‘Loving father and football coach’ missing since June found dead, Michigan cops say

The body of a 27-year-old father was found buried in the woods more than five months after he went missing, Michigan cops say.

Police in Warren said the remains of James Wilkins were discovered Monday, Nov. 13, in a remote area of Oscoda Township. A cadaver dog helped investigators find his buried body in the area covered with “thick brush and trees.”

Wilkins was reported missing June 9, and investigators immediately suspected foul play, police said. Warren, where Wilkins is from, is 130 miles southeast from where his body was ultimately found.

“He does not deserve this to happen to him, he has done nothing all his life he’s been a good boy, he’s never given us problems,” his father, Reggie Edwards, told WJBK in June.

Police already announced two arrests in the case. Wilkins’ roommate, 27-year-old Donald Renfoe, was charged with first-degree murder, among other charges. A second suspect is accused of being an accessory for his role after Wilkins’ death.

Detectives previously executed a search warrant of Wilkins and Renfoe’s apartment. They found a a bullet hole had been patched in the wall, as well as what was suspected to be blood, police said.

“Detectives obtained additional evidence which showed that, on the date of Wilkins’ disappearance, Renfoe rented cleaning equipment and purchased additional cleaning supplies from a local hardware store,” according to police. The investigation also revealed that Renfoe contacted and worked together with a male friend, Darius Glenn, to clean out Wilkins’ apartment and likely dispose of Wilkins’ body.”

Renfoe fled to Ohio and was later arrested on unrelated charges, police said in August. He would face a mandatory life sentence if convicted of murder.

Police called Wilkins a “loving father and football coach.”

His cousin Anne Lynn told CBS Detroit in June that Wilkins was “the best father (who)… loved his children.”

“He was very active in their lives. He wanted to be there for every milestone,” Lynn told the station. “Every graduation. He just missed Father’s Day, and I’m sure it was one of the hardest days in life for his children because they are used to having James there with them.”

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