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Former student faces murder charges

Megan Doyle | Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Editor’s Note: A version of this story appeared Aug. 10 on ndsmcobserver.com

A former Notre Dame student from Michigan was charged with open murder Aug. 9, less than 24 hours before a search team recovered the body of his missing father, police said.

Patrick Mikes Jr., 21, pleaded not guilty to the charge Aug. 9 through his attorney at his arraignment at the 52-4 District Court in Troy, Mich., according to court records.

Mikes Jr. would have begun classes as a senior this week. University spokesman Dennis Brown said Mikes Jr. is no longer enrolled at Notre Dame as of Aug. 2. Brown did not comment specifically on this case, but he said the administration reserves the right to immediately suspend any student charged with a felony.

Mikes Jr. and his younger brother reported their father missing July 29, according to a press release from the Troy Police Department. The brothers told police they had last seen their father the morning of July 27 as he left for a bike ride.

As police began to investigate the disappearance, they found evidence of a violent encounter in the family’s basement and named Mikes Jr. as a suspect in the case.

Capt. Robert Redmond of the Troy Police Department said DNA recovered from the basement prompted his officers to arrest Mikes Jr. in what had at that point turned into a murder investigation. Based on that evidence, police arrested Mikes Jr. on Aug. 8 for his father’s murder. An “open murder” charge allows the trial jury to decide whether the crime is first- or second-degree murder.

“You have to go through a huge burden of evidence to show a murder charge when you don’t have a body,” Redmond said. “We met that burden. … So finding the body wasn’t necessary for the trial or [a possible conviction], but we continued looking for the body obviously because it was the right thing to do.”

Redmond said Tuesday he still does not know of a motive in the case. In an earlier press release on the investigation, he stressed Mikes Jr.’s younger brother is not a suspect in the case and is cooperating with police in the investigation.

Redmond said the nearly two-week search for a body ended Aug. 8. A search team recovered Mikes Sr.’s remains, as well as his bike, from a cornfield in Oakland County.

Autopsy results determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head, Redmond said. Mikes Jr. is scheduled to appear in court again to address the murder charge Monday. He is current being held at the Oakland County Jail without bond.

Mikes Jr. was also charged Aug. 1 with three felony counts of illegal use of a financial transaction device, meaning he illegally used a credit card that did not belong to him. Media reports from the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press stated Mikes Jr. used his brother’s credit card without his knowledge Aug. 26, the day before he reported his father missing. Police have not indicated that any connection between those fraud charges and the most recent charge for open murder.

Brown said Mikes Sr., was a 1979 Notre Dame graduate.

“The University’s thoughts and prayers are with the Mikes family in this difficult time,” Brown said.