ASH TWP. (WWJ/AP) – As authorities try to identify skeletal remains that were found in a northern Monroe County field, police have officially ruled their investigation a homicide.
The unclothed body of a woman was uncovered Friday by workers trying to free a stuck dump truck at a home construction site near Briar Hill Road and Will Carleton Road in Ash Township.
It’s not yet clear if the remains belong to Chelsea Bruck, a 22-year-old Maybee woman who disappeared Oct. 26 after walking away from a Halloween party at a rural farmhouse on Post Road in Frenchtown Township. The party was held about 10 miles northwest from where the body was discovered.
Monroe County Sheriff Dale Malone said identification could take until Sunday, as they wait for dental records and other factors. Officials have not yet said when an autopsy will be performed, although it will require assistance from an anthropologist because the body is so badly decomposed.
“Everything we’re doing is out of respect for the family,” Malone told The Monroe News. “We’re going to be as thorough as we possibly can.”
A potential cause of death has not yet been revealed, although authorities say the situation is being investigated as a homicide.
Bruck was dressed as comic villain Poison Ivy and was wearing a leaf-covered top and purple wig when she vanished. A $30,000 cash reward has been offered in the case.
In early April, it appeared like there was a break in the investigation — when police responded to Flat Rock regarding a tip about clothing found in an abandoned industrial site formerly known as Specialty Petroleum, on Peters Road south of Van Horn Road — about 10 miles northeast from where the body was found. Collected items were sent to the Michigan State Police Crime Lab for forensic analysis, but the results have not yet been revealed.
Sheriff’s officials said a witness reported seeing Bruck walking away from the party at around 3 a.m. with an unknown man. The pair was spotted walking toward where cars were parked, according to the witness, but it’s unknown whether or not they left together.
Investigators have received nearly 1,000 tips from the public since Bruck went missing, but at least two of those reports involved sources who concocted stories about what they saw or knew about her disappearance. A 29-year-old Toledo woman, Kerri Carr, told detectives that her ex-boyfriend killed Bruck and dumped her body in a cemetery; while a 19-year-old Flat Rock man, Harlin Bird, said he saw two men harass and drive off with Bruck. Both were charged with lying to a police officer.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 734-240-7530 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.
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