DEARBORN (WWJ) – Dearborn police have confirmed that a body found in a wooded area is that of a 20-year-old woman who was abducted after a dollar store co-worker was fatally shot.
Dearborn police and Michigan State Police are investigating the area near the Southfield Freeway and Michigan Avenue where the body was discovered on the banks of the Rouge River, near some railroad tracks.
That location is just a couple of miles east of the Family Dollar store on Michigan Avenue where the murder-abduction took place Monday evening.
“I feel rather enraged we have another homicide in Dearborn,” Police Chief Ronald Haddad said.
Police said Machus, of Romulus, was abducted from the store — where she worked as an assistant manager — after her 20-year-old co-worker Joseph Orlando was shot to death.
Police said Machus’ cell phone and personal belongings were left behind at the store, which instantly led them to believe she was in danger.
Haddad declined to comment about a possible cause of death or a motive in the killing.
Brenna’s brother, Ryan Machus, who described his sister as “bright” and “a fighter,” said it’s believed there was an altercation behind the store and that Brenna opened the door to check it out, “…and that’s all we know,” he said, adding that several people had recently been fired from the the Family Dollar, making him suspect the crime was some sort of inside job.
Talking to WWJ’s Mike Campbell, Tina Cable — a former Family Dollar employee who knew Machus — said she’d heard a body had been found and had to see for herself.
Cable said she wants police to check every tip. “She dated my son for a little while and she told him that there was a guy that was stalking her all the time,” Cable said.
Cable said there isn’t much security at the Family Dollar, and believes someone must have coaxed Machus outside before she was abducted. Those details have not been confirmed by police.
“I just wants to see who[m]ever did this caught and punished,” Cable said.
Police are looking for tips from anyone who can identify the suspect, whose image was captured on security footage.
Crime Stoppers is now offering a $12,500 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Those with information are urged to call Crime Stopper’s anonymous tip line at 1-800-SPEAK UP. You can also text your tip to CRIMES (274637).