not TV shows where the mystery is solved in the the last five minutes.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

Well said John. Having lived with a detective for the AAPD for 18 years I know they are moving through the process. They need space to work and the family needs space to grieve. It is however hard not to be a little curious when something of this nature transpires...


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

This is absolutely horrible and I hope they catch whoever did this. I was under the impression that the University of Michigan likely had surveillance cameras on campus. Is that not true? North Ingalls may not fall in the area of view as it is just north of Rackham, but it might not be a bad idea for the AAPD to consider cameras in heavily populated student areas just because of all of the drinking. I am not saying that this incident was alcohol related, but it seems like some public cameras, or even fake cameras, would go a long way in preventing some problems.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:29 p.m.

Ironic that you bring this up. The Boston Marathon bombing was likely solved due to video. However there are a lot of folks who are against it. In fact, reported on it not long ago: I do not fear video surveillance being an honest law abiding citizen who wants criminals caught. But we do not want a 1984 society either. I am wondering what the anti video crowd thinks about this tragic incident.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:48 a.m.

Maybe if AAPD offered a slightly used but "fully equipped car" - like the one in the photo - that would be enough to get someone to offer evidence in this case.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:15 a.m.

The reward is a Welcome declaration! (although it suggests that LEO has exhausted all leads). The Univ Mich Medical Center Must Add to the reward to bump it up a Whole Lot before the perp's hommies will squeal of him. Both the AAPD, Univ Mich PD and All of Us know that the Reward Must be Enlarged. Then the Murder will be solved. Dig?

Lauren Erickson

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:54 a.m.

Fact: These large fraternity buildings are most half empty during the summer months and security (looking doors) is spotty at best. Fact: Anyone could have walked into the fraternity looking for a quick score and surprised Paul DeWolf. Fact: Without CCTV footage or witnesses this investigation is dead.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 12:36 a.m.

@Mick - I was replying to Lauren's theory that someone "looking for a quick score" walked into the house and surprised the victim. If this is how it happened, the person who was "looking for a quick score" would probably tell someone how they "accidentally" killed a person. Very few people would do something like that and then be able to resist the urge to talk about it with someone they think they can trust. I only brought up ballistics to rebut Lauren's "fact" that "without CCTV footage or witnesses this investigation is dead." There are many things that could possibly help the investigation other than CCTV footage or witnesses - ballistics is just one example among many.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:34 p.m.

Eep I don't know where you get the stuff you post. "Very few people commit a crime like that and don't tell a friend or family member..." What? I would say very few people do that. Ballistic evidence if great - if you find the weapon.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

@Piney, tell that to the Southfield police who had an ex-military guy shoot up their station last year, wounding 4 officers. Just because a person serves doesn't mean they lose the capacity to do bad things to other people. They're human.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:10 a.m.

@ Lauren Erickson and @ commentor JohnnyA2. It would Not have been a patient at the VA Hospital. No Way!


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:59 a.m.

"Anyone could have walked into the fraternity looking for a quick score and surprised Paul DeWolf." Yes and they likely would have tried to find something to SCORE . Th place was not destroyed looking for stuff The fact is, this is more than likely somebody he knew or somebody who had felt wronged by him. An ex bf of a girl he dated. A patient unhappy with treatment at his VA job. A person who he may have wronged someway in their mind. There is nothing to suggest this was a random crime of somebody who woke up one day and decided to randomly shot somebody. That is just not typical MO of serial killers


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

Even if your theory is correct, the investigation would be "difficult" more so than "dead." Very few people commit a crime like that and don't tell a friend or family member who they think they can trust - and who often ends up turning them in. There is also the possibility of ballistics linking the bullet to a particular gun, or other forensic evidence that we don't know about yet.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 11:45 p.m.

About time, money talks sad to say. Isn't it funny they couldn't catch that I-96 freeway shooter until the reward went to over $100,000.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 9:20 p.m.

People, watching CSI does not turn you into detectives.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 8:17 p.m.

No mention has been made about his personal life, family relationships or interactions with his fraturnity. It's hard to believe that a stranger would kill in this way especially since the scene was undisturbed. Idle speculation on my part, but .....


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

Yeah but how many people was he coming in contact with--30, 40--50 or more ? In a fraternity in college you must know a ton of people, from all of your roommates and their friends and then your friends, family. I lived in a dorm my last quarter--I ended up short of credits and didn't want to "waste" a summer in college so I went home and went back in the fall to graduate. Couldn't find a roommate for me, so I got my own dorm for the 3 months. I did share a bathroom and I never locked the bathroom door into my room. One night I woke up and my next door neighbor was in my room. He goes saying his GF was sleeping in his room and he wanted to leave and come back unnoticed..OK, made sense but then I recall money of mine being missing in the past, from that night on, all my room doors were locked. In college, there are so many people you come in contact with.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

Why doesn't UofM step up and offer a reward for info leading to an arrest? They (the University) has deep pockets - its time for them to step up and do the right thing for Mr DeWolf's family and this community !!


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 11:23 p.m.

John I think should delete comments of readers who do not read the story before commenting.

John Counts

Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

The University of Michigan Police Department has matched the $5,000 reward the AAPD initially offered, as is indicated in the story above, which was updated with that information just after 2 p.m. Monday when U-M police made the announcement.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:42 a.m.

One possibility explaining U of M's "lack of reward money" is: Mr. DeWolf is not bin Laden (who had a $25 million price on his head and still managed to evade both military and civilian police agencies for years). Besides: those putting up these two rewards "probably" know what will be enough to prompt someone to come forth with a tip or critical piece of evidence.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 7:54 p.m.

Money could be coming from the family as well as other people but it's probably best represented by the AAPD so that any info goes directly to them.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 7:53 p.m.

Was he shot from outside the basement through a window, or from inside? Are they looking for info on things in the area around the house that day or the night before? or are they looking for info about inside the house? I parked near this house to go to top of the park stuff and there were people loitering in the back of that parking lot going down toward the river, maybe those people that hang out there know something. I am surprised that I haven't seen more info about what is going on.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:06 a.m.

Police don't talk much about unsolved crimes. Daily updates don't happen--unless its the police being targeted. Then its a million dollar reward--which they try to wiggle out of once they get the guy they were looking for.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

You're right. I would fully expect the police to send out a press release each day stating exactly what steps they are taking to investigate this crime. It's really shocking that they haven't called you and given you all the details; they might even learn something from your insights regarding the proper steps to take.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

Do they really have no leads? No possible suspects? How is that possible?


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 4:37 a.m.

You seem to be asking out of legitimate desire to know. I can only tell you (partly from actual experience) that having "leads" and "suspects" does not automatically mean that arrests are imminent. They may be days, weeks or even years away. The reward is really meant to "encourage" people who may know something to come forward. It's one thing to "suspect my friend was up to something that night" but it's another thing to get that person to make the connection and come forth. Notice too: the police are releasing very little about what they actually have in evidence. They may have a very strong belief that a specific person was the perp but lack some element which would enable an arrest or at least help them pressure the suspect.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

Has the Air force made another matching award?


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

I hope they find the man/woman who did this heinous act. Nothing will bring this promising young man back, but I would hope finding who did this would give the family some closure.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

Is it normal for police departments to offer rewards themselves? How do they decide which homicide case they will contribute rewards to? I always assumed it was families that would offer rewards. This is a sincere question.


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

Unsolved murders of young people, where there is precious evidence to go on, often generate rewards, normally small ones like this. The U of M match is well done. The "tip lines" are funded reward programs, this is just getting PR due to the timing, location and the community horror over it (correctly so).


Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 12:11 a.m.

The law is said to be blind but in the real world, it sure doesn't seem it works that way. That is why the lady holding the scales of justice is blindfolded, everybody is to be treated equally. Too bad many seem to have forgotten that part.