Standoff at Super 8 leads to arrest of parole absconder

No suspect arraigned on murder charge yet


WEST BRANCH — Ogemaw County Sheriff Howie Hanft said Robert Maxwell, a parole absconder who was reportedly involved in a standoff at the Super 8 Motel in West Branch Feb. 4 has been released from the hospital and is now in custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Maxwell, 49, of Genesee County is being held at the Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center in Jackson following his release from the hospital for treatment of alleged self-inflicted wounds.

Maxwell had been paroled from prison July 29, 2014 after serving time for criminal sexual conduct in the third degree with a person between the ages of 13 and 15.

According to Sheriff Howie Hanft, after receiving the tip deputies responded to the motel to make contact with the suspect. Hanft said the suspect refused to open the door and told deputies to leave or “bad things will happen.”

Hanft said at that point, he activated the Northern Michigan Response Team — a tactical emergency response team made up of representatives from various departments in the region.

Hanft said Maxwell was allegedly hanging out in the hotel’s hot tub Feb. 3 when he told someone he had recently gotten out of prison and had since committed murder.

The department was able to make contact with the Maxwell by telephone, but when he stopped responding, officers breached his room and found the suspect alive and bleeding out after allegedly attempting to take his own life.

Maxwell was apprehended and transported by ambulance to West Branch Regional Medical Center and later airlifted to Ascension Health Care in Saginaw, according to Hanft.

Multiple search warrants were conducted at a residence on the 4700 block of Rifle River Trail, and a body was found at the residence, Hanft said.

According to a press release from Ogemaw County Prosecutor LaDonna Schultz, the victim was 58-year-old William Joseph Shanks, whose death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner after an autopsy Feb. 6.

Hanft previously said Maxwell told him the address where the murder had allegedly occurred.

Schultz said police do not believe anyone else was involved in Shanks’ death.

The suspect was on parole with the Michigan Department of Corrections, Schultz said.

According to Hanft and Ogemaw County District Court no suspect has been arraigned on the murder charges of Shanks as of Feb. 10.


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A PAROLE ABSCONDER no less!!! Michigan Dept of Corrections, your Dept is really on the job. Release a child molester, he fails to report on parole and supposedly murders a innocent person. GREAT JOB MDOC? Your Dept even has a Sub Dept that costs the taxpayers millions of dollars each year to find these idiots, they are called the ABSCONDER UNIT......Worst thing is that the Michigan Parole board let ANOTHER idiot out that supposedly murdered someone.

How many innocent people have these parolee's murdered in the past ten years...

I really encourage residents to write their state legislators about this.

Sunday, February 12, 2017 | Report this

I forgot to thank Scott Nunn for persuing this story. Thank you Scott.

Sunday, February 12, 2017 | Report this

You can't blame the DOC- that's the easy thing to need to look at your governor and legislatures that continually close prisons and lay off department members. Have you ever worked in a prison? If you have, you know how undermanned they are. When the leadership of this state continues to close facilities, layoff members and have less beds....stands to reason their going to get out! Like it or not, the only way this type of nonsense is going to stop is to lock them up, keep our facilities open and quit plea bargaining with these types. Once one....always one and no amount of "I found God" is going to change that fact!

Thursday, February 16, 2017 | Report this

NorthernMichiganGuy, I have seen your rantings before however this one takes the cake.

I believe your aggression towards the MDOC is misdirected. Mr. Maxwell served his time for the CSC sentence (which began 2/25/2005) and was released on Parole almost 1 1/2 years ago (7/29/2014). His parole was about to end in four months time (6/01/2017). -Found on OTIS, the site can be found via a quick Google search-

I also urge you to look again at the staff for the absconder unit and parole officers in Michigan in comparison to the number of Parolees they have to deal with on a monthly basis.

On another point about your statement that "the Michigan Parole board let ANOTHER idiot out that supposedly murdered someone." Could you provide supporting data?

Also, you should look up how many people have been murdered in the past 10 years by parolees. I don't think the numbers are as exaggerated as you think.

Thursday, February 16, 2017 | Report this

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