The May shooting death of a woman by her 9-year-old adopted son was voted the top local news story of 2019, as selected and ranked by editorial staff members of the Sturgis Journal.
The incident occurred May 6 in Fawn River Township and resulted in the death of Pauline Randol. In September, probate court judge David Tomlinson ruled the boy was incompetent to stand trial because of his young age.
Two events tied for second: The body of Kelly-Jien Warner-Miller was found May 23 at a home in the 200 block of North Maple Street in Sturgis. Police received an anonymous tip that a man was storing a body in his apartment, where they found Warner-Miller’s dismembered body. Wade Allen, 35, was arrested in connection with the case.
The other second-place event centered on Ethan Dingman, 19, who was charged in the Nov. 21 murder of 55-year-old Todd Schwartz of Colon. In December, a preliminary hearing in the case was postponed as Dingman was to be evaluated for competency to stand trial.
Rounding out the top 10, in order, were the August passing of longtime Journal sports editor Corky Emrick; Sturgis City Commission approving ordinances related to the medical and recreational use of marijuana; area high school teams, including Colon High School football and Mendon High School volleyball, winning state titles; approval of a Mendon Township ordinance allowing solar-panel developments; the autumn outbreak of EEE; the discovery of century-old skeletal remains on South Nottawa Road in Sturgis; and the late-January deep freeze that brought the region to a standstill.