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Man convicted of murder in '83 disappearance of Michigan man

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Posted at 4:57 PM, Nov 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-18 16:57:56-05

WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (AP) — A jury convicted a man of murder in the disappearance of a western Michigan man whose body still has not been found after nearly 40 years.

Richard Atwood was 25 in 1983 when he was last seen in White Cloud in Newaygo County, 45 miles north of Grand Rapids.

Roy Snell, who was 18 at that time and living in the area, was found guilty Wednesday of committing murder during another crime.

Jurors were told that Atwood was known as someone who sold marijuana in the White Cloud area. Snell's DNA was found on cigarette butts in Atwood's car. Investigators said robbery was a possible motive.

“I’m grateful we can finally provide justice for the victim’s family,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “Investigating a decades-old cold case without a body is very challenging.”

Snell, now 57, was arrested in Hennepin County, Minnesota, in 2020. He was splitting his time between Ohio and Minnesota, defense attorney Stephanie Koorndyk said.

“Everything was very circumstantial,” she said Friday. “There was no body. There was no murder weapon. I don't think we'll ever truly know what happened.”

The evidence included incriminating statements made by Snell when he was in a Grand Rapids-area jail years ago.