Western Michigan University students help solve the 1987 cold case in Berrien County

KALAMAZOO, Mih. – ONE Murder in Southwest Michigan went unresolved for decades – that is, until a group Western Michigan University students participated.

Students participating in the university’s chilling situations program helped solve the 1987 murder case of 30-year-old Roxanne Wood, who was killed in her home in Berrien County. Wood was found dead by her husband in their Niles Town home one night after the couple had gone bowling in their own car, and Wood returned home first.

The husband discovered that the woman’s throat had been cut.

Students at WMU reportedly created 3,000-page case catalogs and recorded around 1,200 hours of work over eight months, working alongside investigators to solve the mystery.


Then, on February 20, 2022, Indiana man Patrick Gilham, 67, arrested involved in the crime nearly 35 years later. He made no excuses for the murder, and in March sentenced to 23 years in the prison.

Michigan State Police previously reopened the case in 2001 and then again in 2020.

It is currently unclear what connection exists between Gilham and Roxanne Wood. The 67-year-old man from South Bend, Indiana, was charged in February with public murder and breaking into an occupied home. He was extradited to and placed in Berrien County in connection with the Michigan crime.


Investigators did not release many details after Gilham’s arrest in February. Police said later that new technology has helped link Gilham to crime.

Patrick Gilham has been sentenced to at least 23 years in prison for his involvement in a 1987 murder in Niles Township, effectively closing what was once a cold case.

Other news: Concluding further arguments in the attempted kidnapping trial of Michigan Governor Whitmer

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