Friends and relatives gather to remember missing Calhoun County woman
Calhoun County, September 13, 2004, It's been six months since a Calhoun County woman was reported missing. Sunday night, neighbors and loved ones of Mary Lands held a candlelight vigil.
They came to light candles and keep her name on the top of everyone's mind. As her family holds out hope, police mentioned foul play in the case for the first time.
Mary’s grieving mother says the last six months have felt like a lifetime, and she's coming to realize Mary may never come home alive. “I don't think she realized how many people cared for her; I really don't think. She's just a common person. She loved life,” she told 24 Hour News 8.
A national search for Mary turned up nothing. Police Chief Mike Olson assigned the case to a detective who only works this investigation full time.
“A lot of the work is very tedious. A lot of these things are small things, but this is a large jigsaw puzzle. It'll take very little piece to bring closure to the case,” says Sgt. Scott McDonald.
With help from other agencies, including the FBI, they're still tracking down tips and leads that have taken them to almost every state and even out of the country.
The national missing persons group working the case is worried about the lack of information, but says the six months that Mary has been missing, which may seem to be an eternity for many who miss her here in West Michigan, is still a relatively short time.
If you have any information on the disappearance of Mary Lands call Marshall Police at 269-781-2596.
Police say they will work diligently until they find her.http://www.woodtv.com/
Police release surveillance tape showing missing West Michigan woman
Marshall, October 4, 2004
Police hope the release of a surveillance tape will lead to clues in the disappearance of a West Michigan woman.
24 Hour News 8 obtained video that shows Mary Lands in a Marshall party store shortly before she went missing.
Lands hasn't been seen since March 12. She never returned home or contacted any family. Marshall police say they suspect foul play.
Police are asking hunters in Calhoun County to let them know if they stumble on anything suspicious. If you notice something out of the ordinary, mark the spot, and call the Marshall police.http://www.woodtv.com/
Man's home searched in missing woman case
Thursday, December 9, 2004
MARSHALL — Investigators returned Wednesday to the last place a missing woman was seen nine months ago.
Crime technicians used a search warrant to enter the townhouse on Marshall's west side, where Mary Lands was living with her fiancé before she disappeared March 12.
"We wanted to do some follow-up from the initial search we did in March," Marshall Police Chief Mike Olson said. "We are looking to see if there is any trace evidence that we might have missed."
Two crime-scene technicians from the Michigan State Police and two from the Battle Creek Police Department entered the townhouse before noon and were inside for several hours, Olson said.
He declined to discuss what police might be looking for and said information about any results of the search won't be released.
Lands, 39, disappeared after her fiancé, Chris Pratt, said she walked away after they had an argument.
Less than a month after she disappeared, Marshall police called the case suspicious and in September said they believe Lands was a victim of foul play.
An investigator from Marshall police and two from the Michigan State Police have been assigned to the case. The Calhoun County Major Crime Task Force also has been involved in the investigation.
Rewards totaling $9,000 are being offered for information about the woman's disappearance. Anyone with information is asked to call Marshall police at 781-2596.
Olson said Wednesday that investigators still consider her a victim and not simply a missing person.
"But we have essentially taken it back to ground zero," he said. "We have re-interviewed many of the people and are continuing to look for any evidence of a crime. We are investigating this as foul play."
Pratt was not home when investigators entered Wednesday and he could not be reached by the Enquirer.
Lands' father, Clifford Marshall, said family members were notified by the police department of the execution of the search warrant and will have a meeting with police officials today.
"The whole family is elated about it," Marshall said. "We have seen a little bit of movement in the case. We understand that they can't tell us anything about the investigation, but it has just been slack, so today it helped the family. They feel good about it because it just showed us they are working on the case."
Marshall said the long wait for a break in his daughter's disappearance has been difficult for the family.
"This is the holiday and it has been really tough," he said. "It has been rough on the family, but this made the family feel good that they are still plugging along on it."http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com