No suspects in case of man found dead in his apartment

August 19, 2018

Police have tried to search a dating app, offered a $1,000 reward and even seized a dumpster looking for clues in the killing of Michael Willms, 58, who was found dead in a midtown apartment in late June.

While police are still chasing leads, Santa Fe police Lt. Paul Joye said, they don’t have a suspect in the case.

Paramedics responded to the Avaria of Santa Fe apartments in the early afternoon of June 21, responding to a Life Alert emergency alarm in one of the apartments. When they responded, police documents say, they discovered a man in the bedroom, wearing only his underwear, with what appeared to be stab wounds in his neck, shoulder and face.

The death of the lauded California event planner, who had moved to Santa Fe in recent years, was the city’s second homicide of 2018.

A search warrant filed in District Court early this month stated a detective learned Willms had been active on many dating applications and websites, including Grindr — a social media site marketed to gay, transgender and bisexual consumers. Police think Willms had met people on this app and brought them to his home, according to the warrant.

Police believe data from the application could help them net a suspect, according to the search warrant, but the email police had for Willms wasn’t associated with a Grindr account.

Cops are still looking for clues related to Willms’ murder. Crime Stoppers is offering $1,000 for tips leading to the arrest of a suspect. Tipsters can call Crime Stoppers at 505-955-5050 or Detective Lisa Champlin at 505-955-5044.

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