Cops: Husband Admits To "Horrific" Murder

In this photo provided by the Macomb County Sheriff's Department, Stephen Grant is shown. Grant, a man authorities tracked down in the snow of a wilderness area confessed to killing and dismembering his wife, and described the grisly details surrounding her death, a sheriff said Monday, March 5, 2007.
AP
A man accused in the killing and dismemberment of his wife has described to police the details surrounding her death, a sheriff said Monday.

Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel, speaking at a morning news conference in Mount Clemens, said Stephen Grant has been cooperating with investigators, telling them in detail how he killed and dismembered Tara Lynn Grant and where her remains were taken. Hackel said there was a confrontation between Stephen and Tara Grant at their home, but the sheriff would not explain the method of death.

"He gave a very lengthy confession, laying out exactly what took place," Hackel said. The couple's young children were in the home at the time, he said.

County Prosecutor Eric Smith said investigators found a Ziploc bag containing latex gloves, plastic bags, metal shavings and human blood in a wooded area not far from the Grant home. That discovery provided authorities with the probable cause necessary to obtain a search warrant for the home and Stephen Grant's business.

Smith said the shavings in the bag were consistent with what would be found in a tool-and-die shop. Grant worked at a tool-and-die shop. Hackel couldn't say when the bag was discovered.

"We had the perception that when we did the search on the 24th, to see if would have any effect and it did. It seemed to make him nervous," Hackel told the Detroit Free Press. "He had a lot of people fooled that he did not committ this crime."

Grant was to be released to Macomb County deputies at 2 p.m. Monday from Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey. Hackel said Grant would be taken to the Macomb County Jail and later would face arraignment on charges related to his wife's death and mutilation.

"The effects of the hypothermia have essentially resolved, and the frostbite in his extremities has improved rapidly as well," Dr. John Bednar, the hospital's medical chief of staff, said during a news conference. It could take weeks to determine whether there will be long-term effects from the frostbite, even though it's a minor case, he added.

Bednar declined comment on Grant's mental state, saying only that he was "awake, alert, calm and cooperative."

County Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz told the Detroit Free Press that preliminary autopsy results showed Tara Grant, 34, likely died of strangulation before her body was dismembered. Spitz said the remains showed no visible injuries except bruising around the neck. He said he would release official findings Monday.

"While this outcome represents the worst possible scenario imaginable to anyone, we take comfort in the fact that Tara is now in a better place," Tara Grant's sister, Alicia Standerfer of Chillicothe, Ohio, said Sunday at a news conference in Macomb County with Hackel.

Standerfer had vouched for Stephen Grant before officers discovered a female torso Friday in the garage of the family's home in Washington Township, 30 miles north of Detroit. The torso, and other body parts found in a nearby park, were believed those of Tara Grant, a businesswoman and mother of two who disappeared last month.

Stephen Grant, 37, who until now had steadfastly maintained his innocence, fled in a friend's pickup truck after police obtained a search warrant. Tracing calls from his cell phone, officers descended on Wilderness State Park about 225 miles north, at the tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

After finding the abandoned pickup, they searched on foot and snowmobile, pounding on doors of the park's few cabins and nearby homes to warn occupants.

"We didn't know what we were up against," Wallin said. "We knew he was suicidal, we knew he could be armed and dangerous." He had no weapons when found, the Emmet County sheriff said. Hackel said it didn't appear Grant tried to kill himself.

Aided by a full moon, a Coast Guard helicopter crew followed Grant's footprints and guided several dozen ground searchers in his direction, Lt. Jeremy Loeb said.

"We could see where he'd lay down, get up, lay down again," Wallin said. He said he didn't know whether Grant had left the truck without shoes or lost them afterward.

He was found about 6:30 a.m. Sunday cowering under a fallen tree about three miles from the pickup, wearing only a shirt, socks and pants in 14-degree weather. He offered no resistance. He was silent as he was hoisted into the helicopter, Loeb said.

"I don't think he probably could have made it much longer in those kind of conditions," Emmet County Sheriff Pete Wallin told reporters. "I wouldn't want to be out there unless I was dressed for it."

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 he loved them and "looks forward to seeing them again as soon as possible."

Standerfer embraced Hackel after speaking to reporters in Macomb County.

"We are filled with grief and are horrified by the manner in which Tara's life was needlessly taken, and are filled with many, many unanswered questions," said Standerfer, 32. "We hope and believe that Tara's murderer will ultimately be brought to justice."

Tara Grant last was seen Feb. 9. Her husband reported her missing five days later. Police say the day she disappeared, the couple had argued over her frequent business trips abroad.

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.