Suspect Arrested In Wife's Dismemberment

Stephen Grant is suspected of dismembering his wife.
Stephen Grant is suspected of dismembering his wife.

With police closing in, a fugitive accused of killing and dismembering his wife abandoned the truck he'd driven more than 200 miles and fled on foot in the snow.

Authorities had tracked him this far by tracing cell phone signals and a cash transaction at an automated teller machine. But deep in the heavily wooded Wilderness State Park, in freezing conditions, they didn't know what to expect next.

"We didn't know what we were up against," said Emmet County Sheriff Pete Wallin. "We knew he was suicidal, we knew he could be armed and dangerous."

Following a trail of footprints, investigators finally found Stephen Grant on Sunday wearing neither shoes nor coat, cowering under a fallen tree near ice-covered Lake Michigan. Wearing only slacks, a shirt and socks, he was about three miles from where he'd abandoned the truck.

"I don't think he probably could have made it much longer in those kind of conditions," said Mark Hackel, sheriff of Macomb County, where body parts believed to be those of Grant's wife were discovered Friday.

Wallin said Grant, who was being treated for frostbite and hypothermia, would be returned to Macomb County for arraignment in the death of Tara Lynn Grant, a 34-year-old businesswoman and mother of two who disappeared last month. A torso was found Friday in the family's Washington Township home and other body parts were found Saturday in a nearby park.

An arrest warrant charged her husband with murder and one count of disinterment and mutilation. An autopsy was being conducted Sunday.

Tara Grant last was seen February 9, and police said the couple had argued that day over her business travels abroad. Her husband reported her missing five days later; he has steadfastly maintained his innocence.

Stephen Grant, 37, fled in a friend's pickup hours after police executed a search warrant on the home, Hackel said.

After finding the truck just south of the isolated Lake Michigan park, police with a tracking dog mounted a search on foot and snowmobile, aided by a helicopter. They pounded on doors of nearby homes and the handful of cabins in the isolated Lake Michigan park, warning occupants to be on the lookout.

The helicopter crew, dispatched from the U.S. Coast Guard station in Traverse City, spotted fresh footprints in the snow and guided ground searchers in Grant's direction, Lt. Jeremy Loeb said.

"We could see where he'd lay down, get up, lay down again," Wallin said.

He was found, unarmed, near Big Sucker Creek, which flows into Lake Michigan. Grant said nothing as he was hoisted into the helicopter, Loeb said.

It didn't appear Grant tried to commit suicide, Hackel said.

Grant in stable condition and was alert and cooperative, said Dr. John Bednar, chief of staff at Northern Michigan Hospital.

The Grants have two children, a 6-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy who were staying with relatives. In a statement released through the hospital, Grant said Sunday that he misses his children.

"He loves them and ... he looks forward to seeing them again as soon as possible," the statement said.

David Griem, a lawyer who has acted as Grant's spokesman, said Sunday he would no longer represent Grant because of irreconcilable differences. He said Grant didn't yet have another attorney.

"If I can't give a client all of my blood, sweat and tears, it's time for that client to find a new attorney and time for me to move on down the road," Griem said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.