ARMADA (WWJ) – A 32-year-old man who was arrested on marijuana charges is now an official “person of interest” in last month’s murder of an Armada teen.
James VanCallis, Jr. was taken into custody earlier this month after the FBI searched his home in St. Clair County on a warrant issued in connection with the death of 14-year-old April Millsap.
State Police Sgt. Mike Shaw said Tuesday that VanCallis is now a “person of interest” in the Millsap case.
Attorney Dean Ankouny said he doesn’t believe VanCallis knew Millsap.
“We don’t have any knowledge to believe that Jim VanCallis, Jr. has any connection in any way with April Millsap,” Ankouny told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill. “He’s a wonderful person. I don’t have any indicators to think that he’s capable of murder. I don’t have any indicators that he’s capable of any violent activity, actually.”
VanCallis’ father, James VanCallis, Sr., who was arrested July 30, also faces drug charges. Shaw said the elder VanCallis is not a person of interest in Millsap’s death.
On Monday, a second search warrant related to the case was executed at the VanCallis home, in the 8700 block of Marquette in Goodells — an unincorporated community in the northern part of Wales Township. Officials didn’t say what they were looking for.
“Both times, the house was completely ransacked and left in shambles and obviously, my clients are trying to cooperate, they’re trying to answer any questions that they can to assist in the investigation of the murder of April Millsap,” Ankouny said. “However, when you have on a periodic basis now, your house being ransacked, sometimes that’s not conducive to helping at that point, in terms of answering any questions.”
Ankouny said VanCallis has a medical marijuana license, but replied “no comment” when asked if his client might have sold the drug to anyone.
“My client did have a medical marijuana growing card. You will find that several times in the state of Michigan when people do have this medical marijuana card, sometimes their growing operation is not in full compliance. There may be issues with whether or not all of the requirements of the medical marijuana law have been met,” he said, declining to elaborate.
Millsap was reported missing by her mother July 24, after she failed to return home from walking her dog. Her body was found in a ditch hours later by a couple walking the Macomb Orchard Trail near Fulton and Depot roads.
According to the death certificate filed with the Macomb County Clerk’s Office, the teen died of blunt head trauma and asphyxia due to neck compression.
Anyone with information on Millsap case is urged to call police at 877-616-4677. Tips may also be submitted online at www.michigan.gov/michtip.