July 27, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Police seek tips in Armada teen's slaying, release composite sketch

Armada — Police officials Sunday asked the public for help to find a possible suspect in the slaying of a 14-year-old girl found in a drainage ditch near the Macomb Orchard hiking trail Thursday evening.

“There’s no such thing as a tip that’s not worthwhile,” Armada Police Chief Howard Smith said Sunday at a news conference where authorities discussed the investigation into the death of April Millsap.

“We’re especially interested in any information from anyone who was on the trail between 6:20 and 8:20 p.m. Even the smallest bit of information could be helpful.”

One possible clue, Smith said, according to the Associated Press, is a text that April’s boyfriend received from her phone the night she was killed.

“Omg. … I think I’m being kidnapped,” the text said.

Smith said anyone with information about April’s death should call the police tip line at (877) 616-4677.

The chief spoke in the gym at the Armada Schools Administrative Building, where he was joined by Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw and FBI assistant special agent in charge Ron Loch. Each of the agencies has contributed resources to the investigation.

They also released a composite of a white male who is a person of interest being sought for questioning. Smith said his hair color is sandy brown or reddish.

“If it looks like anyone you might know or see, please call us,” Smith said.

Bear in mind, he said, the person may have changed his appearance.

He also said investigators have spoken to experts with the FBI in Quantico, Virginia, who said potential suspects may show an excessive interest in the case or have unexplained absences from their normal daily activities.

April was found in a ditch about 20 feet from the Macomb recreational trail. Her border collie led joggers to her body.

Saturday night, about 300 people attended a vigil for April outside St. Mary Mystical Rose Church in Armada.

April left her house to walk the dog on the trail between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Thursday, police said. Her family called police when she didn’t return home.

The Macomb County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide after conducting an autopsy.

Smith said police do not consider April’s family members to be suspects.

Meanwhile, authorities continue to search for a dented gray van occupied by two men that was seen in the area where she was found. Its role in April’s death, if any, hasn’t been determined.

April had just finished eighth grade and was heading to high school this fall.

cramirez@detroitnews.com
(313) 222-2058

Anyone with information about April's death should call the police tip ...