Srebnik, Wirgau murdered Bills, Hill ‘in cold blood,’ prosecutors say

News Photo by Julie Riddle Alpena County Prosecutor Cynthia Muszynski, left, 1st Lt. John Grimshaw, commander of the Michigan State Police-Alpena Post, and State Police Detective Sgt. Anthony Utt listen as Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, on screen, on Wednesday speaks at a news conference at the Alpena Post announcing murder charges in the 2021 deaths of Abby Hill and Brynn Bills.

ALPENA — Prosecutors today filed murder charges against Brad Srebnik and Joshua Wirgau in the deaths of Alpena teen Brynn Bills and Alpena woman Abby Hill.

Charges filed in Alpena’s 88th District Court by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office accuse Srebnik, 36, of two counts of premeditated murder, a charge of disinterment and mutilation of a body, and weapons charges.

Wirgau, 35, faces charges of premeditated murder, disinterment and mutilation of a body, accessory after the fact to a felony, and weapons charges.

Both men will appear in court today for arraignment. They have not yet been assigned attorneys.

Srebnik and Wirgau are serving two-year prison sentences on weapons charges in a separate case.

News Photo by Julie Riddle Attorney General Dana Nessel, on screen, listens as Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark answers questions at a news conference at the Michigan State Police-Alpena Post on Wednesday.

“These are singularly heinous crimes that shake us to the core,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said, appearing via videoconference at a Wednesday news conference. “These two men murdered these young women in cold blood.”

Prosecutors on Wednesday would not say how Bills or Hill died or explain the nature of the relationship between Bills, Hill, and the two men. Prosecutors refused to release many details outside of court, but did release new information on the timeline of the deaths.

An assistant attorney general confirmed police believe Srebnik killed Bills shortly after she was last seen, around the beginning of August 2021, when she was 17. Police found her body buried in Wirgau’s back yard the following month. Prosecutors on Wednesday did not disclose a possible motive for her killing.

Police believe Srebnik and Wirgau killed Hill, 31, in September 2021 because she knew too much about Bills’ death, Nessel said.

Based on social media posts and eyewitness testimony, police believe Hill, 31, picked up Bills in the early morning hours of Aug. 2 last year, Nessel said.

News Photo by Julie Riddle First Lt. John Grimshaw, commander of the Michigan State Police-Alpena Post, left, addresses a question at a news conference at the post on Wednesday as Detective Sgt. Anthony Utt listens.

Shortly thereafter, Srebnik killed Bills, Nessel said, adding Srebnik planned the murder.

In late September, Hill, Wirgau, and Srebnik stayed with friends, where Hill became upset after reading comments on social media blaming her for Bills’ death, Nessel said.

On Sept. 25, police believe, Srebnik, Wirgau, and Hill were dropped off at a remote location in the Alpena area, Nessel said. Police did not say who dropped them off or where, but that’s where Srebnik and Wirgau allegedly executed Hill, leaving her body in the woods, Nessel said.

Police found Bills’ body on Sept. 28.

Check out this Facebook Live video of the press conference at which charges were announced. Story continues below video.

A week later, police declared Hill missing and endangered. They found her body the following week.

Asked whether police or prosecutors expect any additional charges related to the deaths, Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark said prosecutors always continue to investigate and follow any facts that appear, and “we’ll go where the evidence takes us.”

Police submitted reports to Alpena County Prosecutor Cynthia Muszynski nearly a year ago.

Hagaman-Clark said prosecutors often request additional investigation, especially in serious cases such as homicide.

First Lt. John Grimshaw, commander of the Michigan State Police-Alpena Post, said investigators had to work carefully and thoroughly.

“We generally only get one chance at these cases,” Grimshaw told The News in a written statement.

Plus, police believed the people responsible for the deaths were locked up as police conducted their investigation, Grimshaw said.

No single factor prompted the filing of charges now, Hagaman-Clark said.

“Charges are brought when we think we can prove them beyond a reasonable doubt, and we look forward to showing you that at the preliminary exam,” she said.

The same week police discovered Hills’ body, they arrested Srebnik and Wirgau for allegedly hijacking a tow truck on Sept. 21, a week before the discovery of Bills’ body. Wirgau and Srebnik were sentenced to prison on weapons charges in that case.

The truck’s driver said Hill also participated in that hijacking.

Check out this interactive timeline of police’s investigation into the deaths of Brynn Bills and Abby Hill. Story continues below timeline.

The prosecutors on Wednesday did not say whether that incident was linked to either death.

In May, the Attorney General’s Office charged Bruce Kinsey, of Hubbard Lake, with impeding the murder investigation.

Kinsey on Monday pleaded guilty to a lesser offense of lying to a police officer.

Muszynski would not say whether Kinsey is helping police or whether he will testify against Srebnik and Wirgau.

Hagaman-Clark, Assistant Attorney General Gage Wakula, and Muszynski all will participate in the prosecution of Srebnik and Wirgau.

“There’s no charge, there’s no punishment that will alleviate the grief felt by families and loved ones,” Nessel said. “But we are committed to holding responsible their killers and exhausting all resources to see that justice is served.”

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693, jriddle@thealpenanews.com or on Twitter @jriddleX.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today