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Former Red Cliff official charged in 2003 homicide

March 20, 2020 GMT

BAYFIELD, Wis. (AP) — A former vice chairman of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has confessed to killing a tribal employee in 2003, according to a criminal complaint.

Michael LaGrew, 55, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Jody Ricard. The 50-year-old Washburn woman was bludgeoned to death and her body was found hidden along a dead end road 11 days later, the complaint said.

The complaint said that Ricard left reservation offices with LaGrew after he asked to meet with her June 27, 2003.

Ricard called her husband minutes before the meeting, saying she was going to record it because she “didn’t trust him,” the complaint said. Investigators said that on the recording LaGrew was heard asking the victim to “take a ride” with him.

Investigators said LaGrew told them the two took a drive and that he argued with Ricard after he told her he was going to fire her and that she threatened to hire an attorney. LaGrew said he struck Ricard with a trailer jack, the complaint said.

LaGrew is expected to appear in Bayfield County Circuit Court Friday. Court records do not list a defense attorney to speak on his behalf.