2018 POAM Distinguished Service Award
Detectives Michael Preadmore & Brian Sroka, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
On a brisk October night in 2014, a young 22-year-old female named Chelsea went missing from a Halloween party in Frenchtown Township, Michigan. When the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office began examining the disappearance, nobody knew that this investigation would become a high profile murder case.
Detective Sergeant Jeff Pauli assigned Detective Brian Sroka as the lead investigator on the case, with Detective Michael Preadmore as the assisting detective. It didn’t take long to determine that the detectives were dealing with a murder case.
Known for his meticulous organizational skills and excellent attention to detail, Detective Sroka structured the investigation in to three parts:
- Develop suspects.
- Locate Chelsea’s remains.
- Get the evidence that would result in a conviction.
Even with Detective Sroka’s well-developed police skills, the case proved difficult. Detectives Sroka and Preadmore had very few leads and even less information about Chelsea’s actions on the night she disappeared.
It wasn’t until April of 2015, the following year, that Chelsea’s remains were discovered in a deserted rural area. At the scene, Detectives Sroka and Preadmore gathered and preserved key evidence, which eventually became a vital element in the ongoing investigation.
Throughout the months, hundreds of tips continued to come in. Detective Sroka organized and assessed each and every one – ensuring every tip was investigated and its relevance determined.
Showing true grit, Detective Sroka never lost hope that Chelsea’s killer would be found and brought to justice. Detective Sroka moved forward with the unwavering belief that he was getting closer every single day.
Finally, on July 22nd, 2016 a sexual predator was taken into custody for an unrelated act. Evidence collected at the murder scene led the detectives to connect him to the murder. The official decision was made to have Detective Michael Preadmore interview the suspect in conjunction with the murder case. It was a decision that would seal the case and bring Chelsea’s killer to justice.
Using his own unique skills, Detective Preadmore obtained a full confession from the suspect and laid the foundation on which this serial rapist and murderer built his statement of lies. Detective Preadmore completely unraveled the killer’s story piece by piece, until the killer was sobbing, admitting the full truth of the act he had committed.
Detective Preadmore conducted the entire interview without raising his voice and without showing emotion.
To add to the impressiveness of what was accomplished, Detectives Sroka and Preadmore worked this case while maintaining a heavy workload of other ongoing investigations. Many of the hours that were spent solving Chelsea’s murder were completed on their own time, and at the expense of their own families.
Detective Sroka and Detective Preadmore, you exemplify the best members of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives Sroka and Preadmore deserve to be recognized for your commitment to the profession, your outstanding service and unwavering determination.
The Police Officers Association of Michigan is proud to present Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Brian Sroka and Michael Preadmore with the 2018 POAM Distinguished Service Award.