Ottawa Co. murder suspect’s court date pushed back

Wendell Earl Popejoy's mug shot.

CROCKERY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A man accused of killing his Ottawa County neighbor will be facing charges Tuesday.

Authorities said 63-year-old Wendell Popejoy is being held without bond in jail pending his arraignment for the alleged murder of his neighbor, 59-year-old Sheila Bonge. Popejoy was originally expected to be arraigned Saturday.

Bonge was found dead Thursday night behind her home in the 14000 block of 104th Avenue in Crockery Township, east of Grand Haven. She had last been heard from on Christmas day and last seen the day before.

She shared a driveway with her alleged killer for at least the last five years.

Neighbors said Bonge was a difficult neighbor to deal with.

“I try to avoid her at all costs,” said Bryan Gould, who lives nearby.

Neighbors described Popejoy as a good neighbor who often was willing to help everyone and frequently advised tolerance for Bonge when others were upset with her. However, family and friends of Bonge described her as a loving woman with a great sense of humor.

On Friday, police said they were working a difficult scene because of the snow, which made work more difficult for the K-9 units attempting to track the scene.

As the investigation continued, it became apparent to investigators they were dealing with a homicide and an arrest was made shortly thereafter. Police have yet to discuss what led them to believe it was a homicide or why Popejoy has been arrested.

“I’m not gonna get into confessions or investigation that led us to this part to lodge that individual and the prosecutor is comfortable with the charge at this point,” said Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department Cpt. John Wolffis.