Sheriff’s office interviews murder suspects

Report will be forwarded to the prosecutor

LAKE COUNTY — A report from Lake County Sheriff’s Office will be sent to the prosecutor’s office for possible charges related to a homicide investigation that started as a three-year-old missing persons case.

No charges have been brought against any suspects in the homicide case of Richard Allen Ashbrook, Lake County Sheriff Rich Martin told the Pioneer.

“Nobody has been officially charged with anything,” Martin said. “We have conducted some interviews and a report will be going to the prosecutor. At this point, everything will go to the (Lake County) prosecutor to make a decision about if he will authorize any charges.”

Ashbrook’s remains were discovered buried in the backyard of a Pleasant Plains Township residence on June 6 and were identified by personnel with the Michigan State Police Crime Lab several days later.

Martin said a cause of death has yet to be determined.

Ashbrook was last seen in November 2017, and was reported missing by his family on Feb. 11, 2018, according to Det./Lt. Brad Nixon with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Martin said although Ashbrook’s disappearance was originally being investigated as a missing person, the case is now being handled as a homicide.

However, he said police believe it was an isolated incident and there is no threat to the general public.

Martin explained the property where Ashbrook’s remains were found was his last known residence. Ashbrook reportedly lived there with a woman who he was believed to have been in a relationship with previously.

Martin said police conducted the search of the Pleasant Plains Township property after obtaining a search warrant based on a credible tip.

He previously declined to comment on the identity of the person who provided the tip, as the case is still under investigation.

As of Monday, no other searches of the residence or property have been conducted, Martin said.

At the time he went missing, Ashbrook was 47 years old.