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Lynching possible in death, burning of Grinnell man 1

GRINNELL, Iowa — Law enforcement authorities investigating the homicide of Michael Williams, 44, of Grinnell have not ruled out the possibility the death was the result of a gate crime.

Williams’ body was found burned Sept. 16 in a rural Jasper County ditch north of Kellogg, some 15 miles west of his Poweshiek County home.

The Iowa Division of Crimnal Investigation (DCI) is treating the death as a homicide.

Eva Hill, a reporter with the Grinnell College Scarlet and Black, said the 2010 U.S. Census showed the Grinnell population of 9,218 was 2% African-American and 91.9% white. Hill noted Williams’ death “comes at the close of a summer of highly publicized violence against Black Americans.”

Williams has roots in Syracuse, N.Y., and much of his family lives there. Powell Mejias of Syracuse has organized a GoFundMe page for help with returning Williams’ body to New York for burial. A statement from Williams’ mother is included on the GoFundMe page:

Hello Everyone, On September 11th or 12th my son, Michael Williams, 44, was brutally murdered in Grinnell, Iowa. As if taking his life was not bad enough, on September 16th the perpetrators of this crime moved his body to Jasper County, dumped him on the side of the road, then set his body on fire. Our family is thankful for the concerned citizen that noticed the fire and called 911. We are thankful that authorities were able to make positive identification. Please help me bring my son home to his birthplace, Syracuse, New York for a proper Homegoing Services and burial. Mike was a big man! He was a loving man, that loved his children and extended family. Michael was the life of the party and loved to dance. He did not deserve to be treated like this! He was our Gentle Giant! I would appreciate any assistance you can provide to help me bring my son home. Funds raised above and beyond my goal will be used for travel to Iowa and lodging during the criminal proceedings for #JusticeForMichaelWilliams. I thank you in advance for your donations and sharing my story. Thank you! #BringMichaelHome #JusticeForMichaelWilliams #OurGentleGiant

Janalee Boldt of Grinnell, the mother of Williams’ children, has also established a GoFundMe page with the assistance of Malissa Burton. The statement on the GoFundMe page reads:

**I want to start off with how devastating this story is for the family we are all grieving, and how unreal and how sadistic the murdering scumbags are!!!**

As most of you know Mike (aka big mike or michael) was the body identified as the body found in a fire in kellogg iowa Wednesday evening!! The case as the news media has stated is ongoing so until they release the names of suspects i will with hold the information on here until its updated, once it’s released i will add more….the police and DCI are not releasing any info yet!!! IF ANYONE HAS ANY INFORMATION TO THIS CASE PLEASE CONTACT THE DCI OR GRINNELL POLICE DEPARTMENT or any other departments that are involved, We are still waiting on autopsy report of cause of death,
THIS MAN DID NOT DESERVE TO DIE!!! He was a father a grandfather and a friend and a brother and a son! It breaks my heart knowing stuff and not being able to explain more but im here ASKING for help for his family!! He was taken away from his children the 3 youngest are 17, 13 and 12!!! We (the family and friends) are asking for help to raise money for the family to pay for all the expenses to come and any travel expenses That also includes to and from court since this is a murder investigation, the children are devastated about losing their father!!! I will update this more once we have more information!

you may reach out to me or janalee (Mother of Mike’s children)
please anything will help since its going to be expensive

Boldt also posted a request for help with funeral transportation expenses Saturday on Facebook:

Please pray for my kids, for all of his kids, and pray for his family. Please donate if you can and you can also order a shirt to honor him that my son Michael had designed it for his dad. We need money raised so all of his kids can attend their dad’s funeral in New York where most of his family is at. All of his kids deserve closure and to say goodbye. We would like to help if we can for the cost of the funeral. This isn’t easy at all for any of his kids and for his family on how his life had ended. Any help would be appreciated. Please.

Assisting the DCI in the investigation are the Jasper County Sheriff’s office, Grinnell Police Department, Poweshiek County Sheriff’s office, Marshall County Sheriff’s office and Iowa State Patrol.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Grinnell Police Department at 641-623-5679 or the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office at 641-792-5912.

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