The cold case murder of Jack Melvin Brown - Ypsilanti, Michigan - January 11, 1984

On January 11, 1984, two armed men entered the office building where 47-year-old real estate agent Jack Brown was working in his office, located in Ypsilanti, a suburb of Ann Arbor in Michigan. While one of the two men locked Jack's colleagues in a bathroom, the other entered his office. He was on the phone at the time, but when he saw the man approaching he seemed to have said, 'we're in trouble here', before hanging up. A colleague heard the gunman say to Jack 'you think you're pretty smart, don't you?'... to which he replied 'well, maybe'. The man then shot a bullet into Jack's neck, leaving him unconscious and badly injured. The unknown men left without hurting anyone else.

Brown was taken to a Beyer Memorial hospital and transferred by helicopter to University Hospital a few hours later. There he sadly died of his wounds around 02:00 a.m.

About Jack Melvin Brown
Jack Brown was born Oct 16, 1936 in Clay County, Arkansas, and had lived most of his life in Ypsilanti. He married Jo, but the marriage broke down. He later married his second wife Ann, a nurse with whom he was until his death. Jack was a member of the local chamber of commerce and the Rotary Club.

Police Investigation
The police first investigated traces at the crime scene and heard the witnesses. Because the two men were not wearing face coverings, they were able to describe the two quite clearly. Composite drawings of the perpetrators were made from their witness statements. The poster and description were used in police appeals to the public asking for more information about the murder. 

Left: the killer - Right: the accomplice

Hearing Relatives
Meanwhile, detectives spoke to relatives to find out if Jack might have had any enemies. However, that didn't seem to be the case. Many people in the community knew the victim and had no problem with him. His family was sure that Jack was not involved in illegal activities..
Still, his wife Ann said that Jack once hinted in a drunken stupor in the car that he was making a list of very powerful people who would be involved in illegal activities. He said he would keep the piece of paper in a safety deposit box. When Ann questioned him about the strange statements, Jack said it was better if she didn't know. That was all she could tell the police, and neither she nor the authorities ever found the safety deposit box that Jack had mentioned.

Another notable statement was that of his brother Norm. He told the police that he entered his brother's office the night before the murder while he was visibly upset on the phone. When Norm asked him if something was wrong, Jack said it was nothing serious.

The police suspected, after Ann and Norm's statements, that Jack may have mingled in a dangerous world and that the list of powerful people had something to do with his murder. They could find no other motive. Another scenario was Jack living a secret double life that no one knew about. However, to our knowledge, no evidence has been found for this.

Drug Bust
Some thought Jack's murder could be related to a large drug bust that police made in the area on the same day. The raid on the drug house was made possible thanks to an unknown informant. Evidence for a connection between the two events has not been found. However, the police would see it as a likely scenario. They think Jack may have known more and that the powerful people he was talking about could also be involved.

Tips and Information
In the years since the murder, much speculation has arisen about Jack's murder. For example, some thought that the mafia was involved in the crime. Others saw a connection to another murder of a seemingly innocent real estate agent. Jack's widow Ann spent years trying to find answers to the questions, and worked tirelessly to solve the case. However, it was to no avail. The police think there are people who know more. Is that you? Then let us know now. Don't hesitate and get in touch now (anonymously) using the form below.

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