South Bend man arrested in 35-year-old cold case murder

Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 7:18 PM EST
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NILES, Mich. (WNDU) - Police have made an arrest in one of the coldest of all cold case murders in Michiana.

It was February 20, 1987, when 30-year-old Roxanne Wood was murdered as she returned to her Niles Township home after a night of bowling.

The search for her killer has gone on a long time. Almost too long.

“At a point, with cold cases there becomes a time when witnesses, suspects, people you need to talk to are getting up there in age and potentially not even around anymore and are deceased,” Lt. Chuck Christensen with the Michigan State Police said. “So, this is on the edge of that, right?”

It was announced at a news conference today that 67-year-old Patrick Gilham of South Bend has been arrested for the crime, although there was no explanation as to why.

“That’s something we can’t get into at this point in time, based on our ethical obligations and the law, we can’t comment at that, because it is a pending case. You’ll have to learn more about the evidence and what was done for it through the court process,” Berrien County Prosecutor Steve Pierangeli said.

Lt. Christensen today released two pictures of Gilham, (then and now) in case others in the community have come across him over the years. “There is the belief, and I believe, that he did other crimes,” Lt. Christensen said.

Last summer, Michigan State Police obtained transcripts from Gilham’s plea and sentencing hearings, according to court records.

Up until this point, the victim’s husband appeared to be the main suspect in the case.

“He has since been informed of the break in the case. “He was very, it was uh, he was very emotional obviously, as anyone would be. He was happy and thankful that this breakthrough has been made and additionally he expressed relief, after, this Sunday, will be 35-years since this happened. He’s processing that as well as the rest of his family,” Lt. Christensen said.

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