April Millsap )
Armada— This quiet community continued Tuesday to mourn the loss of a teen whose body was found off a popular Macomb County recreational trail.
Sandi Pallas, an Armada Township resident, took time to drive over to a makeshift memorial that reads, “We will not live in fear,” placed not far from where April Millsap, 14, was found Thursday.
“If it was my daughter, I can’t believe the horror her mother is dealing with,” said Pallas, who has 13- and 21-year-old daughters. “My 13-year-old has been hysterical.”
Longtime township resident Todd Godin said the 23-mile Macomb Orchard Trail is cause for concern.
“There is way too much activity out there,” said Godin, an avid hunter who installed video cameras on his property. “The trail is several miles long, which offers easy access to do something like that.”
Visitation for April will be 2-8 p.m. Thursday at Tiffany-Young and Hauss Funeral Home, 73919 Fulton, according to a family-organized Facebook page “Justice For April Millsap.” A funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Mary Mystical Rose Catholic Church at 24040 Armada Ridge Road.
April left her house to walk the dog on the trail between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Thursday, police said. Her body was found Thursday night in a ditch about 20 feet from the trail.
Pink bows in honor of April have been tied around trees throughout Armada. Donations for the Millsap family will be collected at Armada’s Music in the Park at Memorial Park at 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Justice for April Millsap Facebook page.
Michigan State Police are seeking information on a motorcycle that may have been in the area.
“Detectives continue to speak with April’s family and her boyfriend, but they are not considered suspects in her death,” Lt. Mike Shaw said in a statement Tuesday.
Authorities have released a composite of a white male with sandy brown or reddish hair. They are also searching for a dented gray van occupied by two men seen in the area where she was found.
Anyone with information should call police at (877) 616-4677.
This is the second time in five years a woman’s body was found along the trail.
In 2009, 87-year-old Dorothy Cezik had her throat slashed and was stabbed to death. Her body was found in a ditch along the trail. Authorities say her truck was set on fire to cover up the crime. Timothy Prince of Ray Township was convicted in her death.
Staff Writer Tony Briscoe contributed.