WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Hours before police executed a warrant to search his house for clues as to his wife's disappearance, Stephen Grant told a newspaper he understood why people suspected him of wrongdoing but said he was innocent.
"That's what I would think when I watched cases like this," he told The Detroit News on Friday. "When Laci Peterson came up missing (in 2002), I was sure her husband (Scott) did it. But now I'm on the other side of it."
By Saturday, Grant would become the subject of a statewide manhunt after police discovered what they believe to be Tara Lynn Grant's dismembered torso in the garage at the couple's house.
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An arrest warrant was issued Saturday charging Grant with murder, disinterment and mutilation. The torso and body parts found in various places in a nearby park had yet to be positively identified as of late Saturday, but Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel said he was sure they were Tara Grant's.
"He is the number one, and at this time the only suspect in the murder of Tara Lynn Grant," Hackel said.
Authorities believe Stephen Grant is at large in Emmet County near the tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, almost 300 miles from his suburban Detroit home in Washington Township, Sheriff Pete Wallin told The Associated Press Saturday.
Tara Grant was last was seen Feb. 9, and Stephen Grant reported her missing five days later. Police say the day the 34-year-old businesswoman went missing, the Grants argued over her frequent business trips abroad. Throughout the search for his wife, Stephen Grant has maintained his innocence.
"We haven't caught him," Wallin said by telephone from Pellston Regional Airport. "We have located his vehicle. We're doing an intensive search with assistance from the Coast Guard and our emergency response team. We've notified people in the area."
State police said late Saturday that authorities were closing in on Grant at a cabin at Wilderness State Park, located near the Mackinac Bridge linking Michigan's Lower and Upper Peninsulas. But, Wallin told The AP: "I'm not going to tell you where he's at. He's in northern Emmet County."
A truck Grant was believed to have driven from his home 30 miles north of Detroit was found Saturday night near Carp Lake, just west of the state park.
Grant, 37, went missing hours before police found the torso in the garage of his home. Hackel said Grant fled the area in a friend's pickup truck shortly after allowing deputies inside his house to execute a search warrant.
Police obtained a warrant to search the home after persuading a judge that there was probable cause to believe a crime had been committed there. Hackel told reporters Saturday evening that investigators "did find several items we suspect were used in the commission of this crime," but added, "By no means did we expect to uncover what we did in the home."
About 100 law enforcement personnel looked for other evidence and additional body parts Saturday near the Grants' home and in nearby Stony Creek Metropark. The search was suspended at nightfall and was to resume Sunday morning, Hackel said.
Grant's lawyer, David Griem, said Saturday he had spoken twice that day with his client and that he feared Grant was suicidal.
Tara Grant was an operations manager for Boise, Idaho-based Washington Group International, an engineering and construction firm with an office in the Detroit suburb of Troy. Her job regularly sent her to Puerto Rico.
If convicted of open murder, Grant could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
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