Police request murder charges in homicide investigation

Traverse City police officers shared and discussed reports with Grand Traverse County prosecutors Friday, requesting murder charges and an arrest warrant following James Chisholm’s slaying June 5.

TRAVERSE CITY — A suspect in a homeless man’s Traverse City slaying soon could face murder charges.

Traverse City Police Department investigators identified a person of interest after searching a home near Sacramento, California, and a Newport Street condominium in Traverse City on June 5.

Police Capt. Jim Bussell said both homes have connections to a man named in police reports as a suspect in James Chisholm’s slaying.

Lead police investigators shared and discussed those reports with Grand Traverse County prosecutors Friday morning, while requesting open murder charges and an arrest warrant, according to Bussell and Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg.

“As of this morning, our detectives felt there is enough in the report to take that over to the prosecutor,” said Chief Jeff O’Brien.

Neither request had been approved by Friday afternoon. Moeggenberg awaited the chance to review the reports and said it could be a few weeks before she decides whether to approve the warrant or the charges.

Moeggenberg said police requested charges and an arrest warrant for one suspect who has addresses in both Traverse City and California. She did not immediately know where he considered his full-time residence.

Bussell declined to discuss the suspect.

Two police detectives traveled to the Carmichael, California home while investigators back in Traverse City searched the condominium last week, but they did not confirm whether any evidence was seized, or what they were searching for.

Bussell believes the suspect was in Traverse City at the time of Chisholm’s death. Walkers hiked off the Boardman Lake trail near the intersection of Centre Place and Sheffer Street on May 29 and called 911 when they spotted a body at 4:40 p.m.

Officers found Chisholm, 62, dead with a slashed throat near a pitched tent between the trail and the lake. He likely had been dead between 8 and 24 hours before he was discovered.

Chisholm had been in Traverse City for about three weeks prior to his death, Bussell said. His past addresses include Flint, Davison and Novi, as well as Oregon, Washington and Tennessee.

Family members called Chisholm a nomad, who traveled and lived in a tent, rather than a house.

Tips led authorities to search both homes. Grand Traverse County sheriff's detectives and a police K-9 team and crime scene investigation unit assisted with the local search, while Sacramento County sheriff's homicide investigators helped in Carmichael.

Bussell declined to confirm whether or not police had identified any additional suspects and additionally denied comment when asked how confident police are with their suspect.

“I don’t want to prejudice potential juries and I don’t want to jeopardize the investigation,” he said.

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