LISTEN: Dispatch releases 911 calls in I-96 murder-suicide

Lisa and David Somers (Photo courtesy: Shelbi Somers)


BOSTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Three calls to 911 are shedding more light on the moments leading up to an apparent murder-suicide on I-96 in Ionia County.

The first call came in at 9:36 p.m. Saturday, minutes before authorities said the shooting happened, killing 50-year-old David Somers and his wife, 50-year-old Lisa Somers.

The man who called 911 said he and his brother were heading east on I-96 and noticed two people standing outside a van on the right shoulder side just west of mile marker 60. That’s near the Nash Highway exit in Boston Township.

I-96, Boston Township, apparent murder-suicide
Photo: The scene of an apparent murder-suicide on I-96 in Boston Township. (Jan. 6, 2018)

“They look like they’re freezing, they’re waiting for help. By the time we noticed, like we drove past them and we couldn’t turn around,” the caller said.

“They didn’t have their lights on. We barely saw them,” the passerby added.

The next call 24 Hour News 8 obtained from the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office through the Freedom of Information Act came nine minutes later, after the shooting happened.

“There is a van on the side of the road that looks like the back hatch is open and things were strewn everywhere. No lights, no nothing. It just looks kind of funny,” the female caller tells a dispatcher at 9:45 p.m.

The caller later clarified that the items were strewn around the van.

“But there is no lights or anything on. It just looks a little suspicious,” she added.

The dispatcher tells her they have someone already on the way to check it out.

In the third and final call placed at 10:05 p.m., a female passerby describes seeing someone who appeared to be seeking help.

“The car’s pulled over and all the lights are off and the back door was open and someone was kind of waving people down. And it looked like they needed help but I’m not sure who to call,” she says.

Like the two callers before her, she doesn’t appear to understand the gravity of what just happened along the highway.

“Somebody was trying to do something with the car like maybe fix it? And somebody was trying to wave people down, but they didn’t have any lights on. Anyways, it looked like they were trying to get help.”

Deputies who arrived on scene said they found a Chevrolet Equinox parked along the highway with the passenger side doors and liftgate open, revealing suitcases. Deputies found both David and Lisa Somers dead outside. A loaded shotgun was found under David Somers’ body, deputies said.

It’s unclear who the person was that the final caller described. Authorities say it wasn’t Lisa Somers’ daughter, 18-year-old Amedy Dewey, whom they found inside the vehicle with an apparent gunshot wound. The sheriff said she was in critical but stable condition Monday.

Ionia County sheriff’s investigators said they believe David Somers shot the women.

Deputies say there is no clear motive for the homicide, which remains under investigation.

Sources did tell 24 Hour News 8 David Somers had been under investigation for a relationship with an underage female. He also previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for providing alcohol to a young female.

His only child told 24 Hour News 8 Monday that her father had been dealing with a noncancerous brain tumor and had an operation the day before the shooting. However, Shelbi Somers said she saw no notable change in his behavior following the diagnosis and treatment.

Shelbi Somers said her father had picked up his wife and stepdaughter after a birthday trip to the Bahamas. Sheriff’s investigators believe the family was headed from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport near Grand Rapids to Midland where Dewey lived, according to her Facebook page.

**Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated David Somers did not have a criminal record in Manistee County. That was based on Michigan State Police records, which did not include the district court records that detail Somers’ misdemeanor conviction. The article has been updated to include the misdemeanor conviction.