Michigan cold case solved 35 years after Roxanne Wood found dead in Niles home with throat cut

Patrick Gilham pleaded no contest to murder of Roxanne Wood

Roxanne Wood (WDIV)

NILES, Mich. – A Michigan cold case that dates back to 1987 was solved earlier this year, and Western Michigan University students played a major role in cracking the case.

Roxanne Wood was murdered inside her Berrien County home on Feb. 19, 1987. Her throat had been cut.

Her husband found her dead after the couple had driven separately to go bowling and Wood returned home first.

The case went cold, and although Michigan State Police had reopened it in 2001 and again in 2020, it remained unsolved. That is until students involved in Western Michigan University’s cold case program got involved.

Students at WMU cataloged the 3,000-page case and logged about 1,200 hours of work over eight months, working alongside investigators to solve the mystery.

Almost exactly 35 years later, on Feb. 20, 2022, police arrested Indiana man Patrick Gilham in connection with the crime. He pleaded no contest to second-degree murder.

Pleading no contest is a plea where the prosecution accepts conviction as though a guilty plea had been entered, but the defendant does not admit guilt.

Gilham was sentenced on April 25, 2022, to 23 to 50 years in prison. He is serving his time at the Carson City Correctional Facility.

Investigators did not divulge many details following the arrest of Gilham in February. Police said then that new technology helped link Gilham to the crime.

Original report: Western Michigan University students help crack 1987 Berrien County cold case murder

Patrick Gilham (MDOC)

Read: Michigan cold case coverage

Why is ClickOnDetroit covering so many cold cases?

We’re working to bring attention to as many unsolved and missing persons cases from around the state as we can. Our hope is that getting this important information out to the public will help generate tips for investigators and potentially lead to closure for the affected families. If you have a cold case you’d like us to look into, please let us know by using the form below.

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.