July 30, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Community remembers slain Armada teen at concert; Wales Twp. house searched

Neighbors in a rural township northeast of Armada watched all day as FBI agents executed a search warrant at a home in connection with the murder of 14-year-old Armada girl.

Rhonda O’Donnell said she had seen FBI staking out the home on Marquette Road in Wales Township watching the comings and goings of its occupants as early as 9 a.m. Wednesday.

O’Donnell said they arrested one man who shouted out to onlookers, “they got me on 15 marijuana plants.” She added she saw the plants taken out by police.

Meanwhile, more than 100 people turned out Wednesday night for a concert in the park that was dedicated to raising money for April’s funeral expenses.

April’s mother, Jennifer Millsap, attended but did not speak. A family member of Millsap’s boyfriend traveled from Columbiaville to sell pink T-shirts that read “Justice for April.”

“We appreciate all the prayers that people are sending,” said Sarah Lichtenfelt. “We are doing our best to try to defer the cost for Jennifer because that is the last thing she should have to worry about.”

The FBI Detroit Division confirmed it executed a search warrant at the home about 15 miles west of Port Huron in St. Clair County, FBI Detroit Division Supervisory Special Agent David K. Porter said.

Police would not confirm an arrest or whether anything links the home’s occupants to the death of April Millsap, whose body was found last week in a ditch along the Macomb Orchard Trail outside Armada.

Michigan State Police are seeking information on a motorcycle that may have been in the area. They also have released a composite sketch of a white male with sandy brown or reddish hair who is a person of interest and is being sought for questioning.

O’Donnell and neighbor Mary Mannino said they remain cautious. “I would never walk my dog unless it was on a public road, not a trail no matter how nice it is,” said Mannino of Wales Township.

O’Donnell of nearby Goodells agreed.

As bands played classic rock tunes during the Wednesday evening concert, children played on swings and townspeople mingled in the small park.

Kelly Smith of Capac’s white Jeep was decorated in pink bows. Even her 20-year-old poodle Gus donned a pink ribbon in honor of April.

Smith said she lives 14 miles from Armada and the news of April’s death hit hard.

“We feel horrible for the family,” said Smith. “I have a 11-year-old niece and a 14-year-old nephew. I hope they catch the person or person that did it. I hope they get what they deserve.”

An online fundraiser to cover funeral expenses had raised more than $11,300 by Wednesday afternoon.

Visitation for April will be 2-8 p.m. Thursday at Tiffany-Young and Hauss Funeral Home, 73919 Fulton, according to the Facebook page. A funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Mary Mystical Rose Catholic Church at 24040 Armada Ridge Road.

Anyone with information should call police at (877) 616-4677.

(313) 222-2613

Jennifer Millsap, right, mother of April Millsap, gets a hug from Anita Iafrate at the Armada JAMS concert, which raised funds for the family. / Todd McInturf / The Detroit News
FBI agents search a house in Wales Township on Wednesday in connection ... (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
April Millsap (Facebook)
Police released a composite sketch of a man they are calling a person of ...
FBI agents and Michigan State Police troopers raid a house Wednesday in ... (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)