On July 24th, somewhere around 5 pm, 14-year-old April Millsap walked out of her family home in order to walk her dog on a nearby trail. She never came home. Hours later her dog led people to her body, recovered lying in a ditch, about 20 feet away from the very trail she had intended to walk down.
Her death certificate, issued by the Macomb County Medical Examiner’s Office, says that she died of blunt force trauma to the head and strangulation.
April’s murder sparked outrage in her community, and brought about a widespread investigation involving the Michigan State Police, the Armada Police Department, the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department and even the FBI.
Months passed. Ponds and pools were drained, countless people were questioned and then questioned again, evidence was collected and analysed from a myriad of different sources, more than one thousand tips were submitted to police and had to be investigated. But as it turns out, eleven weeks later, all of this work may have been well worth it in the end.
Police have irrefutable physical evidence
According to information provided at a recent news conference in Mount Clemens by Armada Police Chief Howard Smith, someone who was named as a person of interest in the case from the very beginning, has finally been arrested and charged with April’s death.
James D. VanCallis, a 32-year-old resident of nearby Wales Township and the father of one of April’s classmates, was arraigned on single counts of first-degree premeditated murder, felony murder, and assault with intent to commit sexual penetration in the 42nd District Court in Romeo on Thursday, October 9th.
According to the Macomb County Prosecutor, Eric Smith, the police have irrefutable physical, eyewitness, and electronic evidence that places VanCallis “at the scene of the murder, with the victim, at the time of the murder.”
In response to the charges, an e-mail was sent to the media by Dean Ankouny, VanCallis’ defense attorney, saying, “We are disappointed that the Prosecutor has decided to wrongfully charge James VanCallis with this crime. He maintains that he did not kill April Millsap. He looks forward to proving his innocence in court.”
VanCallis is currently being held in the St. Clair County Jail, where he has been for some time, on unrelated drug charges. His next court date has not been scheduled yet.