The Case Of Murdered Mom Renee Pagel Stayed Cold For Over Ten Years

Renee Pagel was recovering from donating a kidney when she was found stabbed to death in her bed on Aug. 5, 2006.

January 23, 2023
Renee Pagel, pictured here smiling, was found stabbed to death in her Michigan bed on Aug. 5, 2006.

On Aug. 5, 2006, Renee Pagel was recovering from donating a kidney when she was found stabbed to death in her bed.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Calls from the Inside")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Calls from the Inside")

Renee Pagel was still recovering from donating a kidney to a stranger when her father found her dead in her bed at her Rockford, Michigan home on Aug. 5, 2006.

Her father knew when he saw her that she appeared to be dead. Blood pooled around her, and apparent stab wounds left her disfigured. There was a cloth jammed in her mouth.

Authorities noted that she was tangled in her bedding wearing nothing but a nightshirt, leading them to believe that she’d been attacked as she slept. There were no signs of forced entry, and nothing of value was missing. There was cash laying on the bedside table, and nothing in the house appeared to have been disturbed. There wasn’t any blood tracked back to the door and no evidence of a sexual assault.

The wounds to Renee’s body, however, hinted at an angry, sinister plot. She had been stabbed more than 50 times. Her upper body was deeply cut in multiple places. She had defensive wounds and some of her fingers had been nearly severed, leading police to believe she fought back. Whoever attacked her was so angry they managed to pierce her skull with the blade of the knife.

The Usual Suspects

Renee had recently mentioned that a few weird things had happened around the property, including water being left on in her barn. She had a tenant living in another building on the property, and police knew he’d been there when Renee was killed. They interviewed the man, but they had no way to link him to the crime and quickly moved on.

Police learned that Renee was going through a nasty divorce at the time of her death. She and her husband, Mike, shared three children together, but their marriage grew strained and eventually acrimonious after Mike refused to get a job. Instead of working, he insisted on being a stay-at-home parent. A recent ruling by the judge in their divorce case had granted Renee the majority of custody over the children, and Mike was furious at the ruling.

On the same day that Renee’s body was found, police traveled to the home Mike shared with his mother about 10 miles from Renee’s home. Mike wasn’t home, but his mother invited the officers in and told them that Mike had spent the previous evening home with the children. All was quiet overnight except for when she heard the sliding door open around 2 or 3 in the morning. She assumed Mike was letting the dog out and went back to sleep.

When Mike returned home, and the officers informed him that his ex-wife was dead, he only had one thing to say: he wanted his lawyer.

Hear how the case went from hot to cold and back to hot again on Calls from the Inside on Jan. 24 at 9/8c on ID. More episodes are available now on discovery+.

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