Money missing from memorial fund of firefighter who died from cancer

Michigan State Police are investigating but have not been able to recover the funds, which has been missing since October


Cole Waterman
MLive.com, Walker, Mich.

SAGINAW, Mich. — Police are investigating after members of a fire department based in St. Charles held a benefit in the name of a deceased firefighter and some money was reported missing.

The Tri-Township Fire District on Oct. 16 contacted the Michigan State Police to request an investigation into the missing funds, according to MSP Special 1st Lt. David Kaiser. The funds had been raised during a fundraiser to benefit an anti-cancer cause in the name of Deward B. Beeler, who retired from the department in 2017 and died of cancer on Nov. 30 the following year.

A fundraiser was organized by members of the Tri-Township Fire District in honor of retired Firefighter Deward B. Beeler, who died from cancer in 2018. Michigan State Police are investigating after money from the fundraiser went missing in October. (Photo/Tri-Township Fire District Facebook)
A fundraiser was organized by members of the Tri-Township Fire District in honor of retired Firefighter Deward B. Beeler, who died from cancer in 2018. Michigan State Police are investigating after money from the fundraiser went missing in October. (Photo/Tri-Township Fire District Facebook)

“It came to light when a firemen’s association looked at invoices of the money that went in and went out and discovered the shortage,” Kaiser said. “We did many, many interviews on this.”

Tri-Township Fire Chief Pat Harley said the fundraiser was held in early 2019. It was put on by department staff but was not an official department function, Harley said.

The missing funds were less than $1,000, Kaiser said. The money has not been recovered by police, he added.

Whether or not charges are issued is a decision staff in the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office will soon face.

“Our investigation is complete and should be turned over to the prosecuting attorney for review in the next couple of days,” Kaiser said on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

While police did develop a suspect, Harley said that person has not been suspended from the department.

“We gotta deal with it in stages,” Harley said. “I can’t suspend somebody when it’s just allegations.”

The department is located at 106 W. Spruce St. in St. Charles and services St. Charles, Brant, and Swan Creek townships.

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©2020 MLive.com, Walker, Mich.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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