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Posted on Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

Homicide confirmed in University of Michigan medical student's death

By Kyle Feldscher

University of Michigan medical student Paul DeWolf's death has been ruled a homicide, records show.

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Paul DeWolf

DeWolf died from a single gunshot wound to the neck, his death certificate shows. “The decedent was shot by another person,” the death certificate states. The time of death is unknown.

DeWolf was found dead July 24 in his basement room in the Phi Rho Sigma medical fraternity in the 200 block of North Ingalls Street. Police have said since July 25th that they were investigating the case as a homicide.

The time of injury and time of death are listed as unknown on the certificate, which was obtained through a request to the Washtenaw County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Dr. Jeffrey Jentzen, Washtenaw County chief medical examiner, said Friday the case is still under investigation.

U-M homicide investigation continues

Police continue to investigate the death of a U-M medical student

“We’re working with the Ann Arbor Police Department,” he said.

Ann Arbor police Detective Lt. Robert Pfannes said earlier this week that a toxicology report was being done by the medical examiner’s office. That’s a normal part of their investigation, he said.

Ann Arbor police detectives are leading the investigation into DeWolf’s death, with assistance from the United States Air Force and the University of Michigan Police Department. DeWolf was a second lieutenant in the Air Force and was a reservist planning to enter the service after graduation.

The Schoolcraft, Mich., native was planning to be a surgeon when he graduated in May. He was a 2010 graduate of Grand Valley State University.

DeWolf did not show up for a scheduled assignment at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System on the morning of July 24. Per U-M medical school policy, a colleague was sent to check on him at his home when he didn’t respond to phone calls. That colleague found him dead and called police.

DeWolf’s room was not out of order and no valuables appeared to be stolen. No firearm was found at the scene.

DeWolf was buried at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Mich. after his funeral on Monday.

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



Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 4:36 a.m.

Teenboy? Homeboys? Figured out the crime and how to solve it, didja Piney? AAPD, step aside. Piney is on the case! Just try not to mess up the crime scene for him, OK?


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 4:30 a.m.

Stevie Wonder is boycotting Ann Arbor & all away UM football games.


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

Why would Stevie go to a football game?


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 3:51 a.m.

First of all, Paul was a Good Guy, USAF officer and I Mourn his Death! Now, let us turn to the Medical School/Hospital Behemoth, Fat with Multi-Million Dollars of Federal Grants. Deeply Concerned about the "Face" they present to the public. Hey Dudes: Post a $10,000 (or more) Reward for tips leading to the conviction of the murderer! I predict it will be a teenboy intruder who panicked when confronted, in a friendly manner, by Paul. This is the type of crime that his homeboys will known about and rat him out for the money. Although Premeditated (he brought a gun to the confrontation), it is obvious that Prosecuting Attorney Brian Mackie will plead him out to 2nd Degree Homicide = 20 year Minimum Sentence. Case closed. Paul: RIP.


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

The suggestion to offer a reward for information is very good. The reward if claimed; is most likely to go to a person who belongs to the University community.


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 8:23 a.m.

"Although Premeditated (he brought a gun to the confrontation..." Oh really? So you know the perp and he told you all of this? Where'd he buy the gun? Shouldn't you at least phone the Daily Planet and let Clark Kent know about this? And maybe you'd better consult with Perry Mason on the 'premeditated" part before you say you predict the murder was the result of a CHANCE ENCOUNTER with Mr. DeWolf. (No one has ever "premeditated" a chance encounter, hee-hee!)


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 3:17 a.m.

I am from Ann Arbor, watch CSI, and know more about solving crime than the cops, therefore I am.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

This tragedy will not change my perception about the City of Ann Arbor. The chances of getting killed by an unknown intruder in one's own home are extremely remote. The City is a safe, and peaceful place to live and work. People can safely walk on the streets, alone, and unarmed, even during the middle of the night. There were some sporadic attacks on women, and on students in the central campus while the majority of people are very friendly, and helpful. Even the burglars, and vandals do not attack people, and they tend to simply run away if spotted by others. I never felt threatened, and have never thought of purchasing a gun for my personal protection in spite of the fact that I had used guns during my military service. This act of violence as reported in this story could be an unfortunate relationship issue and I do not think that a potentially dangerous criminal is walking on the streets of Ann Arbor.


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

@Tru2Blu76: Thanks for that response. I am sharing the factual experience of the life that I live in Ann Arbor since 1986. During these years, I had the opportunity to meet a variety of residents at their homes and speak to them in person while conducting door to door canvass on in support of a non-profit organization. I had also provided services to an investigative agency that investigates burglar/fire/other alarm events at private properties. My concern about self-protection has never motivated me to purchase a gun even while I had physically encountered burglars on several occasions. We have to be careful while we evaluate risks to life and I am suggesting that the fact that I am alive today speaks about the safe, social environment.


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 8:15 a.m.

You're right - only a few people get murdered in Ann Arbor and then - only once in their lives. Makes us all feel a lot better. It's also great to live in a town where everyone takes your attitude, which amounts to "Geez, isn't it great that my chances of dying like those few other people have are so small that I can ignore all the rules of self protection and just ride my ignorance into the grave?"


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

It must be heart-rending for his loved ones not to know what occurred.


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 1:45 a.m.

and frustrating. i know these things take time but not knowing what happened would be so hard.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 8:08 a.m.

Let's consider a teenboy with a gun, figures he can go in thru unlocked door, snoop around for things to steal. Decedent confronts him, perhaps in a friendly "what's up?" manner. Teenboy panics. Gun goes off. Teenboy exits. Minus the gun, the same thing happened to me in a fraternity house years ago. The intruder turned tail and ran. I was a teen myself and just scratched my head thinking "I wonder why he came into the house?" When you're young and come from a trusting family background, things like teenboy intruders can baffle you. "Why did he do that?"


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 12:01 a.m.

I have not encountered a thief or a vandal who carried a gun. Most often, they enter a building through a door or window left open, or not properly secured. A forced entry is made, if the intruder thinks that the building is not occupied at that time. When I had physically encountered such people, I was never confronted, or threatened. If I am alive today, I must admit that I am fortunate not to encounter a burglar/vandal who would prefer to use violence to get away with their criminal act.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

@PattyinYpsi. "Teenboy" = a male btwn the age of 13 and 19. "Teengirl" = a female btwn the age of 13 and 19. BYW, why doesn't anyone like my theory of the crime? The odds are strong that what I related above is what happened. Think about it . . .


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

What's a teenboy? Never heard the word before, and Googling comes up empty.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 3:38 a.m.

"DeWolf died from a single gunshot wound to the neck, his death certificate shows. "The decedent was shot by another person,"" Wait, so he didn't shoot himself, then hide the gun?


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 3:09 a.m.

Having lived in the basement of Phi Rho Sigma (and on the second and third floor) many years ago this story sends an absolute chill down my spine. My condolences to Mr. DeWolf's family. I can provide some information about the house. July is a month when Phi Rho Sigma (known to us as Phi Rho) is much quieter than normal. During much of the year there are about 32 medical students living in the house, most medical students (occasionally the house had to rent a room to a graduate student when it couldn't fill up with medical students) and roughly 50-50 male-female. However, during July and early August the house is much, much quieter. Most of the first year medical students are away on vacation and the new first year medical students have yet to arrive. So basically, you have mostly upper classmen in the house who are extremely busy doing clinical rotations, many of them pulling 24 hours shifts in the hospital and returning to the house exhausted. The house has a cook, but if memory serves me, the cook is usually gone in the summer. When I lived in Phi Rho, the front and back door security was not always super great. There is a parking lot at the back of the Tudor house and there is a back door that grants easy access to the first and basement levels. There are also ground level windows to most of the basement rooms. There is of course a front door as well and when I lived in the house in the late 90s the doors were unlocked during the day much. Most of the time someone ensured that the doors were shut and locked at night, but there were occasions, once in a blue moon, when a door was left open.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

Actually, I think I am mistaken...there are only 2 single rooms and 1 double in the basement. One single room faces the back parking lot and the other single and the double face Catherine Street. The single basement room that faces the back parking lot has a window that looks out into the sunken cement stairs that lead down from the parking lot to the back door. When you open the back door you can go up a few stairs to the main foyer on the first floor or down a few stairs to the basement. Forgive me, it's been 13 years since I lived there.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 3:10 a.m.

More about the basement (I had to use an addendum as there is a character limit to the posts) : the basement level has 4 rooms if I recall, 3 singles and one double. The rooms are quite small. The basement also houses the study area which has multiple study areas and a computer. There is also a furnace, the laundry room and a storage area in the basement. There is also a very small library of medical texts. There is not a lot of value in the basement with the exception of the computer and of course, whatever people have in their rooms. The study area in the basement was used frequently (of course, we're medical students). Another thing about the basement at Phi Rho: it is a dark place...even during the day, the lighting is generally poor and the hallways are dark with the exception being the study room if people are in there using it.Anyway, this is all I can write right now. This is just awful. The feeling that "this could have been me" is an icky, awful feeling and I hope the police solve this tragedy. Again, my deepest condolences to the family.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 1:40 a.m.

A creep murdered an Officer of the United States Air Force. Now the USAF Officer of Special Investigations (OSI) is on the case. The OSI will Never Give Up. I have great respect for the USAF OSI. They have immediate access - all red tape cut - to cell phone, email info (direct line to NSA). They will nail this creep! OSI earned its wings working for General Curtis LeMay, Cmdr of SAC, later Chief of Staff of USAF. LeMay Demanded the Best, and that is what USAF OSI Investigators are! After Pilots, an OSI assignment is the most sought after in the Air Force.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.

It is a terrible, tragic loss for family and friends and indeed our society, my heart goes out to them. And horrifyingly from what has been printed here it appears to have been a killing by someone he knew or someone who snuck in to specifically kill him. There was no struggle and nothing was stolen, there was no blood (the police did not know the cause until the autopsy). One bullet to the back of the neck, spine severed, death instant and no bleeding. A cold hearted premeditated assassination. I am glad the Air Force is involved they will never give up


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 2:23 a.m.

Is this information factual or speculation? It seems this information has not been released.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 1:32 a.m.

You got that Right what4! The USAF Office of Special Investigations (OSI) will Never Give Up. The perp murdered a USAF officer! That's all that needs to be said. I have great respect for the USAF OSI. They have immediate access - all red tape cut - to cell phone, email info (direct line to NSA). They will nail this creep! OSI earned its wings working for General Curtis LeMay, Cmdr of SAC, later Chief of Staff of USAF. LeMay Demanded the best, and that is what USAF OSI Investigators are!

Honest Abe

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

You people sure love hitting the "Vote Down" button. Get over yourselves.....


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

Ourselves or "yourself". Obviously your posts are very speculative and have no value to other readers or they wouldn't be voted down.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

Is the perp reading this comments board? Could the perp be making posts?


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 3:27 a.m.

@BhavanaJagat. I agree. If the perp is posting on this board, I should like to have his insight and motives. Having worked with the USAF Office of Special Investigations (OSI), I fully Expect them to contact every one of us who has posted on this board and interview us! They can find us thru NSA, by-passing No stone unturned. Dig?


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

I would welcome the person to join the discussion, and if lucky, the comment posted would not be killed by the moderator.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 11:54 p.m.

Let's speculate on who it could be. I'm betting it's ....oh, never mind, he would just deny it.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 11:17 p.m.

Is it being suggested this person shot himself and then hid the gun before he died?


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 9:46 p.m.

Amazing! Kyle ran a story the other day stating that this guy was killed on the night before he was found. I questioned it and I was attacked in this forum. NOW the truth comes out and I was right. Perhaps all of the know nothing bloggers will put a sock in their mouth before opening it. As they say, if we suspect you are dumb, why then open your mouth and remove all doubt?


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

As if the conjecture here had any significance at all. Sheesh.

Honest Abe

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

JBK- Everyone understood it, BUT you.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 11:19 p.m.

Don't let it get to you man...I was spot on about the BHO house explosion, and all I got was downvotes and attacked...both before and after. Just rest easy in the fact that plenty of people still had a fine meal of crowpie.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 11 p.m.

Kyle - Perhaps my comment was either not posted clearly enough to understand or it was misunderstood. I was questioning the presumption that the title to the story was suggesting. The title was not clear (IMO). In any event, water under the bridge.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 10:11 p.m.

JBK - No, JBK, you said the time of death was the previous night. He was dead before 11:30 am, which is when police were called, but we don't know at exactly what time the incident happened. There's a wide time frame.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

C 'mon, it's been like TEN days! This would have been into reruns already if it were on TV. Hasn't anyone called in Patrick Jane? Or One of those others hotshot investigators? We all know the questions to ask and some seem to think the local authorities DON'T. I know--Adrian Monk!!


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 9:21 p.m.

This is such a tragedy. This news will only make it worse for the family. All I can do is continue to send blessings to this young man's family and friends.

Kevin McNulty

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

I am quite struck by how many people ask so many questions that only the police would know. It must by frustrating for you Kyle. While I understand that journalists seek as much info as they can, there is very important reasons the police do not release information on major cases, particularly when the offender is not in custody. This is why one key exception to the FOIA law is open investigations, exempt to release of documents so that an investigation is not compromised. Also as we see in exhorbinant media coverage of some cases that garner national attention, release of too much information could affect a jury pool. The more info put out, the more the offender can learn and that could result in either the destruction of existing evidence or flight. AAPD is an excellent agency and they will put their best effort into this. Let them do their job. They will release information when it is appropriate to do so.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 8:53 p.m.

There are little to no stray bullets in Ann Arbor and as I read it he lived in a basement unit.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

But it does happen! About a year ago I found a hollow point copper jacket .38 on my neighbor's sidewalk. The hollow point was packed with dirt indicating that it came in contact to the ground with significant velocity.

Hi, Hello

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

please, dear God, help them to find out who did this to Paul. Help it to be soon.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

The facts as I understand them (a well-liked victim with no apparent enemies, no signs of forced entry, no signs of a struggle, no signs of ransacking, no missing valuables, a single fatal gunshot wound, no gun found at the scene) are consistent with a stray-bullet accident. I assume the investigators thought of that possibility and then inspected the victim's apartment (walls, windows, doors, etc.) very thoroughly, looking for a hole or other evidence of a bullet entering the apartment from the outside.


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 12:08 a.m.

The bullet was more likely fired inside the basement room and not from outside.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

I wonder if they have considered an accidental discharge of a friend or visitors firearm. Maybe they can't find motive because there was none. There was no signs of a break in and if it was premeditated it's likely that he would have been shot in an area other than the neck.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

What are the circumstances surrounding his personal and family life? Extra curricular activities and/or teams etc?

Hi, Hello

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

he had a great family life, loving parents and siblings, and church family.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 7:31 p.m.

How many pages of information do we think the combined forces of AAPD, UM, and the Air Force have now gathered...and continue to this case....? It does seem very helpful that the different jurisdictions involved are now communicating as part of a team...hopefully allowing much easier access to and integration of all the important sources of information.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

This is such a strange and unusual case. It certainly doesn't sound at all like an instance of a potential burglar being surprised, panicking, and shooting the person living there. It seems much more likely to be someone he knew somehow. It may take a while for the investigators to track down who it was that may have had a motive to kill him. But, my condolences go to his family and friends on this tragedy.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 7:14 p.m.

I never heard---was it forced entry? This is too weird. It seems like someone he knew from school or whatever might have a clue as to his personal life situation that might give some insight .

shadow wilson

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 6:15 p.m.

A reward will flush out the alleged perp here. Someone knows something obviously and cash has a way of allowing that knowledge to spread.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 8:39 p.m.

I do not know how you could possibly assume that with "obviously." If there was one perp who walked in, committed the crime while no one saw him enter or exit there could be a good chance no one saw anything.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 5:34 p.m.

Do they really not have any suspects at all, or are they just hesitant to say at this point???


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

Were there any defensive wounds, bruises or other sign of a struggle? Was there any material under his fingernails that might yield DNA? Was he wearing a watch or other jewelry that might have a fingerprint? Did they get a core body temperature, which would give a good idea of the time of death? Was there a pillow or other object that may have been used to muffle the sound of the gunshot? When will the autopsy be released? Will it be like the EMU case where they keep the autopsy under wraps indefinitely?


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

AAPD and the Medical Examiner have added confusion while releasing information about this tragic incident. It displays a lack of confidence in their ability to conduct a professional inquiry.

Ann English

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

Mick52, It caught my attention this morning to see that this news story was on CNN. CNN had better keep information the police know and can use to find the killer under wraps.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 8:37 p.m.

The reason evidence including autopsy reports should be kept by the police from the public is that if the offender is still at large, you do not want him to be able to find out what the police know by reading it in the media. If they read there is very incriminating evidence, it may cause flight and make it harder to apprehend.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 6:11 p.m.

trespass - These would all things that would be in the autopsy report, which I have requested. As stated in the story, there is a toxicology report going on, so it could still be a matter of weeks until it is released. No specific dates have been told to me at this point and Dr. Jentzen directed further questions to the AAPD earlier today.

Widow Wadman

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

Thanks for providing the update, Kyle.

Honest Abe

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

Is there a way to find out if the victim had any type of firearm background, including any current or past ownership? Have the Police mentioned if anything was missing from the home? Sadly, homicides happen all the time in this country, but this one is a bit unusual, considering everything.

Honest Abe

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 11:55 p.m.

Any word on what caliber of weapon was used?


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

He was in the Air Force, so not necessarily much.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

Since he was in the military, I would imagine it would be safe to assume that there was some firearms background.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

Abe....the only way would be if he had a Michigan legal or a handgun registered in another state.Most states don't require registering handguns and as far as I know no states ( other than perhaps New Jersey and California ) require registering long guns or shotguns

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 6:09 p.m.

Abe- To this point, I have not been told of any items that were missing from the room. I am not sure if Paul had a CPL or anything like that.

Honest Abe

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

I know the article says no valuables were taken, but that does not clarify if anything at all, valuable or not, was taken.