Alpena priest receives death threats

ALPENA – The Alpena Police Department is investigating death threats against a 61-year-old priest who works in the Alpena Catholic community.

Rev. Richard Schaeffer has been serving as a parish administrator since August 2012.

“He did receive an anonymous letter and we sent it to law enforcement, according to our policies,” Candace Neff, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Gaylord, said. “Given the times that we live in, any comments, which seem to threaten persons or property, must be taken seriously.”.

Schaeffer is a Michigan native and was ordained in Marquette, she said.

Although parishioners said they were shaken by the event, area churches have been full.

Interim Police Chief Joel Jett said his department is actively investigating the case and described the mailed material as disturbing and threatening.

One of the letters was received recently, he said.

“There have been a variety of issues addressed,” Jett said. “We are not making any assumption that we are dealing with one person or multiple people. We are leaving our options open.”

Anyone with information should call 354-1800, he said.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693.