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AG Nessel Announces Guilty Verdict in Decades Old Homicide Case

LANSING – Nearly 39 years after Richard Atwood disappeared from Newaygo County, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Newaygo County Prosecutor Worth Stay today announced that Roy Snell has been found guilty of murdering Atwood.  

Snell, 57, was found guilty of the following charges: 

  • One count of homicide - felony murder, punishable with a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole; 
  • One count of weapons – felony firearm, punishable by two years in prison. 

In 2020, Snell was arrested in Minneapolis by the Minneapolis Violent Criminal Apprehension Unit. He was in custody in the Hennepin County Jail in Minnesota before being extradited to Michigan. 

Atwood, who was 25 years old at the time, was last seen on August 10, 1983, in White Cloud, Michigan. His brown 1975 Pontiac Trans-Am was recovered in the Grand Rapids area at a hotel two months later. Snell was reported as the last person to be seen with Atwood and stated he wanted to rob Atwood shortly before his disappearance. Atwood’s body has never been found. 

“I’m grateful we can finally provide justice for the victim’s family,” said Nessel. “Investigating a decades-old cold case without a body is very challenging. I thank the cold case team for their diligence investigating and solving this crime.”    

“I am heartened that the family of Rick Atwood may begin to find some closure in this verdict,” said Prosecutor Stay. “I would like to thank First Assistant Attorney General William Rollstin and Assistant Attorney General Dan Gunderson for the skill and dedication that they brought to this case.  Their work, in conjunction with the resources of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office, ensured that Rick Atwood was not forgotten.”    

A sentencing date has been scheduled for January 9 before Judge Malissa Dykman of the 27th Circuit Court in Newaygo County. 

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