Two charged in murder of River Rouge man

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR – Two Taylor brothers could face up to life in prison if convicted in the murder of 38-year-old Michael Lee Stratford of River Rouge.

Police and prosecutors said Stratford – who’d gone missing after leaving his River Rouge home on May 7 for a motorcycle ride – was killed at a Taylor residence before being discovered on May 14 in an Ypsilanti field.

Wesley D. Brown, 35, was charged May 18 in Taylor’s 23rd District Court with open murder and disinterment of a dead body. His brother, Adam L. Brown, 41, was charged with disinterment and mutilation of a dead body and as an accessory after-the-fact.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller said Stratford was last seen at the older Brown’s house in the 22100 block of Brian Street in Taylor.

Stratford was a single father to a 3-year-old girl.

Miller said the body found in an Ypsilanti field has been identified as Stratford after being transported to the Washtenaw County Medical Examiner’s office.

“The facts and evidence in the case will be presented at the preliminary examination,” Miller said.

Police Chief Mary Sclabassi said the two Taylor men were arrested soon after the discovery of Stratford’s body in Ypsilanti. Adam Brown turned himself in to police May 14, and Wesley Brown was taken into custody the following day after city and state police searched the Brian Street house.

“It is believed the murder occurred on May 7,” Sclabassi said. “Both defendants’ family members were cooperative with police in the investigation.”

The two remained in custody. Adam Brown was held on $1 million cash bond; Wesley Brown was denied bond. A probable cause hearing has been scheduled for June 1, and a preliminary examination of the evidence against them for June 6.

(James Mitchell can be reached at