Suicide victim found in woods identified

November 12, 2014
Fred Thomas Garnish

Fred Thomas Garnish

Editor’s Note: It is typically the policy of this news organization to not report on suicides. We believe these are typically events that are beyond the general “need-to-know” of the general public. However, we also believe that events that take place on public-owned land or in places frequented by the public are news worthy. For this reason, we are reporting on this particular incident. In addition, because authorities had previously asked for the assistance of the public in locating the victim, we also believe this is newsworthy. 

OTTO TWP.  — The man whose body was found inside a car in the Manistee National Forest Saturday afternoon, Nov. 8, has been identified as 28-year-old Fred Thomas Garnish.

Garnish was being sought by Portage police last month after failing to appear for a court hearing, according to local reports.

Local authorities confirmed he committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. Police found a metal cake pan in the back seat of his vehicle that had been burning charcoal, said Lt. Craig Mast of the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday morning, Nov. 12. The car windows were taped shut, he said.

Authorities were seeking the public’s help in locating Garnish, who had been missing since Oct. 14  after skipping a court hearing in Ottawa County regarding a sexual assault charge.

An autopsy was performed Monday, said Oceana County Sheriff Robert Farber.

Deputies from the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office and troopers from the Hart post of the Michigan State Police were called to the wooded area where Garnish was found. He had family connections to the Oceana area, the sheriff said.

Authorities were initially reluctant to provide many details about the case, because suicide was the cause of death.


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