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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Northwood Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying the driver of a red Jeep at a gas station on Woodville Road that was next door to a used car dealership, the scene of a murder nearly 23 years ago.

Michael Bollman who was the Car Corral’s finance manager, was shot multiple times on Dec. 20, 1996, at approximately noon. He was working alone at the time of the murder, which happened to be his 26th birthday. The case has grown cold since then.

The Jeep in the photo was parked at the Fuel Mart gas station next door. It was facing the Car Corral, which was located at Earl Street and Woodville Road. The photo was taken the day of the murder by Dave Barnes, from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

“I think the driver knows something,” said Northwood Det. T. Barrett, who has been investigating the case. “The driver may have seen something, or overheard some conversation.”

pic Bollman2bWEB
A photo of Michael Bollman from his 1989 Ottawa-
Glandorf High School  yearbook.

The police have identified the owners of all the other vehicles in the photo. 

“You can see people sitting in all of the vehicles. We know who they are,” said Barrett. “The police actually interviewed all those people.”

But police never learned the identity of the driver of the red Jeep, which is missing a front license plate.

“It’s missing the front plate because it’s a dealership car,” said Barrett.

Police Chief Tom Cairl said the driver of the Jeep may have spotted something but is unaware of its significance.

“The driver of the Jeep may have seen something that they never realized was important back in the day,” said Cairl. “Someone might know something and should come forward so we get closure for Michael Bollman’s family.”

Crime of passion
Bollman was shot in the face, head and neck with a small caliber firearm, according to the Wood County coroner’s office. Toxicology test results for alcohol and drugs were negative. He was standing when he was gunned down, said Barrett.

His killer escaped amid the bustling lunch crowd traffic and last minute Christmas shoppers on Woodville Road.

Police at the time had expected witnesses to come forward and the crime to be solved, particularly since it was not a typical murder committed under the shroud of darkness or in an obscure location.

But that hasn’t been the case.

The murder took place between 11:30 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. Police arrived at the scene after receiving a call from one of the dealership’s owners, Ali Sayed, at 12:20 p.m. Ali, who found the body, was at a title agency with an employee at the time of the murder.

Barrett believes the murder was a crime of passion, since Bollman was shot multiple times and nothing was stolen.

“He was a clean cut guy. There was nothing in his system. There was nothing in his car. There was nothing in his briefcase on his desk. There was nothing in his apartment,” said Barrett. “This screams crime of passion.”

“I have some ideas, but because of a lack of evidence, I can’t go anywhere with it just yet,” said Barrett.

The killer’s clothing had to have a lot of blood spatter from the shooting, said Barrett. The killer’s vehicle also likely had blood in it.

Chief Cairl said Det. John Kersker is working with Barrett on the case. He said Kersker was not in Northwood at the time of the murder, and will be a fresh set of eyes as he delves into the case.

“He’s still reviewing the case file, with a new approach, a different angle from what other detectives had over the years,” said Cairl.

Barrett said it was important for someone who has no knowledge of the case to look at the file.

JEEP FOR WEB
Police are seeking the identity of the driver of the Red Jeep in this photo taken Dec. 20, 1996, next door to the
Car Corral, a used care dealership on Woodville Road in Northwood, where a man was murdered. (Photo
courtesy of Northwood Police Department)

 

“I formed an opinion. But I’m waiting for Det. Kersker to look into it and form his own opinion. This is not something I want to run on with just one opinion,” said Barrett.

High spirits

John Bollman, Michael’s father, could not be reached for comment. In an interview with The Press for a story that appeared in the newspaper’s Dec. 28, 1998 edition, he expressed his desire for a witness to step forward to solve the case.

“I don’t know if anyone heard gunshots because it happened in the winter, and everyone had their windows rolled up,” Bollman said in the article. “It was five days before Christmas, and people were paying attention to getting where they were going, not spending a lot of time looking around. It probably happened in a matter of a couple seconds, then it was over. It would have been nice if someone had seen something, and the case could be over.”

Mr. Bollman said he had wished his son a happy birthday by phone only a couple hours before his murder and said his spirits had been high that day.
“He seemed fine. He was leaving the next day to drive up to Minnesota to spend Christmas with us. I spoke to him at 10 that morning and he said he would probably be late because he was going to have to stop the care frequently to let his dog out. He was driving my wife’s car, which had four-wheel drive, in case he had to drive through snow. He said he was leaving work early, going home to pack, and leaving the next morning.”

He said he was puzzled as to why anyone would want to kill his son.

Michael, he said, was quiet and kept to himself. He enjoyed playing touch football with friends, cruising in his boat on Lake Erie, playing with his dog, and hanging out at sports bars to share stories about the Minnesota Vikings, which was his favorite football team.

“He was very mild tempered,” Bollman said in the article. “I didn’t know of any enemies he had. Neither could the police, who went through his entire apartment and bank records searching for clues. Everyone they talked to liked him.”

Very solvable
With the advancements in forensic science since 1996, Barrett believes the killer will be caught.

“With advances in today’s technology, the evidence we have is going to be tested. I know this case is very solvable.”
Barrett is urging the person in the Jeep to come forward.

“If you were the person in that Jeep, if you know anything, just remember that Bollman was murdered on his 25th birthday. He still had not embarked on his life. He was just a baby. He’s never going to have a family, see a child graduate and get married. He’s never going to see them succeed. He was cut down in the prime of his life.”

The public can see the photo of the Jeep on the Northwood Police Department’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NorthwoodPoliceOhio/ and The Press’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pressnewspapers/

Please contact the Northwood police at 691-5053 if you have any information on the identity of the driver of the Jeep or any other information on the murder.

 

 

 

 

 

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