Sheriff: Holly standoff that ended with 1 dead, 1 in custody, started with carjacking

Hani Barghouthi
The Detroit News

Holly — A standoff that ended at a Holly home early Wednesday started with one carjacking in Kentucky and two other attempts in Monroe County, including from a grandmother in a hotel parking lot, authorities say.

The suspects, a man and a woman, reportedly crashed a vehicle in a yard at a Holly residence and stormed inside, Michigan State Police tweeted Tuesday. The female suspect surrendered to authorities before midnight. A bomb squad robot later sent into the house revealed the male suspect was dead inside.

An autopsy Wednesday determined William C. Lanham, 39, of Lebanon, Kentucky, died from a single gunshot wound to the head. The death was ruled a suicide, a spokesman said.

Earlier Tuesday, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said in a news release a woman, 55, visiting Michigan from Alabama was loading her vehicle in a Frenchtown Township parking lot at the Quality Inn, a hotel on West Dixie Highway. Just after 2 p.m. the woman and her grandchildren, ages 11 and 7, were approached by a male and female. The man displayed a gun, police said, and demanded the vehicle.

"It was the second carjacking attempt they had made," said Sheriff Troy Goodnough. "An earlier attempt at a car wash was unsuccessful for some reason and they moved on to a nearby motel where they stole the woman's Honda Pilot at gunpoint." 

The pair was seen entering northbound Interstate 75 in the 2008 Honda Pilot.

MSP said a 911 caller Tuesday reported spotting the minivan in a rest area before Holly Road on I-75. Troopers attempted a traffic stop and the two people inside fled with state police in pursuit, according to a Michigan State Police tweet.

Troopers found two vehicles with crash damage as they continued on Holly Road and located the minivan in the front yard of a home, police said. The pair were seen running into the occupied home. The homeowners, a MSP tweet said, were released.

The drivers of the two crashed vehicles had non-life-threatening injuries. 

The pair had been holed up in a house on East Maple after Michigan State Police said they were investigating a carjacking. Neighbors were evacuated after shots were fired from the home. An Emergency Services Team surrounded the house, and a state police helicopter assisted from the air.

The woman, identified as Michelle Holladay, 40, believed to be a Kentucky resident, surrendered to authorities before 11:30 p.m., according to state police.

"After no response from the suspect, a bomb squad robot was sent into the home and located the male suspect dead from a gun shot wound," state police tweeted at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

State Police spokesman Lt. Mike Shaw declined to release information of the occupants who fled the house "because it involved juveniles." Shaw said several gunshots were fired inside the house for unknown reasons.

Holladay was held in the Oakland County Jail pending charges. Goodnough said after she is processed in Oakland County for her alleged involvement in the Holly crashes and home invasion, Holladay would face charges in the two carjacking incidents in Monroe County.

Goodnough said the suspects allegedly dropped a vehicle stolen out of Kentucky at the Sterling State Park in his county and then spent the night at a nearby motel before the two other incidents.