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Posted on Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

U-M medical student homicide investigation: Ann Arbor neighbors stunned by death

By Kyle Feldscher


Ann Arbor police detectives are investigating the death of Paul DeWolf, who was found dead on Wednesday. Police are investigating his death a homicide, shocking neighbors in the predominantly student-filled area.

Melanie Maxwell |

UPDATE: Autopsy: University of Michigan medical student student died from single gunshot wound

The 200 block of North Ingalls Street is a leafy neighborhood, just outside the hustle and bustle of Ann Arbor’s State Street district.

The porches of the large homes make for good study and relaxation spots for the students who live in the large rental homes and apartments that line the street.

“Nothing ever happens here, really,” said Gabriela Granados.

But, now that a police car is posted near a home at the corner of North Ingalls and Catherine Street, that quiet has a sort of eerie edge.

On Wednesday, 25-year-old Paul DeWolf, a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force and a University of Michigan medical student who was set to graduate in May, was found dead in his room. DeWolf was a 2010 graduate of Grand Valley State University and a Schoolcraft, Mich., native.

After more than 24 hours of investigation, police said Thursday they are investigating his death as a homicide.


Paul DeWolf

Facebook photo

Taylor Paquette and Katie Pavelich, Flint-area natives who attend U-M, were sitting on their porch just after 6 p.m. Thursday, books and pages of notes open in front of them. They reacted with shock when told police are investigating DeWolf’s death as a homicide.

“That’s so scary,” Paquette said repeatedly.

Pavelich said she’s lived in her house down the block from the Phi Rho Sigma fraternity where DeWolf lived for three years, but doesn’t know any of the students who live there. The residents are all medical students, who rarely have time to do the sort of things that make neighbors notice them, she said.

“We don’t really know them,” Pavelich said.

As with most neighborhoods close to the university’s campus, students occupy most of the housing on North Ingalls. Pavelich said there’s a mix of undergraduate and graduate students on the block — more undergrads on the south end and more graduates as the street goes north.

The quiet street hasn’t been so quiet since DeWolf was reported dead at noon on Wednesday. Ann Arbor police detectives were around the area much of Wednesday afternoon and patrol vehicles were stationed on the street on two different occasions when reporters went to the area Thursday.

Satellite trucks from TV news stations have been parked in the area as well, Paquette and Pavelich said.

Granados, a recent graduate, has lived on the street for nearly a full year. She said the residents in Phi Rho Sigma usually keep to themselves and she was shocked to learn there had been a homicide near her house.

“We’re absolutely stunned,” she said when asked about how she and her roommates had reacted to seeing investigators in their neighborhood Wednesday.

The investigation into DeWolf’s death continues and police expect to release more information on Friday, according to a statement released Thursday evening.

A police investigation began about noon Wednesday and University of Michigan police released a crime alert just before 11 that night.

Police said DeWolf failed to arrive for a scheduled assignment at the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital Wednesday morning. The hospital sent a colleague to the home to check on him, and that person discovered DeWolf had died. Police were immediately called following that discovery.

The residents who spoke to had far more questions about what happened on Wednesday than answers. Pavelich and Paquette said they didn’t notice anything unusual Wednesday morning or hear anything during the nighttime hours.

“It’s just so quiet here,” Paquette said.

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


Tom Joad

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9:35 p.m.

It shouldn't escape anyone's notice that the proliferation of fireworks from the relaxed fireworks law makes it nearly impossible to distinguish a gun shot from a loud bang caused by a bottle rocket or various other fireworks freely available and routinely set off at night. The 4th of July nights were filled with various booms and bangs with some sounding like gunshots (and perhaps some were). A gunshot may go unreported now as residents in the city may dismiss the sound as being from a loud firecracker.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

"nothing ever happens here" but if you cheek the Ann Arbor crime map you see that something always happens somewhere :( with no speculation on case think of all break-in that happen on campus


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

To the family of Paul. My deepest sympathy and my prayers are with you during these time. To all those people that want to comment about Ann Arbors safety. The only thing I can say is that in todays world, nobody is safe. Many of you do not recall the Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti murders of 1969. The Co-ed murders some called it. Remember, always keep an eye open and an ear listening for anything that may be there. Be safe my neighbors.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 5:14 p.m.

We have a breaking story on this case coming in minutes. Will link to it in this story when it is published.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

Here's the link for anyone that may have missed it:

Honest Abe

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

Let's also keep in mind that most situations involving the death of a person of a younger age, who has no known health problems and are found dead, is always treated as a homicide until something otherwise removes that label. Kyle, did AAPD mention anything about toxicology tests?

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

Abe - To this point, we haven't heard about toxicology tests, although speaking to friends it doesn't seem like drugs would be something Paul would be involved in. I'm sure those will be done as a part of the autopsy. I am filing a request for that report as we speak. We are also planning to update the Julia Niswender story soon in the wake of this incident. We'll post something when we're able to get more information.

Honest Abe

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

Kyle or John, This is sad regarding this young man. Especially since Police are calling it a homicide. 2 college homicides within a year and within 10 miles of each other, is sad and scary. Are there any new updates regarding the Niswender case? I know YPD released more info months ago, but this case seems to of hit a brick wall.. Any news helps!


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

A side point-- I'm concerned that residents in the area think that "nothing happens here". In fact, student neighborhoods have much higher rates of burglary and assault than the rest of the city. A simple glance at the monthly crime map in the Ann Arbor Observer will confirm this. Students need to be aware of the higher risk and take appropriate measures. Yes, Ann Arbor is safer than many cities, but it's not "safe".

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 9:29 p.m.

There is one comment of "Nothing happens here". That comment likely indicates that the single person believes nothing dramatic (e.g. murder, rape or violent assaults ) happen in that area. Viewing the Ann Arbor crime maps, that would be correct. That area only has a handful of robberies - no violent crimes. I understand you think people should at least be cognizant that there are risks in life - and I would agree. However, I wouldn't assume that because of one casual comment from a single person that they don't understand the world can have danger nor do I believe that such anomalies such as this tragedy should motivate fear, paranoia or an increase in armaments.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

Jaime: The articles quotes students from the neighborhood saying "nothing happens here". I'm not attributing that attitude to all Ann Arborites, or even to all students, but it clearly exists, and it's dangerously naive.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

Well said.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

Jaime Magiera Thank you very much for your comment. There are so many assumptions about what Ann Arborites think and feel. A side note: A couple of years ago, some girls came home late and all fell asleep with lights on and window unlocked. Someone calmly cleaned them out of their laptops, a phone taken right out of a purse on the floor next to a sleeping girl, and a camera. This need to lock doors and windows on campus is common knowledge, however. Kids will still be careless, but no one was injured. Homicide has, thankfully been rare, and personal injury is often due to an acquaintance. I still vote against fear mongering.

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

How do you know what neighbors there think? How do you know that people in that area aren't aware that there is crime? There aren't homicides in that area. So, the people in the article being surprised at a homicide is not surprising.

EMU Prof

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Maybe Kyle "censors' other media reports because he has a sense of professional responsibility and adheres to a code of ethics that has been largely abandoned by 'journalists' who will pass on any bit of unconfirmed info if it will feed the public's insatiable appetite for salacious details. Anything these days for a few more page clicks. (Remember, not so long ago, the NY Post 'identified' the Boston Bombers--two guys who ended up being completely innocent.) I fear that Kyle is part of a vanishing breed. More's the pity.

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 7:12 p.m.

Seldon, the problem is that even with a disclaimer, unvalidated information is still unvalidated and peoples minds tend to run with it. It's much better to wait until information is validated to prevent undue panic and to avoid the possibility of hindering the investigation via misdirection.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

(And yes, the NY Post really screwed up hugely on that one.)


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:20 p.m.

I think the right approach is to let people post references to other sources, but disclaim them as unreliable.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

Tom - I read that story last night. Incredible piece of journalism; really, really heartbreaking to read. Hard to imagine being that family.

Tom Teague

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

Thank you @EMU Prof. For a really sad story about misidentification -- again, involving one of the Boston Marathon bombers -- search for "Should Reddit Be Blamed for the Spreading of a Smear?" in the July 25 NY Times magazine.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

Thank you. I agree. People can easily google more sensational sources.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

Kyle, help me understand why you would censor comments which quote or reference other media sources.

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 7:06 p.m.

Jimbo, I'd like to direct your attention to the Ann Arbor city crime statistics, which show no homicides in the past few years. Also, please look at the University of Michigan crime statistics, which show no homicides of university members here on campus in over 15 years. For the most part, the University and surrounding areas are quite safe. I think the agendas here are: journalism and sensitivity. That being said, if you can point to statistics that demonstrate significant violence and death in this area, that would be helpful in understanding your point.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

Because Ann Arbor has a mindset that they are somehow above this type of violence, and the local media has an agenda. Disarm the populous and all will be warm and fuzzy.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

ps- Ignore those typos in that last post. It's been a busy few days in the newsroom.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

Seldon- Introducing information that has not been confirmed typically leads to speculation and rumors. While we understand the interest in wanting to discuss every possible scenario and detail that someone may have heard we see take situations like this seriously and see it as a responsibility to the public to provide timely and accurate information and that extends into the comments. If someone has information they are regarding situations like this that they consider worth our reporters looking into please email them directly and they will do their due due diligence.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

So allow the comments, or point people there, but disclaim them as you're doing here. Make it clear that the investigators didn't release them etc. and that this brings their reliability into question. But if something is out in the media elsewhere, it is bizarre to forbid people to talk about it here. What you're doing feels like message control, like you're an arm of the AAPD's media relations office. That's not what you really want to do, is it?

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

Seldon - I've called AAPD investigators about these reports and they've told me that they don't know where those details have come from and that they were not released by the detectives investigating the case. The media report I've seen didn't cite a specific officer or anyone in the department, and that gives me pause.

AA Neighbor

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

Any information that would help residents protect themselves from the murderer? Was there an intrusion, signs of a struggle, robbery? Is this the beginning of an EMU-type incompetent cover up of a crime? N. State neighborhoods are seedy, and there have been reports for years of peeping Toms and break ins there. Unless police have a compelling investigative reason not to reveal more information, i.e., they're closing in and don't want to signal the murderer, the public needs to know more about the crime itself.

Cindy Heflin

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

AA Neighbor: We will report this kind of information as soon as we have it. As Kyle noted in a comment, journalists don't have access to the crime scene to do their own investigation, and police don't always reveal these kinds of details, especially in the early stages of an investigation. We understand the anxiety caused by this event, but sometimes police need time to do their work. We expect more information soon.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

There have been commenters posting details that other media organizations are reporting. I've seen these reports and investigators told me yesterday they were not immediately confirming those details. More information on Paul's death is expected today and I'm following up with my sources to get the latest on the investigation. I ask for your patience and to not post any unconfirmed details out of respect for the DeWolf family and Paul's friends. Thanks.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 6:02 p.m.

Jimbo - As of 1:20 p.m., it's being reported by us, as well. As of 1:06 p.m. by me on Twitter.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

As of 1:45 it is being reported by a major news station that he was shot to death. The same media outlet is reporting that there were also two armed robberies in recent days on campus. I guess I am over reacting.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

Thynkin Consider having a little faith that in this world of infinite information, you too, will be told what you need to know. If you are freaking out, just google a little. Sorry but the demanding criticisms are incredibly tiresome.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

"Unfortunately, by keeping everyone uninformed, we are left to our sometimes wild speculations." are.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

Lets hope the police are holding back info because it is looking like the victim knew his attacker and they feel a need to be careful regarding the sensitivity of the investigation. If on the other hand, it looks like a random crime such as a burglary gone wrong or a scary scenario from a criminal minds tv script then you would hope they would warn the community to take precautions. Unfortunately, by keeping everyone uninformed, we are left to our sometimes wild speculations.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Kyle Thank you for your work and caution. The articles are appropriate. There is no need for unconfirmed details. If there was evidence of a threat to the general public such that everyone should take precautions, then the police would have told us.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Thynkin - I'm talking to as many people as I can about this case and am in the process of filing requests with the Medical Examiner's Office for the autopsy report. We went to the home yesterday and were sent away, so it's not as if we can just go in and inspect the crime scene. I'm tracking down leads and information as much as I can at this point and more information should be coming today.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

Are you forbidden from doing some investigating yourself? Or is your job to merely repost what the police offers to the all of the media?


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Thanks Kyle..well said.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

This is so tragic. He had so much to give to the world. Medical school and Air Force. Thank you for all that you gave and we are sorry that you had to leave us so soon. I hope they find the...person who did this. Not right. My prayers to his family and friends.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

So I doubt they've mentioned anything about it...but have they said exactly what it was that has lead them to declare it a homicide yet?


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

Died of a single gunshot wound. No gun present where he died.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

Billy - Not yet. There's more information expected to be released today, possibly as early as this morning.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

Ann Arborites have to realize that their city isn't as safe as they want to believe.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:20 p.m.

clownfish Amen. There are more good comments lately, however..................


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

How do you know what each ann arborite believes? How do you know the general beliefs?

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

"People need to protect themselves and prepare" - this is exactly what I was alluding to in another comment on this article. You're using an anomaly as pretext for weapons and fear - a far more unsafe combination than the act of living in Ann Arbor. Again, the statistics show Ann Arbor is safe. Unless you can prove that "thugs" are "migrating" in any significant fashion, you're just fear-mongering.

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

Also, note that the crime statistics of for the city of Ann Arbor the past few years show virtually no homicides.

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

Overall, it's a safe city. Note that this article focuses on the shock that people feel that this happened in the area. That's because it doesn't usually happen.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

Polecat, maybe so, but until this case has a suspect it may or may not support your claim. A city can have a ton of murders and be relatively safe if every murder is between family or friends based on arguments escalated. Then most folks whose friends have control over their emotions are pretty safe. That would be compared to a city where lots of murders are random.

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 10:59 a.m.

How sad. it sounds like he had done everything right and was so close to his goal. What a waste. My condolences to his family and his friends. We'll keep a good thought for those investigating this tragedy.