PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Police say a man found dead at a southwest Michigan home early last week has been dead for almost a year. A family members says there’s a reason the death went unnoticed for so long.
Phillip Feek Jr., 49, was found dead in a home in the 53000 block of Buckhorn Road north in Park Township, north of Three Rivers, early last week.
His body was discovered after a neighbor suspected a break-in and called 911.
“When they (the suspected thieves) opened that shed door and left it open, that’s what triggered everything,” neighbor Debbie Woehrmyer said.
The house where Feek’s body was found belonged to his mother and stepfather, both of whom died about a year ago, 24 Hour News 8 was told.
“We understood it was a vacant house,” Woehrmyer said.
She and her husband moved in to a neighboring house last September, a month before police say Feek died.
Woehrmyer had noticed unusual activity at the other residence — the same light on for weeks, the garage door open for days then suddenly closed, no sign of a car — but she brushed it off.
“I just presumed it was a family member that was taking care of the house,” she said.
Then she saw a suspicious red pickup truck and the open shed.
“I called in what I thought to be a breaking and entering at the time, then come to find out it blew into something much more,” she said.
Michigan State Police say they found things missing from the home. They also found Feek’s body.
“That’s when everything just went crazy,” Woehrmyer said.
An autopsy revealed that Feek had been dead since last October.
“How does someone go missing for nine months and nobody know about it?” Woehrmyer wondered.
Feek’s half-brother said it was easy in his case because Fleek had been in and out of lockup.
“We’d just assume he’s in prison,” said Feek’s half-brother, Shane Feek.
His half-brother never had a close relationship with Feek and neither did the rest of the family. He says his brother moved around and family members rarely kept tabs on him.
Shane Feek says he doesn’t know what happened to his half-brother, but he was not surprised to learn about Phillip Feek’s death.
“I kind of expected it, knowing his past,” he said.
Due to the length of time he has been dead, Feek’s body has been sent to an anthropologist for examination. Authorities hope to have a preliminary cause of death by the end of the week.
Police say an excess amount of alcohol was found in the home where he died, but it’s unclear whether that is connected to his death.
MSP is investigating Feek’s death as suspicious, though it is not currently seeking any suspects.
Police also say they have found the owner of the red pickup truck Woehrmyer noticed. That owner contacted MSP and claimed to be house hunting and checking out the house. An interview with the owner is scheduled for later this week.