Second arrest made in 1996 murder of Kalkaska woman

Jason Ryan, 35, who lived in Kalkaska at the time of the crime, was arrested in the Davison area on Monday.

A second person has been arrested in the murder of a 68-year-old Kalkaska woman dating back to 1996.

Jason Ryan, 35, who lived in Kalkaska at the time of the crime, was arrested in the Davison area on Monday. He was formally charged Tuesday afternoon in the death of Geraldine Montgomery.

Ryan is facing one count of homicide open muder, one count of homicide felony murder and one count of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. He is being held on a $2 million bond.

Montgomery was found dead in her home on October 6, 1996.

Jamie Peterson, who was convicted of the murder of Montgomery in 1998, admitted to the crime and had information that police say only someone at the scene should know. He is serving a life sentence at the Oaks Correctional facility in Manistee.

Police said evidence at the time of Peterson's trial indicated there were multiple subjects involved in the crime. In May, a team of detectives was assembled to re-examine the cold case.

"We don't give up on these old complaints," said Lt. John Card of the Michigan State Police. "We continue to investigate thoroughly until we are satisfied we've uncovered every bit of evidence."

Detectives said through the use of new technology, a DNA profile was obtained that led to the identification and arrest of Ryan.

"It took that long for technology to catch up so that we could take the contamination from the DNA and identify Mr. Ryan," said Card.

Friends and family of the victim, like Bernadette Eickholt, are dealing with mixed emotions about the arrest.

"Is it really him?," she asked. "Is it really going to be over?"

Eickholt was with Montgomery the day before her murder. They were spending time at local craft shows, picking up ideas for Christmas gifts for friends.

"Everybody loved her," Eickholt said. "Everybody in town loved her. She was a very nice person, very happy, very accommodating, a very good friend."

"I want to know he is the one for sure," she said. "I haven't heard him say it with his own mouth. I want to hear him say it."