Kalkaska County Family, Neighbors Remember Man Killed in Torture, Murder Case

"To think that a daughter could do that to her own father.”

Family and neighbors of a man tortured and killed inside his home can’t believe what happened.

We’re learning more about the victim.

Deputies found Michael Brandt dead in his home and say his own daughter and her husband killed him.

Some neighbors were home when it all happened nearby.

Kalkaska County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the couple for Michael Brandt’s torture and murder in Springfield Township on Sunday.

Jessica and Brian DeGroot were charged with open murder Tuesday.

The sheriff says Brian DeGroot tortured Brandt with various weapons before killing him and Jessica helped clean up the scene.

9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Jeff Blakeman talked with Michael Brandt’s family and a neighbor who knew him for years.


Michael Brandt’s nephew remembers his uncle for his ability to build just about anything.

He and others living nearby wonder how something like this could’ve happened.

“I was very…I guess disturbed by the fact that it was such a prolonged act,” said Jodie Brandt, Michael’s nephew. “That was shocking to me."

Jodie Brandt hasn’t seen his uncle in more than a year, but remembers him well.

“I remember as a boy, he used to carry rocks and stones in his pockets to polish them and then turn them into just crazy things,” Jodie said. “I remember him is being very talented. He was very good with his hands. No matter what he touched, he could build anything."

But no more, after a night of pain and violence…is own family accused of doing it.

“It was interesting,” Jodie said. “It’s kind of a shock, kind of a strange happenstance that it would be his own daughter."

“He was quiet,” said Chastity Larsen, Michael’s neighbor. “Kept to himself. Loved his grandkids."

Chastity lives across the street from Brandt’s property.

“He had a tractor and he used to grade the road for us to help us out, which was much appreciated,” Larsen said. "The biggest thing that my husband and I are having a hard time coping with is the fact that he was tortured for those days. As soon as you cross the road, it’s maybe 1,000-foot and that’s his backyard. To think that we were here the whole time that it happened…it’s just really scary."

An uncle, father and grandfather is gone.

“There’s two families involved with this, their family and our families,” Jodie said. “We’re both grieving together. We’re very thankful for all the outpouring of love and the prayer support."

Brian and Jessica DeGroot are in jail on $10 million cash bonds.

There are no funeral arrangements yet for Michael Brandt.

A GoFundMe page has been set up. If you would like to make a donation, click here.