The Tri-Cities Cereal-Killer struck again yesterday, this time at an undisclosed Ferrysburg address, but law enforcement investigators may also finally have their first solid lead in the case, in the form of an eyewitness who saw a man leaving the scene of the most recent crime. Authorities have now released a police sketch of a man they are calling a ‘person of interest’ at this time. The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department is asking the public for help in identifying the man described as an odd, but kindly-looking white male in his late 60s or early 70s, between 5’7” and 5’9’ tall, and weighing approximately 160 pounds. Smartphone users are being encouraged to download the Sheriff Department’s iNARC App, where they can help identify the County’s most-wanted criminals, while simultaneously collecting ‘Patriot-Points’ which can be redeemed for valuable local products and services.
The Cereal-Killer, who has managed to elude Authorities for over four months, claimed his seventeenth victim yesterday afternoon, a 12.2 ounce box of Froot Loops found butchered in the same, brutal fashion as the previous sixteen. The killer’s modus operandi includes stealing a box of cereal from a usually empty house, and then staging a ritualistic execution in the backyard of the same house, all without ever being seen. Yesterday, however, a neighbor who lives across the street from the victim witnessed an elderly man emerging from the backyard and walking away at a time of day which fits with the County Coroner’s estimate of when the Froot Loops were most likely attacked and killed.
Despite much media speculation about the possible motives, as well as various interpretations of methodologies and symbolism used in the cereal mutilations, local Sheriff and Police Departments have had very few solid leads to pursue since the killing spree began in March of this year. It is hoped the witness-description and resulting police sketch, combined with the growing popularity of their iNARC App, will provide a much-needed break in the case, especially since yesterday’s description contradicts many of the perpetrator-profile assumptions which have been guiding the Investigator’s investigation to date. In a report made public in May, after the Cereal-Killer had claimed his ninth victim, expert Criminal-Profilers from Homeland Security, the FBI and Loutit District Library had determined that the Cereal-Killer is most likely a sad, isolated loner between 35 and 55 years old, with an emotional maturity that hasn’t developed beyond the level of an average 12-year-old boy – an anti-social sociopath with a penchant for melodramatic expressions of anger and frustration. Yesterday’s eyewitness account of someone much older and less limber may force Investigators to re-define their potential pool of suspects.
While working to identify their person-of-interest, local law-enforcement Officials are withholding names of the Froot Loop’s owners, as well as the eyewitness neighbor, for their own protection, while Sherrif’s Deputies have already removed all remaining boxes of cereal from both homes as additional precaution. A candlelight vigil, sponsored by local grocery stores Meijer and D&W, will be held in Grand Haven’s Central Park on Thursday evening as a tribute and memorial to all 17 boxes of cereal that never reached their Sell-By dates. The Sheriff Department’s iNARC App is available in App Stores for both iOS and Android.