Excellence in Service Awards Presented
Contact: Jim Northup, 906-387-2607, ext. 202
Contact: Tim Colyer, 9906-387-2607, ext. 203
(Munising, MICH.) On December 9, 2009, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore superintendent Jim Northup presented awards on behalf of the U.S. Department of the Interior to several cooperating law enforcement agencies for their outstanding work associated with the investigation and subsequent prosecution for the murder of Juanita Richardson within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in June 2006. The awards were signed by Thomas Strickland, Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The Alger County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan State Police, Alger County Prosecutor’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Park Service all contributed substantially to the investigation and prosecution and were formally honored at the award ceremony.
"Our primary purpose today is to recognize and thank our cooperating law enforcement agencies and the Alger County Prosecutor’s Office for their outstanding work on this lengthy and complicated investigation and prosecution," Northup said. "Because this tragic incident occurred in a portion of the park with only limited federal jurisdiction, the primary responsibility of conducting a further investigation fell to the Alger County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police," Northup explained.
"Since the incident did occur on federal property, both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Park Service remained involved, but these other agencies carried a very heavy burden and did an absolutely outstanding job," Northup added.
"I am proud to be part of a law enforcement community that works so well together," said Tim Colyer, Chief Ranger at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. "Each agency and every individual involved worked with a strong sense of purpose, understanding the importance of justice over personal differences or departmental pride. The interagency cooperation being honored by this award is a good model for professionalism and efficiency."
"Several other agencies contributed to the investigation as well, including the Wexford County Sheriff’s Office, the Missaukee County Sheriff’s Office, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service special agents, and the technical services divisions of the Michigan State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation," Colyer added. "We are grateful to all of them for their contributions."
Juanita Richardson fell to her death at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on June 22, 2006. Her husband Thomas was tried and convicted of her murder and is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.