Man charged with murder of Kalamazoo woman

A file mug shot of Joseph Janssen.


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A 25-year-old man was arraigned on an open murder charge in the death of a 62-year-old Kalamazoo woman whose body was discovered in her home over the weekend.

Joseph Christopher Janssen of Kalamazoo was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in the death of Debra Susan Jean.

Police in Kalamazoo are investigating a homicide at a home in the 200 block of Edgemoor Avenue. (June 8, 2015)
(Police in Kalamazoo investigating a homicide at a home in the 200 block of Edgemoor Avenue on June 8, 2015.)

Jean’s body was discovered around 11:30 a.m. Sunday at her home in the 200 block of Edgemoor Avenue in Kalamazoo. Just before 5 p.m. Monday, the Kalamazoo Crime Lab arrived on scene. Investigators were only at the home for about 45 minutes.

Police say the investigation and autopsy revealed Jean had been murdered in her home, but they did not immediately release any information about the victim’s cause of death.

Officers say they found Jean’s body after doing a welfare check, and it appears that she died several days ago.

According to Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety’s website, Janssen is not related to Jean.

Michigan State Police records show Janssen has a criminal history dating back to 2009 that includes a few misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace, malicious destruction of property and larceny, as well as felony charges of breaking into a vehicle, resisting and obstructing an officer causing injury and being a habitual offender. He pleaded guilty to all those charges.

24 Hour News 8 asked neighbors about the victim, but most didn’t know her. They said she was quiet and mostly kept to herself.

People who live there say it’s a nice, quiet neighborhood.

“This is a quiet neighborhood. You don’t get these kinds of things here. All the people are friendly, walking around, walking with their dogs, their kids; and to find out that this is a homicide, it’s pretty concerning,” said Jerome Payne, who lives just a few houses down the street.

Police told neighbors they should not be concerned for their safety.

If you have any information about this case, call Kalamazoo Public Safety at 269.337.8994 or Silent Observer at 269.343.2100.

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