Police in Michigan found a 21-year-old Army Reserve member stabbed to death in his apartment late last month, and while a 24-year-old suspect faces murder charges in the case, few details on the incident have been released.
Spc. Brandon Allen LaFavre was found dead by Marquette City Police Department personnel at 1:45 a.m. on June 24, according to a statement from the department. Police arrested Derek James Blemke, 24, in connection with LaFavre's death; Blemke was arraigned June 27, according to local media reports.
The police department did not offer specifics on the crime beyond a five-sentence statement that referenced an ongoing investigation. Amber "Jack" LaFavre, Brandon's sister, said in an email that the family wasn't "sure what we're allowed to say other than what has been released to the media."
Brandon LaFavre, a bridge crewmember with 652nd Engineer Company out of Hammond, Wisconsin, entered service in 2014, shortly after graduating from high school. Seeking a career path, LaFavre turned to a family role model, his sister said.
"My grandfather, Roger Scuffham, was a Marine and served in Vietnam," Amber LaFavre said. "[Brandon] really looked up to and admired our grandpa, and I believe this inspired Brandon to join the Reserves. ... he wasn't sure at the time what he wanted to do after high school and the Reserves provided him with a sense of direction and purpose while he decided what to do with the rest of his life."
LaFavre earned the Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon in his roughly 30 months in uniform, according to personnel information provided by the Reserve.
"We are truly saddened by the loss of one of our teammates," Army Reserve spokesman Capt. Eric Connor said in a statement. "Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of Spc. Lafavre as they deal with this very difficult time."
When not in an Army uniform, Brandon LaFavre worked as a vendor for Pepsi, his sister said.
The family held services in Marquette and in Illinois, where many of LaFavre's relatives live. A donation page set up to offset travel expenses for those memorials, and other costs incurred by the family, nearly doubled its initial $2,500 fundraising goal and is continuing to accept donations.
Blemke was denied bond, according to local media reports, and has more court appearances scheduled for later this month. He's charged with "open murder"; under Michigan law, prosecutors aren't required to select first- or second-degree murder before filing charges.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.