The former Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa vice chairman accused of killing a tribal employee in 2003 will be held on $500,000 bail, a judge ruled Friday.

Michael John LaGrew, 55, made his first appearance in Bayfield County Circuit Court before Judge John Anderson.

LaGrew was charged Thursday with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Jody Ricard, whose killing went unsolved for nearly 17 years. Ricard, 50, went missing from the band's offices on June 27, 2003, and her body was found hidden in the woods off a dead-end road about 2.5 miles away July 8.

LaGrew allegedly admitted to investigators Wednesday that he left the building with Ricard and drove to the dead-end location, intending to fire her. He told police that he struck her twice across the head with a trailer jack before hiding her body under a discarded Christmas tree, according to a criminal complaint.

LaGrew is scheduled to appear in court again Tuesday.