TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (WWTV/CNN) - Police in Michigan have charged an 18-year-old man with killing a homeless man.
Police in Traverse City, Mich. have arrested and charged suspect Joshua Vandehoef, 18, in the killing of homeless man. (Source: WWTV, Grand Traverse County Jail, CNN)
Traverse City police have been working with law enforcement in California and Joshua Vandehoef's attorney to arrange for his surrender.
"He is the only suspect that we were seeking, and he is in custody," said Detective Evan Warsecke.
Vandehoef was arraigned by video on an open murder charge. The family of the victim, James Chisholm, was in the courtroom for it.
"It's been a long five weeks, and it was very fulfilling this morning to be able to make the phone call to his family members," Warsecke said.
Gail Chisholm, the victim's sister, said she was happy to get the call that a suspect was in custody.
James Chisholm was killed in May. The break in the investigation was a tip from a woman in California.
"The big break was the Snapchat tip," said Noelle Moeggenberg, Grand Traverse County prosecutor.
Court documents show Vandehoef admitted to someone over the social media service that he killed "a homeless guy" by slitting his throat.
"She mentioned that he had talked on Snapchat about killing someone," Moeggenberg said. "And at that point, she made the call to the tip line, talked to one of our detectives."
The confession went on to say that he walked home and cleaned the blood off himself and his clothes, adding that he "did not even take his alcohol or marijuana."
"It brings relief that the individual is in custody, and there's not somebody out in the community that could cause more harm to somebody else," said Carole Gilbert, another sister of the victim.
Vandehoef's phone GPS was the turning point for the arrest.
"We had results from a search warrant we did to Google that showed his phone was in the location where we found the deceased - literally within meters," Moeggenberg said. "One measurement I saw was three meters."
Vandehoef will not be released on bond. He will be back in front of a judge next month.
"It's sad, really for a young child; to me he's a child," Gail Chisholm said.
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