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Missing Girl: Brittney Beers - MI - 09/16/1997

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Originally Posted by Kelly on 03/15/04

Age-progressed to 17 years


Brittney Ann Beers

DOB:  Aug 1, 1991
Missing:  Sep 16, 1997
Height:  4'0" (122 cm)
Eyes:  Blue
Race:  White
Age at disappearance:  6
Sex:  Female
Weight:  45 lbs (20 kg)
Hair:  Blonde 
Missing From:
United States 

Brittney's photo is shown age-progressed to 17 years. She was last seen playing outside of the Village Manor Apartment complex in Sturgis, Michigan on the evening of September 16, 1997. She was last seen wearing a white tank top shirt with a possible floral design, bright pink or "hot pink" shorts and white tennis shoes with a pink design on the side. When she was last seen, her four front teeth were missing.

Contact Information:
Sturgis Police Department (Michigan)

Print a Poster:

Kelly Jolkowski, Mother of Missing Jason Jolkowski
President and Founder,
Project Jason
Read our blog about missing persons:

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Originally Posted: 06/26/05.

Case compilation from the Charley Project:

Brittney was playing outside of her family's residence at Village Manor Apartments during the evening hours of September 16, 1997. She went outside to ride her bicycle at approximately 7:30 p.m. Brittney's mother, Tina Stetler, left to run errands at approximately 8:30 p.m. and saw her daughter riding her bicycle around the neighborhood at that time. Brittney's half-brother told authorities that he saw his sister sitting on a bench about five minutes after their mother departed. A witness told investigators that he saw Brittney speaking to an unidentified male driving a red or brown mid-size vehicle shortly thereafter. Brittney walked over to the witness and told him that she "made a new friend." Brittney has never been seen again. She was wearing a white tank top or t-shirt with a floral design, pink tie-dyed shorts and white tennis shoes with a pink design on the sides at the time of her disappearance. Brittney's shoelaces had a red stripe down the center. She often wore her hair pulled back into a ponytail at the time she disappeared.

Stetler returned home at approximately 9:05 p.m. and asked Brittney's brother to find her. The authorities were summoned when the child could not be located near the apartment complex, which is located on U.S. 12, the major thoroughfare through Sturgis. Brittney's bicycle was discovered abandoned shortly after she was last seen. Sketches of the unidentified man seen speaking to Brittney were distributed through the area in the days following her disappearance. It is not known if the man is connected to her case. He was in his late twenties or early thirties with short dark hair and a thick moustache and was driving either a mid-sized red car or a brown Renault. Police are still looking for the man; he is not being called a suspect, but a witness whom they would like to question.

Michigan courts removed Brittney's older brother and younger sister from the family's home in 1998 after allegations of child physical and sexual abuse and neglect were issued. Brittney's father, Raymond Beers; his brother, James Beers; and Kevin Folsom, the father of one of her half-brothers, were allegedly involved in the abuse of the children. Folsom is now in prison for molesting Brittney. Her case received more publicity in 2000 after the arrest of a St. Clair Shores, Michigan man who had images of child pornography saved on his computer. One of the victims resembled Brittney, but was later determined not to be the missing girl. Brittney's case remains open and unsolved.

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Originally Posted: 07/24/06

News 3 Special Report: Into Thin Air

Alicia Smith, News 3 Anchor/Reporter

February 20, 2006 - 3:50PM

Posted Image

NEWS 3) - When you hear about missing children's cases, you might think, That could never happen to me.

Well, that's what one Berrien County family used to think. Their loved one -- 12-year-old Steven Kraft -- disappeared five years ago on February 15th.

Now the Berrien County Sheriff's Department is implementing a new telephone technique in tracking down children before they vanish into thin air.

Click here to see this special report by reporter Alicia Smith and photojournalist Carter Gent that first aired on News 3 at 11 p.m. on February 13, 2006.

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Originally Posted by Dan

on 08/28/06

Brittney Beers will be featured on the TV program "Missing".

The show will air the week of August 28, 2006, and in most areas, is shown on the following weekend.

Please check out which station airs the program in your area by visiting the following link.

Then check out the station's site (provided in the above link) for the exact day and time the show airs.

All the following adults and children will be featured on this episode.

Joanna Rogers, Heather Bennett, Jason Smith, La-Teasha Brooks, Cermen Toney, Diane Aviles Colon, Tommy Adkins, Estela Salgado*, Elizabeth Mondelli, Neil Eddleman, Kristina Bishop, Chelsea Morales, Gerardo Morales, Jason Jolkowski, Angela Ramsey, Danielle Nottingham, Karen Giron Molina, William Smolinski Jr., Ana Leyva, Ashley Martinez, Jerry Tang, Cory White, Brittney Beers, Iumila Vasquez, Tracey Tetso.

*Recently recovered

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Without a trace

Sister’s goal: Find out what happened



Published: Friday, September 14, 2007 9:31 PM CDT

If Brittney Beers were here today she’d probably be a student at Sturgis High School attending classes with friends. Her favorite class might have been art.

Brittney liked art. One picture that made her proud was an arrangement made of oak leaves pasted on paper that she made while in kindergarten at Fawn River School. And, like her older sister, Dixie Beers, she was a tomboy. She loved being outdoors.

Brittney lived with her mother, Tina Stetler, and her uncle, James Allen Beers, in Village Manor Apartments, until Sept. 16, 1997.

Missing for 10 years

Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of Brittney’s disappearance.

Dixie Beers said she will never forget the moment she found out her sister was missing. It was Sept. 17, 1997. She was attending class at Eastwood School when she heard people talking in the hall.

There was a guidance counselor waiting to talk to Dixie. Her mother, Christine, was there too.

Dixie, who was 10, was told that her half sister, Brittney, was missing. Brittney had been last seen sitting on a bench outside Village Manor Apartments at 8:45 p.m. She had been alone for only a short time. Her brother, Joshua, 12, said he saw her on the bench as he walked to the Burger Dairy store.

Dixie and Brittney are daughters of Raymond Beers, but lived with different mothers. There was never a time when Dixie was seen together with their dad and Brittney.

“I was not allowed to visit at Brittney’s house,†Dixie said in an exclusive interview with the Journal. “It’s a complicated situation. Brittney’s mother (Tina Stetler) lived with my dad’s brother (James Allen Beers). But we would see each other on the Jerolene playground.†The playground was located near both their homes. Dixie and her mom lived near the former Sturgis Middle School.

Today, as Dixie prepares to celebrate her 21st birthday next week, she feels frustrated. She has never gotten over the anxiety of her sister’s disappearance. Her life has been scarred with one tragedy after another in the last 10 years. She lost her dad in an accident in 2001.

What would she say if . . .

She wonders what she would say if Brittney were to return today. “First I’d tell her I missed her,†said Dixie. “Then I’d tell her what’s been going on, but only a little bit at a time. Too much has been going on. Then I’d ask her what in the world happened to her.â€ÂÂ

Police have investigated more than a thousand leads in the Brittney case but they never asked Dixie Beers what she thought happened. She knew Brittney was often frightened and living a troubled life at home.

“When you look at Brittney’s pictures, what do you see?†she said as she opened a book filled with newspaper clippings, cards, pictures and mementos.

“I see the face of a sad little girl. This whole thing about her sitting on a bench and then going off with a stranger makes no sense to me,†she said. “Brittney was very shy. She was so scared and skittish about talking to strangers, I can’t see her going away with a stranger.â€ÂÂ

The last picture of Brittney was taken by a baby-sitter on Children’s Day at the St. Joseph County Grange Fair. That was only a day before she disappeared. Brittney was blowing a bubble. There was a sharp change in her usual hair style. Her hair was short and made her look boyish.

“Uncle James (Beers) chopped her hair,†Dixie recalls, “because he said she wasn’t taking care of it. Brittney said the boys (at Fawn River Kindergarten) were picking on her hair, so he cut it off.â€ÂÂ

Dixie said it was the change in description of Brittney’s clothes a week after her disappearance that puzzles her the most. First she was described in the newspapers as wearing a white T-shirt with flower print, multi-colored tie-dyed shorts and white tennis shoes with a purple design. One week later, Sturgis police had a new description of her clothes. She was last seen wearing a white tank top with a flower design, hot pink shorts and LA Gear shoes with some pink designs. The laces on her shoes were white with a red stripe down the middle.

“Brittney’s clothes were found in a hamper,†said Dixie. “Why didn’t they (the police) take this more seriously?â€ÂÂ

Dixie also knew something about Brittney’s shoes.

Her dad, Raymond Beers, had bought her a new pair of shoes. “His favorite color was purple. He would have never gotten her pink shoes. That’s what threw me when the description of the shoes was even different.â€ÂÂ

The Journal asked Sturgis Deputy Chief of Police Dave Ives about Brittney’s change of clothes. He confirmed that there was a new clothes description released. He also said that Brittney’s tie-dyed shorts that were retrieved from the hamper were tested at the police station for blood stains. None were found.

Ives also confirmed that there is no computer record that Dixie was interviewed by police, but her mother was interviewed extensively about the family situation.

Father dies in accident

Raymond Beers took the disappearance of his daughter hard. He began not showing up for regular visits. Dixie recalls seeing him sobbing.

“He was depressed. He had nightmares,†said Dixie, “and he often blamed his brother for doing something to Brittney.â€ÂÂ

Raymond lived for car racing. He often raced at the Mottville Speedway when he could scrape up the cash. But on Dec. 15, 2001, Raymond, at age 33, was killed in an accident on Featherstone Road, Florence Township. He was riding with three other occupants in a pickup truck that veered out of control. Beers died after being ejected from the truck. He was not wearing a seat belt.

The last time Dixie talked with her dad was four months before the accident.

“Dad was supposed to pick me up for my birthday but he never showed. I remember that we had a long talk on the phone and I really wanted to see him so much. I told him I loved him. He said he loved me too.â€ÂÂ

There was another earlier death in the Beers family before Dixie was born. Amber Beers, a sister to Brittney, was the victim of a crib death on May 10, 1990. Amber was 11 months old when she died.

Today as Dixie keeps adding to her scrapbooks of photos, newspaper clippings and cards and memoirs, she wonders if Brittney could be alive somewhere and maybe not even remember that she was abducted. Maybe she’s with a family that cares about her, Dixie imagines.

“My goal in life is to find out what happened to her,†she said.

“I would like to see the police spend more time talking to Uncle James,†she said. “They have the perfect opportunity to see him now.â€ÂÂ

James Allen Beers is currently serving a 4-20 year sentence for controlled substance-delivery/manufacture-methamphetamine at Riverside Correctional Facility in Ionia County.

Terry Katz is a staff writer for the Journal. Contact her at

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Police: Brittney still a priority

By Corky Emrick

Published: Friday, September 14, 2007 9:31 PM CDT

It may have been 10-years ago, but the disappearance of Brittney Beers is still on the minds of local police officers.

“It has always been on the front burner,†said Director of Public Safety Dave Northrop. “It’s a high priority not only to us, but to the community.â€ÂÂ

Beers was reported missing about 10:33 p.m., Sept. 16, 1997 from the Village Manor apartment complex.

She had been last seen approximately 8:45 p.m.

Det./Sgt., Luis Rosado is assigned to the case, along with a FBI agent. The two officers are responsible for investigating every tip received.

“It is still an ongoing investigation. We stay in constant contact with the FBI,†Northrop said.

Over the last 10 years, police have received more than 1,000 tips. So far this year, 14 new tips have been investigated.

Northrop doesn’t need to be reminded. On his desk, under glass, is a copy of an age progression of Beers from age six to 14. It is issued by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The police department still maintains a computer dedicated to the Beers case.

Not only do the veteran officers remember the case, but new officers know the importance of the case.

“Even our new officers become familiar with the case,†Northrop said.

Northrop remains optimistic that the case one day will be solved.

“One day we’ll get that one lead that will break the case open and we’ll put this to rest,†he said.

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Family holds vigil for missing girl

September 17, 2007 - 8:50AMÂÂ

 STURGIS (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Brittney Beers was only 6-years-old when she vanished outside her apartment complex on US-12, which runs through Sturgis.

The Sturgis Police say this case is definitely still a priority even after ten years.

"There were times that me and my husband would be the only ones, it would be raining and cold but we came out here," said Ruth Ann Beers, Brittney's grandmother.

The bench where Brittney Beers sat before she disappeared has been gone as long as she has, a decade. So the Beers family brought out the lawn chairs to hold vigil at the spot. Candles for the vigil proved difficult to light in the wind, but this family kept trying, showing their resolve in their search for a loved one.

"Wherever I go, or my husband goes we look, all the time to see if we can find her, I'm not giving up hope," said Ruth Ann.

"Now that I'm older, I figure I should try my best to find out what happened," said Dixie Beers, Brittney's sister.

Brittney disappeared from the Village Manor Apartment Complex on September 16th 10 years ago. It is a case that's proved difficult for police for a simple reason.

"We don't have an eyewitness, that's what's made this case so difficult, it's not that it's not solvable, it's just going to take time," said Sgt. Luis Rosado of the Sturgis Police.

Police say 10 years have yielded literally a thousand leads, 14 this year alone. They hope for more that will help piece together what happened.

"What can I tell you, is we have theories in the case, but we're not close minded to that, we're open to anything," said Rosado.

Now 20-years-old, Brittney's sister Dixie just holds out hope; even as leads decrease with time.

"She's not found, I hear all these stories and what am I supposed to believe, who knows, nobody knows, but the people that did it," said Dixie Beers.

For anyone out there, Dixie has a simple message. "If you see a girl that looks like me, ask if her name's Brittney," said Dixie Beers.

The Sturgis Police say they continue to work all angles on this case.

Brittney Beers' family say they believe she's alive, and that they'll go out to that street corner every year, until she comes home.

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Brittney has now been missing for 11 years.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her family for her safe return.

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Closure in Walsh family tragedy offers hope for Sturgis cold case

Eleven years ago, 6-year-old Brittney Beers vanished from her apartment complex. While the case is open, investigators have found no new leads; but they're determined, just like Florida detectives, to close the case.

And since 1997, when Beers vanished, detectives have received thousands of tips.

While the times have changed, some of the familiar places are still around and the circumstances surrounding the suspicious disappearance of Beers from the Village Manor apartment complex also linger.

"It wasn't late at night or early in the morning, it was maybe five or six o'clock," recalled Sturgis resident Patricia King.

Sturgis Deputy Police Chief David Ives said detectives are still investigating.

"People don't forget and we sure don't," Ives said. "It's important to officers here now, and those that retired."

Beers has appeared on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website along with 4,500 others across the country.

The Sturgis community remains optimistic, looking at Adam Walsh's case in South Florida, which finally closed after 27 years.

"If it takes 20 years, sooner or later they'll find who took that child and where she's at," said Sturgis resident Barbara Harris.

"It's not over," Ives added.

Sturgis Police follow new developments and review evidence.

An age progression photo was released Tuesday. It has already appeared on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website.

"We just wish we could find out what happened to her," said Sturgis resident Sonya Saddison. "I know the whole town is waiting on it."

Ives said detectives and the FBI meet regularly to review the case, combing through every detail to ensure nothing was overlooked.

Most cases remain open until a child is recovered.

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Search renewed for Sturgis girl missing 12 years

Posted Image

Brittney Beers

September 16, 2009

STURGIS, Mich. - This week marks the 12th anniversary of the disappearance of a Sturgis girl.

The FBI and local police say they're renewing efforts to find Brittany Beers. She was 7 years old on Sept. 16, 1997, when she was last seen sitting on a bench near the apartment complex where her family lived.

Investigators tell WNDU-TV in South Bend, Ind., they're going back over the entire case to look for new leads. Sturgis is near the Indiana border, about 80 miles south of Grand Rapids.

Investigators say they hope the passage of time will make it easier for people with knowledge about Brittany's disappearance to break their silence and come forward.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sturgis police at (269) 659-7260 Crime Stoppers.

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Sturgis Police maintain open case on girl missing 12 years

Posted Image

Brittany Beers pictured just before her disappearance in 1997.

Thu Sep 17, 2009

By Candice Phelps editor

Sturgis, Mich. -

It was 12 years ago Wednesday that 7-year-old Brittany Beers disappeared from a park bench near her home in Sturgis and local police say they haven’t given up on finding the missing girl.

Beers, who lived in an apartment on the east side of the city, disappeared without a trace.

“Investigators renewed efforts just this year by going through the entire case seeking out tips and leads that may require additional work,†said Sturgis Deputy Chief Dave Ives. “A lot of follow-up investigation and numerous interviews have taken place this year as a result of this renewed effort which is yet ongoing, however no solid breaks in the case are reported.â€Â

Ives said with the passing of years and relationships, investigators are looking for additional information that someone is willing to share now or has heard over the passage of time.

Often times leads are run down and refer back to a past rumor or tip that has already been covered, but every tip is looked at, he said.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Sturgis Police Department at 269-659-7260 or CrimeStoppers at (800) 342-STOP.

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Car tip sought in Beers case

Posted Image

Age progression of Brittney Beers as she might have looked in 2008.

Sat Oct 31, 2009

Corky Emrick

Sturgis Journal

Sturgis, Mich. -

Police are seeking information about the driver or owner of a car that could help in the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Brittney Beers.

Sturgis police Det./Sgt. Geoff  said the vehicle may have been in the area around the time of her disappearance in 1997. The driver may have been in the area around the time she was last seen, and may have information that would help police in their investigation.

Smith said the vehicle is maroon-over-cream, hatchback-style car similar to a current models such as a Mercury Lynx, Ford Escort or Geo Metro.

Police hope the driver may have seen something that could help make progress into the disappearance.

“Between 7:30 and 9 p.m., there isn’t that much traffic on U.S. 12,â€ Smith said. “Someone seeing a little girl on a bench, they might have thought it was odd. Someone may have seen something, but they (didn’t) realize what they were seeing.â€

Beers was last seen Sept. 16, 1997, outside Village Manor Apartments in Sturgis. She was 4 at the time.

Sturgis police and the FBI continue to investigate the case.

Earlier this year, investigators renewed their efforts by reviewing the entire case. Police were considering tips that require follow-up.

Sturgis police Det./Sgt. Geoff Smith said a lot of follow-up investigation and numerous interviews have taken place.

He said there are still no solid breaks in the case.

So far, investigators have received close to 1,000 tips, Smiths said.

“I had several tips last week, Smith said Friday. Police received several tips after an Oct. 13 “Oprah Winfrey Show†that focused on missing children.

Tips are essential an essential part of the investigation, Smith said.

“We don’t have enough eyewitnesses, other than the several people who saw her sitting on the bench,â€ Smith said. “And then, only a few can positively say that it was Brittney.â€

Smith said any and all information is welcome, and it might be the smallest clue that will help police solve the case.

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COLD CASE FILES: The unsolved kidnapping of Brittney Beers

By Kristin Bien

POSTED: 02:52 PM EDT May 09, 2013   


This cold case is not a murder case – at least not yet. Brittney Beers was 6 years old when she went missing from her Sturgis apartment complex in 1997. She would be 21 now.


And now, even 16 years later, the community wants desperately to know what happened to her.


Like the cars that travel down U.S. 12 in Sturgis, time seems to speed by. It was along that road in 1997, at the Village Manor Apartments, that Brittney vanished.


"I'd like to know," says neighbor Karlene Kay Frohriep, "I'd really like to know whatever happened to Brittney."


Frohriep lives in the apartment complex -- The same complex where Brittney lived, played, and disappeared.


"A beautiful child. She was such a beautiful child. She would go all over our neighborhood and pick neighbors’ flowers," says Frohriep.


On September 16th, 1997 at about 8:30pm, Brittney and her brother were outside riding bikes in the apartment parking lot. Her mom went to get groceries for supper, her brother went with his friends across the street to get candy. Brittney, knowing she couldn't cross busy U.S. 12, stayed behind. Witnesses said they saw Brittney on a bench in front of the complex around 8:45. It was the last she was seen – 15 minutes later, no one could find Brittney.


There was a lot of media coverage after she disappeared. WSBT video from 1997 shows a makeshift memorial at the bench where she was last seen, media waiting for the latest from police, volunteers searching the area, and interviews with her family.


"We've been everywhere been over our steps 5 times – but we will go back over them a again till we find her," said Brittney's father to WSBT in 1997. He has since died in a car accident.


But there were no signs of Brittney. Some witnesses said they might have seen her talking with a man in the minutes before she vanished. Police think he might have been driving a red or brown car. Police had an artist draw a composite of what that man may have looked like.


According to media reports at the time, the family was at times the focus of the investigation, but no one was ever charged.


"We need to get brittney home okay," said Brittney's uncle, Jimmy Beers, to WSBT in 1997. "Brittney needs her mom and me, cause we love her. Okay. Her grandfather is hysterical. Her mother is really hysterical. Whoever took this girl is making her mother go crazy."


Brittney's bike was left in front of her apartment door but police found no other evidence. They have received tips though, about 1,100 so far. And they still follow up on every one of them.


Still, 15 years later, without much to go on, the hope that she could be found alive is long gone for many.


"My gut tells me that she is probably not alive. I hope she is," says Detective Sergeant Geoff Smith of the Sturgis Police Department. "But like it said, this many years out it is hard to keep up that hope."


Brittney's old neighbor, Frohriep, keeps hoping. She planted flowers in memory of Brittney, and like the rest of the community here in Sturgis, "I'll never forget her. I know I will personally never forget brittney," says Frohriep.


Brittney's mom declined an interview with WSBT.

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