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Cold Case

Patrick Sullivan - March 5th, 2012  

Heating Up

Three connected to man’s 1995 disappearance

Police and prosecutors have quietly been closing in on three people allegedly connected to the disappearance of a Wellston man in 1995.

While no one is currently charged with homicide in the death of 41-year-old Vincent Frank Adamczyk, three people are named in a criminal file in Manistee County in connection with the case.

In January, Rosemary Stephanie Skrzycki, 61, of Irons, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact in connection with the homicide of Adamczyk.

Two others are named in the charges against Skrzycki, though they have not been charged.

The mystery of Adamczyk’s disappearance is almost rivaled by the mysteriousness of the legal case into his death. Police and prosecutors have said little about the case, though recent filings in Manistee County Circuit Court shed some light on what’s going on in the investigation.

Adamczyk vanished in August of 1995 and he was not reported missing until 2002. It’s unclear why it took so long for him to be reported missing.

An estranged daughter of Adamczyk’s said she has tried to learn about her father but hasn’t found out much.

“He and my mom never married and broke up not long after I was born,” said Crystal Kennedy-Morris in an email. “He wasn’t involved in my life growing up.”

She said she only attempted to reconnect with her father around 1997, when he was already missing.

“My mother said he was a hard worker,” Kennedy-Morris wrote. “He was the kind of guy who (would) give his shirt off his back to help someone.”

Kennedy-Morris and the rest of his family may be closer to learning about what happened to Adamczyk 17 years ago. In recent months, there’s been a flurry of activity in the case of his disappearance.


Skrzycki was charged in September with open murder in the case, but that charge was tossed out in a deal she made with prosecutors to testify against others in connection with the murder.

Skrzycki pled no contest to accessory after the fact, a felony that carries up to five years in prison, even though she apparently admitted to police that she had committed a much more serious crime.

When Judge James Batzer took Skrzycki’s plea on Jan. 9, the factual basis for the plea was not discussed openly in court, as often happens at plea hearings. Instead, Batzer privately read a police report. That report has been sealed.

When Batzer later discussed the report in court, he said it contained evidence that went beyond the accessory after the fact charge.

Skrzycki, Batzer said, implicated herself in murder.

“You know, there’s exposure in this – there’s exposure in this police report to aiding and abetting homicide. That exposure is clearly in this report from her statements,” Batzer said at the hearing, according to a transcript.

Batzer said he was willing to go ahead anyway with the plea, but he was struck by the thoroughness of Skrzycki’s confession to accessory to murder, a crime that carries life in prison.

“This police report, if I accept the things said as true, does not show that you were an accessory after the fact to murder,” Batzer continued later in the hearing, speaking to the defendant. “If I take it as true, it can be read to show that you were an aider and abettor of a murder, which under Michigan law makes out the crime – if you’re an aider and abettor of a crime, that’s the same as having committed the crime. So if you’re an aider and abettor of murder, that’s the same as having committed the murder, do you understand that?” “Yes,” Skrzycki responded. Skrzycki went ahead with the plea and her sentencing has been delayed for one year while she cooperates with prosecutors. She is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 12, 2013.


Later in that plea hearing, Ford Stone, Manistee County prosecutor, explained why Skrzycki got such a generous deal:

“Ms. Skrzycki has agreed to testify truthfully against co-defendants who might be later arrested and charged in relation to this offense,” Stone said, according to a transcript.

While the original charges against Skrzycki did not name others, the amended complaint against her contained in her court file names two others in connection with the death of Adamczyk, two Irons residents, one age 46 and the other age 62. The Express is not using their names because they have not been charged with the murder.

Skrzycki’s charges state she “assisted” each defendant “to evade arrest.”

William Grant, the older suspect’s attorney, said he was not aware his client had been named in the Skrzycki file and he said his client had nothing to do with the disappearance of Adamczyk.

The younger suspect’s attorney, Michael Smith, said he had no comment.

Skrzycki’s attorney, Jane Johnson, also said she had no comment.

Asked via email why the two suspects were named in the Skrzycki file, yet had not been charged, Stone avoided the question and wrote: “There are other people of interest in this case. At present, I have possible evidence which was recovered during the course of executing one of the search warrants. It is undergoing analysis in a lab outside the state of Michigan. I am waiting for the results of that testing before moving forward. Unfortunately, I do not know when that testing will be completed.”

Stone also said there were no co-defendants in the case.

“Co-defendants are people who have been charged. There are no co-defendants,” he wrote.

Investigators have clearly put a lot of hours into building a case.

Earlier, as the trial date neared in the Skrzycki homicide case, at a court hearing Johnson praised the state police investigators in the case.

When asked by a judge if she had been provided with all the information she needed to prepare for her client’s trial on a murder charge, Johnson said: “The investigators in this case did an absolutely amazing job. I have three fat notebooks full of every word that’s ever been stated in this case as well as a list of all the evidence.”


Aside from both being mentioned in Skrzycki’s court file in the Adamczyk case, another thing links Skrzycki and the younger uncharged suspect – they share the same address on 12 Mile Road in Manistee County’s Norman Township, between Wellston and Irons.

The suspect was questioned by police in connection with the Adamczyk homicide before Skrzycki was originally charged with open murder in September.

He was arrested on an unrelated charge in June in Wexford County but his case, originally a driving while license suspended charge, quickly became much bigger.

While he was under arrest, police questioned him about the Adamczyk murder and wound up searching his house. That search, according to court records, led to Manistee County charges of possession of a firearm by a felon and manufacture of marijuana.

During a motion to suppress evidence in that case filed by his attorney, Smith, the suspect’s connection to the Admaczyk case became more clear.

At that hearing, Smith and Stone argued about whether he was properly questioned by police in the Adamczyk case after he was arrested in Wexford County for driving without a license.

Once he was in jail on the driving while license suspended charge, police were interested in finding out everything he knew about the Adamczyk murder.

Two state police detectives were cross-examined during that hearing in December: D/Sgt. James McCloughan, who administered a polygraph exam with the suspect at the state police crime lab in Grayling the day he was arrested, and D/Sgt. Mark Miller, who drove him to Grayling and two days later took him to a 40-acre property near his home where police were looking for evidence in the Adamczyk case.


At the motion hearing to suppress evidence, Smith was trying to get a confession made by the younger suspect to the marijuana and gun possession case thrown out.

Based on what was talked about in court, he might have much bigger worries on the horizon, however.

When the suspect sat down in Grayling with McCloughan to be questioned about what he knew about the murder case, it was as if the 46-year-old had seen a few too many cop shows on television and decided that he would help police with their case as long as he could make some kind of deal for himself.

“He said he wouldn’t talk unless he had some sort of immunity,” McCloughan told the court.

McCloughan described the deal they finally hammered out with Stone’s approval: “He had full immunity for crimes against property and he was supposed to offer truthful information regarding the issue that we were discussing that day, which was that 15-year-old homicide.”

McCloughan said what followed was a five or six hour interview.

There was a lot of testimony about whether he knew what he was getting himself into and whether he understood what distinguished a “property” crime from murder.

McCloughan testified that the suspect at one point demonstrated that he understood the concept of property by picking up a computer mouse from the table in front of him and declaring it property.

The mystery of Adamczyk’s disappearance is almost rivaled by the mysteriousness of the legal case into his death. Police and prosecutors have said little about the case, though recent filings in Manistee County Circuit Court shed some light on what’s going on in the investigation.

Smith argued that McCloughan hoodwinked his client, giving him meaningless immunity while making him believe he could discuss a murder with police.

Smith asked: “So it was immunity that was completely irrelevant to the investigation you were conducting?” McCloughan responded: “I’m not sure that would be true because we don’t know the full circle of everything involved in that particular case. There could actually be crimes against property involved that we didn’t know about that particular day.”

Smith later argued his client was duped. “I think this is a sham,” he told Batzer. “I think full immunity for crimes against property is merely trickery.”


Later in that hearing, Det. Miller described taking the suspect two days after the polygraph exam from the Wexford County jail to the property in Manistee County near Irons that investigators thought was important in the Adamczyk case.

Miller took him to the property on Peter’s Farm Road on June 23, he said, because he had told police that he would be able to point out important places on the property where police might want to search, Miller testified.

During that search, police “obtained some information from another party that (the suspect) had some weapons at his residence,” Miller said.

That case was turned over to Sgt. Daniel King of the Traverse Narcotics Team, members of which were there along with several other police agencies to help in the search of the property.

King took him to his house, just a short distance down the road, and the suspect admitted he had weapons.

There, police found two shotguns hidden behind paneling in a closet and a rifle in another closet. They also found marijuana plants hung in a bedroom to dry and two marijuana plants potted just outside the house.

Those finds led to the current charges against the suspect.

Smith argued at the December hearing that those were property crimes and that this case should be thrown out based on the immunity deal he worked out with the state police detective. Batzer disagreed, however. He said he didn’t believe gun and drug charges were property crimes and, anyway, he said that immunity deal applied only to the cold case homicide.


The search of the property on Peter’s Farm Road seems to connect the case again to the other name listed in connection to the Adamczyk murder in the Skrzycki file.

In a court file, that second suspect’s address is listed as 16062 Peters Farm Road and that suspect was arrested on June 23 – the day of the search – to face a marijuana charge in Manistee County.

In that case, Grant, his attorney, sought to get a copy of the search warrant that led police to search the property, the one that was presumably the result of the interrogation of the first suspect about the Adamczyk murder.

Stone fought against the release of that warrant.

He wrote in a motion to the district court:

“The investigation is ongoing in these cases and the Prosecution believes that allowing the search warrant affidavit(s) to be unsealed at the present time will place in harm a witness who provided information.”

The search warrant remained sealed but the marijuana case against Grant’s client wound up dismissed in September, on the date the preliminary exam was to take place and around the same time that Skrzycki was charged with murder.

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