UPDATE (7:30 p.m. Saturday): Belding police have identified the dead body as Jonathan Bodman, 31, of Belding.
The results of Bodman’s autopsy and toxicology report are not yet complete. The investigation continues.
UPDATE (7:30 a.m. Saturday): According to Belding Police Chief Dale Nelson, the dead body was a man in his 30s who appeared to have been dead for two to three days. The body was found approximately 75 yards off a well-used path that traverses a woods between the Jaclyn apartment complex and the Brentwood Apartment complex on the northwest side of Belding. The body was taken from the scene to Spectrum Health Blodgett Campus for an examination.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Belding Police Department a (616) 794-1900 ext. 228.
The case remains under investigation
BELDING — A dead body was found Friday evening by a group of children along a dirt walking trail between the Jacklyn and Brentwood apartment complexes near Kenwood Avenue.
Belding police officers arrived on scene shortly before 7 p.m. and roped off the trail with caution tape. The Belding Fire Department assisted at the scene.
Officers cleared the scene at 10:40 p.m. after the body was removed from the area. Officers declined to give any comment as to whether the death was suspicious in nature, stating only “it is under investigation.”
Riley McGraw, 10, said she was the first to discover the body, but she didn’t take any action when she first saw it.
“I thought it was just a pair of pants when I first saw it,” she said. “Then everyone said there was a dead man back there, I thought it was a joke, but I went back there and he was dead. I wish I had said something earlier.”
McGraw’s friends, Hannah Burnett, 11, Alyssa Yeasley, 11, and her sister, Merayah Banks, 9, then came upon the body and ran away toward the Jacklyn apartment complex.
“I was like, oh my God, oh my God,” Yeasley said. “I just told everybody to run away.”
Approximately 15 children in the area returned to the site and McGraw attempted to call 911 with a cell phone but received no signal. She eventually reached her mother, Susan Banks, who then called 911.
“I’m so proud of them,” Banks said. “They did the right thing and tried to call the police right away.”
Yeasley’s mother, Raechelle Stevens, said she walked the trail after her daughter informed her of the dead man’s body.
“When I went back there, he was down on his knees with his hands out and his (hooded sweatshirt) over his head,” she said. “He was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt.”
Yeasley said she was immediately concerned because the trail is used regularly by children who walk there to get their bus stop.
“This is the trail that everybody walks through to get to Brentwood and back, it’s the quickest way over,” she said.