Search continues for killer of 80-year-old

Alan Nelson was found murdered in his Sidney Township home.

SIDNEY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Family members of an 80-year-old man who was killed in his home earlier this week are making funeral arrangements.

Michigan State Police say Alan Dale Nelson was found killed in his home in Sidney Township, west of Stanton, late Monday afternoon. A lieutenant in charge of the investigation told 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday that an autopsy has been completed, but the cause of death is not being released at this time.

Lance Cutler, a grandson of Nelson, said he found out about the murder of his grandfather earlier this week after his mother called him.

“I think there’s no reason why somebody would bother an 80-year-old man who’s living on the lake and keeping to himself,” Cutler said.

Cutler said Nelson had been living in the small community off Nevins Lake for nearly 20 years.

“He lived on the lake, enjoying where he grew up and where he lived his entire life and he was from my understanding a great member of the community,” said Cutler.

Alan Nelson and his grandson Lance Cutler. (Undated courtesy photo)
(Nelson and his grandson Cutler in an undated courtesy photo.)

Cutler can recall memories with his grandfather as far back to when he was just 2 years old.

“I have a picture of us in the kitchen with me in a booster seat and he had given me a whole big bowl of chocolate pudding and he smeared it all over my face,” Cutler said.

He described Nelson as a family-oriented man. In recent years, Cutler said, his family would visit Nevins Lake to spend time with Nelson.

“We’re kind of spread out across the country, so when we go to Michigan, that’s what we would do; we would visit grandpa so just his presence and not having that option to go visit him is what I will miss the most,” said Cutler.

Cutler said his family never would have imagined a murder would happen in his grandfather’s neighborhood.

“You hear stories of things like this happening occasionally, but the apparent randomness of it and the location is just very unnerving, not only for me as a family member but that community I’m sure as a whole,” Cutler told 24 Hour News 8.

MSP says it is investigating whether Nelson’s death is connected to recent burglaries in nearby lake communities of Montcalm County.

A resident who lives off of Dickerson Lake, about two miles from Nevins Lake, said there have been burglaries in their area and the residents are living in fear.

“It’s quiet here. I’ve never heard it be this bad. It’s terrible, it scares me and it scares my kids,” said the woman, who did not want to be identified.

The woman said break-ins started happening in her area a few weeks ago and have been spreading to nearby communities.

“It’s like they knew what they were doing so they thought it was nobody in the homes, being it this late in the season. Nobody is home usually,” she said.

The woman told 24 Hour News 8 that her community has been shaken up by the crimes.

“You got a lot of old people that are worried now, that don’t even go out because of this, and I’ve seen it the last couple of days, people just hiding. They don’t know what’s going on and the break-ins are just getting worse,” she said.

Anyone with information on the homicide or burglaries is asked to call the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post at 989.352.8444.

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