UPDATE (9:06 p.m.):
The victim has been identified as 36-year-old Ashley Godfrey of Big Rapids, according to Big Rapids Department of Public Safety.
A suspect, a 23-year-old white male from Mecosta Township, was identified and arrested for open murder, the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety says. At this time, they believe that this was an isolated incident.
The Big Rapids Police Department is investigating the discovery of a body of a white female along the White Pine Trail early Friday morning.
“It’s a younger woman, probably 25-45 years old,” said City of Big Rapids Community Officer William Sell. “We have identified the female but we’re waiting for next of kin notification.”
Officers found the body while patrolling a wooded area along White Pine Trail near Colburn Avenue around 1:30 a.m. Friday, June 3.
“The body was found along the trail in a wooded area set back from the trail quite a ways,” said Officer Sell.
The area has been a hang out space for the local homeless population for the past few months said Officer Sell.
“There was no one back there at the camp at that time,” he said. “We were just basically patrolling the area just checking on it. We know it’s kind of a common area where we do run into homeless people back there.”
Neighbors at apartments across from the wooded area say they found out what happened early Friday morning by city police.
“At about 6:00 or 6:30, the cops knocked on my door and were asking my neighbors a bunch of questions,” said Cody Vallad. “They were just asking if we’d seen anybody go in or out of the woods or any suspicious activity.”
Vallad said he and his neighbor had seen people back in the woods over the past few months.
“It’s just really scary because you got all kids that play in these trails, and kids that cut through the woods right here where the body was found,” Vallad said. “I used to play here as a kid and go around the trail and go through the woods. It’s just scary.”
Big Rapids police say there is no threat to the public and that more details will be released when they are available.
“Any unintended death we have to treat as a suspicious death,” said Officer Sell. “We’re just investigating what would have caused the female to be located in that area. It’s a sad thing for their family.”
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Big Rapids Police Department at 231-527-0005.