ARMADA (WWJ) — Pink carnations and signatures on a poster were just a few of the ways the community of Armada mourned the loss of 14-year-old April Millsap on Saturday, who was known as a true friend with a bright future.
Through lots of sniffles and hugs, friends, family and classmates met with grief counselors to mourn the loss of Millsap, who was found murdered on Thursday. Her body was found in a drain ditch on a trail in Armada Township in northern Macomb County.
About two dozen friends, classmates and family members came out to Armada Middle School to take part in the grief counseling.
“I’m going to water and keep it alive as long as I can and then try to preserve it so we can always remember her,” one of Millsap’s classmates Victoria Fair said about the flowers given out.
“I hope they find the person who did this and I hope they get what they deserve,” Fair said. “I will definitely be a little more worried, but not too worried — I’ll just be more aware and be more careful (when going on the trails).”
Fair said that she will miss Millsap’s smile, her love of poetry — but most of all — her kindness.
“She was very giving, she was very sweet, but she was very shy and that was a good quality of her,” Fair said. “It made her open to certain people, but she was always nice to everyone.”
Classmate Nadia Saycra recalled memories of how the two would play in the backyard and catch crayfish by the creek, while she signed a poster with big letters reading “We Will Miss You April.”
“I found out over text message, which just broke my heart,” Saycra said. “Nowadays, news gets out like that and it’s so sad. How I’ve been coping with it is by simply just talking it out with friends and family.”
The best friend of Millsap’s boyfriend, Joshua Unruh, said that after a storybook romance — filled with a chance meeting at the fair — April’s boyfriend, Austin, is having a hard time dealing with the tragedy.
“He was also breaking down a lot and crying — it’s just horrible,” Unruh said. “Someone would have to be really messed up to even think about it (committing the crime). It’s not right.”
Classmate Julia Jackson said that April was a wonderful person.
“(She was) a very nice, generous person,” Jackson said. “She was very caring and she always helped people.”
Jackson’s mother, Rhonda, came out to sign the poster-sized card for Millsap and said that the murder has been a shock to the community, adding that her daughter will not be allowed on the trails following the incident.
“Very uneasy. I live right in town — a block from where April lived and it’s very uneasy,” Jackson said. “He really did something brutally wrong and they deserve to find him and figure out what happened and why.”
A vigil is has been set up for Saturday night at St. Mary’s Church in Armada.