You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

Charges pending against adopted daughter in killing of elderly Ann Arbor man

By Sven Gustafson

Updated coverage: Susan Wade held without bond after being charged with stabbing death of elderly father

An Ann Arbor woman with a history of mental illness is suspected in the stabbing death of her adoptive father, an 87 year-old man who was found dead in his home Saturday on the city’s west side, has learned.


Cindy Heflin |

Charges are expected to be filed Monday against Susan Ellen Wade, 48, in the death of Ronald Mason, at his home on the 1700 block of Covington Drive. Wade’s biological daughter, Kristine Crossman, of Adrian, confirmed the details.

“My mother pretty much stabbed my dad and I pretty much broke into the house and found my dad lying on the floor dead,” Crossman said.

Crossman said she considers Mason, who adopted her immediately after she was born and raised her with his late wife, to be her father.

Ann Arbor Police Sgt. Matt Lige said authorities would not release the names of the victim or suspect until an arraignment Monday. Wade was listed as an inmate at the Washtenaw County Jail on Sunday.

Crossman said her mother was schizophrenic and has a history of drug abuse. She had stayed for five days with Mason, who was battling pancreatic cancer.

Crossman said she had taken her 4-year-old daughter over to see Mason on Saturday, when he was due to learn from a doctor whether his cancer therapy program had been successful. She knew her mother was staying there but was going to deliver Mason a get-well card and take him out to dinner.

When she arrived, Crossman said she found all the screen doors locked and the main doors barricaded from within with chairs and tables. Wade was leaning against the doors trying to keep her daughter from entering.

“She had both the doors barricaded. Meaning you could not get in,” Crossman said.

Once she managed to gain entry, Crossman said her mother exclaimed, “I’m a psychotic b----” before leading her to Mason.

There was blood everywhere, Crossman said.

“I just ran out the house because at that point I was just in shock and I was like, I cannot be in this situation right now, I’ve gotta call the police,” she said.

Crossman said her daughter remained in the car while she tried to break into Mason’s home.

“She just kept screaming at the top of her lungs, ‘I wanna see papa, I wanna see papa,’” Crossman said. City records show the home was owned by a trust registered to Mason and his wife, Josephine, who died of cancer several years ago. The couple first purchased it in 1990.

Ronald Mason had planned to travel to Alaska in July, Crossman said.

George Hartman said he knew Ronald Mason and his family and described his neighbor as a good man who took care of his yard. Despite being retired, he continued to work part-time delivering prescription drugs to pharmacies.

“Ron’s dead ... I got lumps in my stomach right now,” Hartman said. “My wife also feels bad about it. He was just a good person and he helped (Kristine), too, and took care of Susan.”

Crossman said Wade has a history of drug abuse and gave her up for adoption by the Masons — Wade’s own adoptive parents — at the hospital immediately after she was born.

“I never considered her my mother because she was never there for me,” Crossman said.

Wade's brother, who lives in Alabama, was also adopted by the Masons, she said.

Hartman said he had seen Wade at Mason’s home several times during the past week.

“I’ve seen her,” said Hartman, 78. “She used to come and talk to me a little bit once in a while as my friend. She was a heavy smoker and she didn’t come in the house, she would sit on the deck and talk.

“She loved her daddy. When he wasn’t around, she said, ‘You know where my daddy is?’ I said no, I don’t. She loved her daddy, but… she’s just a mixed-up person.”

Lige said police interviewed several people about the incident and had collected several pieces of evidence. Another neighbor told they saw police cruisers at the residence on Sunday, along with television news crews.

Residents describe the neighborhood, just south of Dicken Elementary School, as quiet and made up mostly of senior citizens with a sprinkling of families with younger children.

“It’s like the Garden of Eden,” said Thomas Simon, who lives a block away on Barrington Place and was returning from a stay in the hospital Saturday when he saw the commotion down the street.

“It’s very quiet and clean. I don’t know what happened, but things like this will happen anywhere, I guess. I’m very pleased with the neighborhood, the neighbors. The city gives us great service.”

Crossman said her mother deserves to be locked up indefinitely.

“We’re going to do whatever we can to make sure she’s put away for the rest of her life,” Crossman said. “I don’t ever want to see her again.”

View Larger Map

Previous coverage: Woman in custody as Ann Arbor police investigate death of 86-year-old man

Contact freelancer Sven Gustafson at sventg123(at)gmail(dot)com, or follow him on Twitter.



Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

I didn't know Ron on a personal level, only some small talk between his sorting of his prescription deliveries for Wenk' Prescription shop. He was our store's image to the public for many a year and, to many, the only face of the store that they knew. He knew his people and they knew him. His devotion to his job was heartwarming. One only had to watch him as he prepared his routings and prioritizing his prescription deliveries, not only professionally but with a loving devotion, a characteristic not too common today. His scheduling would be like clockwork. His life actions speak for themselves, such as adoting a child, and his Grace was his character. What I find reprehensible is this conversation of the reporter's writing skills rather than that of the families loss, find another format to vent those remarks. For an Octogenarian, he outworked those 1/2 his age. God Bless his Soul and May His memory be eternal. My name is Nicholas S. Stamos, Pharmacist at Wenk's Prescription shop and I don't hide behind some anonymous name


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

I find this happening very sad, even depressing and disturbing. Subheaders would have helped guide readers through the various parts of this story but I find it otherwise understandable. Except for one sentence: "Crossman said Wade has a history of drug abuse and gave her up for adoption by the Masons — Wade's own adoptive parents — at the hospital immediately after she was born." First there's an unnecessary repetition of Wade's alleged drug abuse history, then an "attempt" to revisit the adoptive relationships which, to my mind, fails and is really confusing. I don't mean to brag, but my reading comprehension skills are ranked in the 99th percentile (probably not uncommon in Ann Arbor). If I can't understand it, no average person can. Deadlines are killers of accuracy and meaning, but editorial review is also a standard part of journalistic practice. This article could have been made better, I think.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

Ive watched 2 different news stations which have both reported that police ARE NOT releasing the names of anyone until charges have been brought against the daughter yet you have the names of everyone involved is that?


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

@DBH, It was Mr Mason who was murdered not Wade.

Nick Danger

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 11:45 a.m.

Where did this writer come from.If is trying to improve the quality of journalism they need to hire writers who can write. This article was simply confusing.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

Left me in a tail spin


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 8:01 a.m.

My sincere condlences to the family!

Scott Stuit

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 5:31 a.m.

Normally, I cringe when I read a story in which adoption takes a lead part that might not be a necessary part of that store. That was my first reaction here. However, without the clarification of who is whose biological relative here, the story might imply an incestuous family situation. What a tragedy. Identifying the adoptees does clarify who is who.

tom kundrat

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 2:42 a.m.

Eileen Kundrat - not Tom although he shares in our grief

tom kundrat

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 2:27 a.m.

Watching this man work, while dealing with his own illness, always having a kind word to say to his fellow employees and making sure our customers got their medication, was inspirational to all of us at Wenk's Prescription Shop. We will miss him dearly. Our community has suffered a terrible loss. I will never forget sitting in the bleachers with Ron watching our girls playing basketball together. Our deepest sympathy to you Krissy. You made him proud.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 1:03 a.m.

Poorly written articles seems to be the trademark of I get the feeling after reading the article of a reporter rushing to get a scoop before the police are ready to give out a statement, and interviewing anyone nearby. Then jotting things down in a hurry, jumbling it all together whether it makes sense or not. Mr. Mason was my neighbor, and deserves better than that!!

tom kundrat

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 2:44 a.m.

I couldn't agree more - Eileen Kundrat

Terri Eagen-Torkko

Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

How does the fact of the alleged murderer's adoption play into the story?

Scott Stuit

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 5:25 a.m.

i thought the same thing at first. However, since the victim not only was the adoptive Father of the alleged murderer but also of the Daughter of the alleged murderer, it is an important part of the story. Without the clarification, incest might be speculated.


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

Hollywood my frend!

Dr. Rockso

Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

Please Please Please get some reporters that can write a story that I can read and know what it's about when I get to the end of it.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 11:57 a.m.

This is such a sad story. Our community and the victims families deserve an article and reporting that makes a modicum of sense. This is one of the most poorly written articles I've seen on this site, and that is saying a lot.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 4:19 a.m.

They are to busy hiring people to read, censor, and delete our comments to pay for editors or proof reading. Funny I found this posting seeing as how I have refused to read anything on this site for about 6 weeks now because I was tired of the crap and deleting of comments that DO fit within their own guidelines. I see nothing has changed and I will stay away for quite awhile longer!


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 1:06 a.m.

The way the article is so badly written indicates the calibre of this so called newspaper. It appears it is really nothing more than a blog....


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 12:37 a.m.

Yes. This story is poorly written.

Perry White

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 12:32 a.m.

And while we're at it, in the sentence "She just kept screaming at the top of her lungs, 'I wanna see papa, I wanna see papa,'" Papa should be capitalized.

Terri Eagen-Torkko

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

newmuse, I hear that, but the fact that she's adopted has NOTHING to do with the story, so why not just call her his daughter? That is, after all, who she is.


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

It IS hard to follow. A tricky article to write. Does one start with the familial connections first, or the news about what happened? In this case, I think an early explanation of who is who in the family is warranted, so that a reader can follow the story. Also- is it too much to ask that hire a proofreader who could correct sentences such as "Crossman said Wade has a history of drug abuse and gave her up for adoption by the Masons — Wade's own adoptive parents — at the hospital immediately after she was born." replacing "by" with "to" would have improved the clarity of this article.


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

@Kristine - and I bet you can run a spell checker, too. In the 21st century when the name of your business ends in ".dot-com" you would THINK that they'd be tech-savvy enough to hit the "spell check" button before the "post" button. Heck, you might even be able to set it up to *automatically* check the spelling before posting. Like most of us who are just sending business e-mails do every day.


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 10 p.m.

I thought the same thing, Dr. I applied for a job with when they were starting up. My lack of a degree, I fear, held me back. With my years as an executive secretary and my parochial-school upbringing, however, I do believe I could run circles around some of the whipper-snappers currently working there. Does it matter that I won a spelling bee as a high-school senior? Just askin'.


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

That would be nice. Also, an editor (or at least a decent editor) while you're at it.

Alan Richardson

Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

So sad to hear about Ron. He will be missed.


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

of course this most rare case of extreme violence in Ann Arbor(homicide) but all violence even been seeing over the years in the Ann Arbor area to ypsilanti needs to stop....we can even safer... a model city.


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

What a tragedy. My condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Wade.

Mark Evans

Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

I assume the name is Kristine Crossman, but it makes the article a bit confusing to get through... regardless, a horrible event.


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

@ jwally, still NO Comment here.


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

What a shame to survive to 86 and then be murdered-apparently by a family member!

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.



Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

@RJA An update on this story has been posted. Your comment is.............? I can hardly wait.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

The gloves are off


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

While waiting maybe dnb, dbh & tesla can amuse us with their debate on murders vs homicides.


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

Fox 2 Detroit reports that the victim's daughter is the woman who has been arrested. However nice the neighborhood, family violence can occur anywhere and within a wide variety of circumstances. It is interesting that the police are being quite so circumspect in this case.


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

The police's main job, at this point, is, I would think, to arrest the suspect and gather evidence. Do we, as readers, find it distasteful to know reporters are opportunistically homing in on affected family members so soon after they have experienced and discovered such a tragedy? As a society, should we give people their privacy and let the facts come out when the police release statements? Or is it a greater good when affected family members are interviewed by reporters so that the public is informed sooner?


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

yea we have lot of murder free neighborhoods in ANN aRBOR... to bad this happend