(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 22, 2014)
A body found in a burning vehicle in the desert outside of Los Angeles on April 14 has been identified as former Ferndale resident Justin Neil Schalk, 40. Schalk is a former student of Ferndale High School who had been living in California doing MMA, Mixed Martial Arts, fighting competitions.
According to various reports, two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder. Sean Allen Briskey, 30, and Major Austin, 31, both residents of Montclair, have been arrested. According to Daily Press, Briskey is also “facing charges in Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga jurisdictions for separate crimes including felony domestic battery, being a felon in possession of a firearm, operating an unregistered vehicle and driving on a suspended or revoked license.” They were arrested Saturday on Pipeline Avenue in Montclair, CA.
An online fundraiser has been set up to raise money for Schalk’s family, including two children. “Whether he was your acquaintance, friend, cousin, brother, son or father; I’m positive that you have a memory (or many) of him that ranges from anything to crazy, funny, shocking, unbelievable OR just simply entertaining,” wrote longtime family friend Heather Giesey, who set up the page. “If he cared about you, he protected you, no matter what the cost. I sit here writing this with such a sad heart, partly not believing that this could even possibly be true and having such a difficult time wrapping my head around all that has transpired in the past week, and the other part not believing that I’m never going to hear that hearty voice and happy laugh that made me smile every time I spoke with him.”
The online fundraiser will help pay for his memorial service, and any additional funds will help his children. The link to donate is: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/8kNx3?psid=7cef8266b3bf45419a70546c1155e28b
Private memorials are being organized in California and in the Detroit area. This story will be updated as we get more information. If you would like to share any memories of Justin, or have further information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.