Hundreds toast Van Buren Twp. woman found slain in home

Jo Kroeker
The Detroit News
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This story has been updated: A previous version reported an incorrect amount for the Egypt Covington Music Celebration Scholarship. The annual scholarship, available to one Belleville High School senior, is $500.

Ypsilanti — Hundreds of beer glasses were lifted in the air in celebration Saturday of Egypt Covington’s life during toasts at Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery.

Egypt Covington

The attendees maxed out occupancy at the brewpub where they paid tribute to Covington, whose slain body was found by a friend in her Van Buren Township home on June 23.

Van Buren Police Detective Lt. Charles Bazzy said the case is being investigated as a homicide.

“We’ve narrowed down our scope,” he said. “We do not believe this is a random crime. We are working diligently to solve the crime.”

On Saturday, family and friends crowded the brewpub to celebrate her life with brews and stories.

Covington, 27, had a passion for beer and wine, so it’s fitting that in her honor, Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery endorsed the creation of a new beer: A Girl Named Egypt.

Chuck Covington, her father, said he could feel the love for his daughter in the building. As for the beer, he is in full support.

“That will carry her further,” he said. “We all love you, Egypt, look at all the people here.”

The celebration was originally scheduled to be held at Fraser’s Pub where Covington had worked before becoming an account manager for wholesale beer and wine distributor Rave Associates. Once word of the celebration spread, organizer Rick Lack, the executive vice president of Rave Associates, decided they would need a bigger venue. Even at double Fraser’s capacity, people spilled onto the sidewalks in front of Corner Brewing, greeting each other with hugs, sipping beer and swapping stories.

The celebration was originally scheduled to be held at Fraser’s Pub where Egypt Covington worked, but once word of the celebration spread, organizer Rick Lack, the executive vice president of Rave Associates, decided they would need a bigger venue. Even at double Fraser’s capacity, people spilled onto the sidewalks in front of Corner Brewing, greeting each other with hugs, sipping beer and swapping stories.

Lindsey Briley, 27, told of how she and Covington first met in the lunchroom at North Middle School. Briley remembers being awkward but already being familiar with stories of the “kick-ass, confident 12-year-old.”

According to Briley, it went something like this:

Covington: “You’re Lindsey, right?”

Briley: “Yup, I’m Lindsey, you’re Egypt, I’ve heard of you before.”

Covington: “Oh yeah. Well, tell you from the source, all the stories are true.”

Laughter amid the sniffles rang out from the brewery.

Rather than ending with a moment of silence, Briley initiated a moment of “Om,” because she said Covington recently became obsessed with yoga and meditation.

Phillip Rhodes, 61, saw Covington often at Fraser’s or Sticks. She was one of those people who once she was a friend, she was a dear friend, he said.

The last time he saw her at Sticks, he recounted, she was partially in the shadows. He couldn’t tell it was her until she threw her arms around him and said, “Wow, don’t even come over and say ‘Hello’? I saw you looking at me.”

Like Rhodes, Covington was an artist. She sang like “an angel,” said Lack, who knew Covington since she began working at Rave Associates last year.

Photos depiciting the life of Egypt Convington were on display Saturday at a tribute to her at Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewry.

Following Briley’s lead, instead of calling for silence, he encouraged 27 seconds of deafening applause and cheering for Covington — the best tribute to an artist he said he could think of.

Since her death, a GoFundMe memorial fund was started. As of Saturday afternoon more the fund had surpassed its $5,000 goal and raised more than $15,000. Briley announced how the money raised would be used:

■ A plaque will be added to Covington’s favorite outdoor spot to meditate in Crosswinds Marsh.

■Fifty percent will fund the Egypt Covington Music Celebration Scholarship, an annual $500 scholarship available to one Belleville High School senior. Covington graduated from the school in 2007.

■Twenty-five percent will benefit DragonFly Rescue & Resources, an animal shelter and care organization in Whitmore Lake, because Egypt loved animals.

■Twenty-five percent will go to SafeHouse Center in Ann Arbor, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault.

“Egypt was a strong, proud woman, who would do anything to help a person in need,” Briley said.

At the ceremony’s end, the hundreds raised their glasses for a girl named Egypt.

Van Buren Township Police ask anyone with information regarding Covington’s death to call (734) 699-8930.

jkroeker@detroitnews.com

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