On August 5, 2006, a gruesome sight awaited Reene Pagel’s father and stepmother when they found Renee dead in bed with blood splattered all around the room. Panic gripped Courtland Township, Michigan, as the police tried their best to find out the cold-blooded murderer. ‘Dateline: Window of Opportunity’ chronicles this heinous murder and the long-drawn-out investigation that almost died out due to lack of leads. Let’s find out more about this case and the murderer, shall we?
How Did Renee Pagel Die?
At the time of the murder, Renee, 41, was a mother of three and lived with her kids. A teacher at Kent Technical Career Center, she had separated from her ex-husband recently. A ray of sunshine for everyone around her, Renee was loved in the community and was known for being very helpful. In fact, she even selflessly donated a kidney to the father of a student, with the operation transpiring 5 days before her unfortunate demise.
On August 5, 2006, 911 operators received a frantic call from a Courtland Township home in Michigan. The callers, Renee’s father and stepmother, said that Renee was found dead in her home. The police immediately arrived on the scene to find Renee lying in her bed. She, as well as the whole room, was covered with blood splatters, and it looked as if someone had maniacally stabbed her multiple times until she died. Prosecutors later claimed that she was brutally stabbed 50 times as she tried to defend herself.
From her father, the detectives found out that Renee was recovering from the surgery she had after donating her kidney and thus was too weak to even get out of bed properly. They came to the conclusion that Renee had fought valiantly to stay alive and fend off her attacker, but ultimately, her assailant overpowered her. The autopsy report determined multiple stab wounds as the cause of the death. Yet, the murder weapon was nowhere to be found.
Who Killed Renee Pagel?
Renee’s ex-husband, Mike Pagel, was arrested and convicted of her death in October 2020. Right after the murder in 2006, the police were aware of Mike and Renee’s divorce. They also found out that in his divorce proceedings, Mike had asked for Renee’s house, full custody of all three children, as well as alimony from Renee. Naturally, the two were at loggerheads all the time, and Renee decided to fight the divorce in court.
When they questioned Renee’s father after the murder, he said that he saw Renee on the evening before her death — her father picked up her kids to take them to Mike’s house. Furthermore, the police also found out that seven weeks before the stabbing, Renee had won her divorce case in court, and Mike was ordered to pay her alimony instead. Thus, realizing that Mike had both motive and means to commit the murder, they decided to approach him.
The police hit a wall when talking to Mike as even though they learned that he was with his kids when the stabbing took place, Mike refused to speak to the police and instead asked them to contact his attorney. With no leads in the investigation, the police were at a loss when they decided to search Mike’s home to satisfy their nagging suspicion. Still, they did not find any evidence that would link him to the crime.
During their long thirteen-year investigation, the police also came across Mike’s brother, Charles. Yet, he was soon cleared of the crime as he had an alibi. For years the case sat untouched as detectives frantically searched for clues or leads until a breakthrough came in the form of a message at a website dedicated to Renee. Renee’s friend, Chris Crandle, who ran the site, approached the police and told them that Charles had contacted the site requesting to talk.
In the conversation that was recorded for the police, Charles admitted to Chris that he was scared of being killed by his brother. Once the police called Charles in for questioning again, he revealed to the police how Mike was the one who killed Renee, and he had even shown him the murder weapon before throwing it away; Charles agreed to lead the police to the murder weapon. After the weapon was recovered, the police finally had concrete evidence to tie Mike to the heinous crime. In February 2020, Mike was arrested and charged with the murder of his wife.
Read More: Where Is Michael Pagel Now?