Almost every day, 14-year-old April Dawn Millsap of Armada Village, Michigan would take her Border Collie for a walk. Yesterday, she didn’t come home. Her life was tragically taken, but her fiercely loyal dog never left her, and led joggers to find her body.
The middle school student took her family dog out for a 30-minute walk on Macomb Orchard Trail on Thursday, as she did nearly every day. Sadly, it was her last walk. When she didn’t return within an hour, her anxious mother called police.
Her body was discovered by joggers near the trail later that evening. The Collie kept approaching them and kept trying to get them to follow him, pleading for help.
“The dog protected the body, stayed with the body, actually moved in and out,” said Armada Police Chief Howard Smith. The walkers who found Millsap “went by the dog the first time, thinking the dog may be coming after them. When they came back the other way on the trail and the dog was still there that made the people curious.”
The Macomb County Medical Examiner confirmed that it is a homicide, but will not be releasing the cause of death.
“A child (death) is particularly more heartbreaking to us,” said State Police Lt. Mike Shaw. “I don’t want to say a detective works harder on a crime because it’s a child, but I think we all know deep down inside that that’s probably true.”
A heavily-dented gray painters’ type van was seen circling the Village prior to Millsap’s discovery.
“It made someone suspicious enough to take a photo of it, so that’s what caught our concern,” Shaw said. “It could just be a painter that’s out here painting in the neighborhood… and if that’s the case, give us a call and we can scratch this off the list and move on.”
Anyone with information about the van or the case should please call 877-616-4677.