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Missing Woman: Tonia Stiles - MI - 11/18/2010

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State police seeking help in locating missing Grass Lake woman

Published: Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 3:07 PM   

Updated: Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 5:27 PM

Fritz Klug | The Jackson Citizen Patriot

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Tonia Stiles

The Michigan State Police are seeking help in finding a 34-year-old Grass Lake woman who has been missing since Thursday.

Tonia Renee Stiles was last seen Thursday morning at her residence on Orban Road in Grass Lake Township, said Lt. Jim Shaw, commander of the Jackson post.

Stiles does not have a cell phone or a vehicle, Shaw said, and friends and family have not been able to contact her.

Stiles is white with blue eyes and blonde hair. She is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. Police do not know what she was wearing when she went missing.

Shaw said Stiles has left unannounced in the past, but did not take any personal items with her this time. He does not suspect foul play at this time.

Shaw asks anyone with information about Stiles to contact him at 517-780-4580 ext. 233, or Trooper Gordon Van Gelder at ext. 813.

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Friends, family out searching for Grass Lake woman who has been missing for more than a week

Published: Friday, November 26, 2010, 1:20 PM    Updated: Friday, November 26, 2010, 3:28 PM

Danielle Salisbury | Jackson Citizen Patriot

With others’ help, siblings, and a friend of a missing Grass Lake Township woman are searching the wooded area today around the home she shared with her boyfriend on Orban Road.

“Until we know what happened to her. We are going to keep searching. We are not going to give up,” said Charity Golombek, a friend to Tonia Renee Stiles, 34.

Golombek said another friend who lived with Stiles and her boyfriend last saw Stiles on Nov. 17 or 18. He fell asleep on the couch, he woke up an hour later, and she was gone, said Golombek, whose brother shares a child with Stiles.

She and Stiles’ brother and sister organized the search today. About 30 people are scouring about 20 acres around the house on Orban Road, Golombek said.

If Stiles is not there, they do not know where she may have gone.

State police earlier said she did not take any personal items with her.

Family members said she has not tried to contact her son, 15, or her daughter, 8. Both children are with their fathers.

“(Stiles) has never taken off and just left her kids,” Golombek said.

Neither of the children belong to Stiles’ current boyfriend, Scott Cassidy, who went to jail this week.

Cassidy, 30, allegedly stole a Comtronics van Wednesday from the security and communications company location at Washington Avenue and Cooper Street in Jackson.

Stiles previously worked at the Napoleon Cafe in Napoleon Township and Frank's Shop-Rite in Grass Lake, but has been unemployed recently, her mother said.

She spent most of her life in the Jackson area and is in good health, Golombek said. “She is a fitness fanatic.”

Stiles previously struggled with alcohol, but had been clean, Golombek said.

“We are very worried,” Golombek said of people who know Stiles.

People with information are encouraged to call Michigan State Police Lt. Jim Shaw at 517-780-4580, ext. 223, or Trooper Gordon Van Gelder at ext. 813.

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Boyfriend of missing Grass Lake woman commits suicide in Jackson County jail

Published: Friday, December 03, 2010, 12:02 PM    Updated: Friday, December 03, 2010, 1:33 PM

Fritz Klug | The Jackson Citizen Patriot Fritz Klug | The Jackson Citizen Patriot

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The boyfriend of a missing Grass Lake Township woman committed suicide this morning in the Jackson County Jail.

Scott Steven Cassidy, 30, was in a cell with 13 other inmates when he went into a private bathroom and hanged himself from the shower with a piece of cable from a television in the jail, said Undersheriff Tom Finco. Cassidy was alone in the bathroom.

Cassidy, of Grass Lake Township, has been in jail since Nov. 24 after he allegedly stole a van from the Comtronics parking lot at Washington Avenue and Cooper Street.

Police were able to track the van back to his home on Orban Road via a GPS enabled cellphone that was left in the van. He was held for vehicle theft.

Cassidy’s girlfriend, Tonia Stiles, has been missing since Nov. 18. State police have been investigating the disappearance, and had previously said they don’t know if Stiles just took off on her own, or if there was foul play.

Lt. Jim Shaw, commander of the Michigan State Police  Jackson Post, said he doesn't know exactly what Cassidy's death means for the investigation.

"We don't know if today's activities will shed any information on her whereabouts," he said.

Cassidy had been interviewed by police about the disappearance, but no more so than any boyfriend might be in that situation, Shaw said.

State police will continue to investigate if Cassidy had any involvement in the disappearance.  Shaw said Cassidy was the one who reported Stiles missing and was one of the last people to see her. 

The last time someone committed suicide in jail was in 2006, Finco said.

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Missing Woman's Boyfriend Found Dead

Missing woman Tonia Stiles' boyfriend, in jail for an unrelated charge, was found dead Friday by police.

Reporter: Jamie Edmonds

Posted: 6:24 PM Dec 3, 2010


From the minute she was reported missing on November 18th, Tonia Stiles' family and friends have not given up hope -- or the search -- often going out on their own in Grass Lake Township to look for her.

But Friday, something changed.

"We're never going to find her now," Stiles' friend, Charity Golombek, said. "We're never going to find Tonia."

Tonia's live-in boyfriend Scott Steven Cassidy, in jail since November 24th for an unrelated charge, hanged himself Friday inside a jail bathroom.

"With his passing, Tonia's family believes so, too, did the information of her whereabouts.

"He held the key to finding her," Golombek said. "He knew something and now we'll never know where she is."

Cassidy was the last person to see Tonia Stiles police said, he's also the one who reported her missing.

"Detectives have talked to Scott Cassidy and gotten information from him," Lt. Jim Shaw of the Michigan State Police said. "Obviously it's disappointing. Our condolences go to the Cassidy family. Obviously we would have liked to interview him further."

Both police and the family of Tonia Stiles believe this is a major setback in the search for her, but both say they won't give up until they get some answers.

"Our investigation will continue," Lt. Shaw said.

"The family is not going to give up on her," Golombek said. "She is somewhere. If it takes 5 or 15 years, we'll find her."

Golombek said Stiles would never leave her two children without notice, which is why as time passes, it gets a little harder.

"If you're out there, please come home," Stiles' son said.

A candlelight vigil is being held in Stiles' honor Saturday night at 6 p.m. a Napoleon Township Park.

Tonia Stiles is 34 years old. She is 5'4", 140 lbs with blond hair and blue eyes. She has a full back tattoo of tribal art. She has a scar on her right leg that is about an inch long, and a birth mark on her upper lip.

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Mother of missing Grass Lake woman shocked after daughter's boyfriend commits suicide in Jackson County Jail

Published: Friday, December 03, 2010, 4:16 PM   

Updated: Friday, December 03, 2010, 6:06 PM

Danielle Salisbury | Jackson Citizen Patriot

The mother of Tonia Renee Stiles said she is shocked and baffled to hear the boyfriend of her missing daughter killed himself today in the Jackson County Jail.

“Why would he do something like that?” said Betty Whitehill of Jackson, who with her husband adopted Stiles when she was 9.

“I feel so horrible for his mom. I know he was an only child,” she said. “It just breaks your hear that everything would come to this.”

His girlfriend has been missing since Nov. 18. It has not been determined whether he had anything to do with Stiles’ disappearance.

“This doesn’t look good that he has done this,” said Whitehill, who still is hoping she will get word from her daughter.

On Nov. 18, Stiles' boyfriend, Scott Steven Cassidy, called Whitehill and asked if Stiles was at Whitehill’s home on Fourth Street, Whitehill said.

Cassidy said he and Stiles had been arguing. Stiles told him if she was not home when he returned from work Nov. 18, he was to bring her possessions to Whitehill’s house, Whitehill said Cassidy told her.

Stiles, however, had never come to the Fourth Street house, Whitehill said.

The two had been living together on Orban Road for about a year and a half, Whitehill said.

He operated Cassidy Tree Service off his property, Whitehill and a friend of Stiles said, and Stiles was able to stay home with her young daughter.

“Scott always seemed like a very nice gentleman. He was a hard worker. He was always working,” Whitehill said.

At the time of his arrest, he was on probation. He pleaded guilty in March to a firearm offense and a marijuana crime, according to court records.

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Candlelight Vigil For Missing Woman

Posted: Dec 05, 2010 12:16 PM EST

Dozens come together in Jackson County to remember a missing woman. Tonia Stiles of Grass Lake hasn't been seen for more than two weeks. Her boyfriend took his own life. Those close to Stiles are staying strong, hoping she'll be found alive. Dozens of candles lit up Napoleon Township Park. Friends and family of Tonia Stiles came together to share hugs, stories and words of encouragement.

Charity Golombek, organized vigil: "I decided we needed to do something to bring her family and friends together, to let them know how much the community loves them and they are being supported through all of this, all of it."

Stiles went missing back on November 18th. Less than a week after that, her boyfriend Scott Cassidy went to jail for stealing a car. On Friday, Cassidy committed suicide.

Betty Whitehill, Tonia's mother: "I just can't imagine, this little family that seemed like everything was going pretty good and they all seemed happy, and how it could just disintegrate so quick? My first thought when I heard it was that he could have helped us to find if she left where she went."

But the group still has faith. As the days drag on with no sign of Stiles, they're optimistic she will come home. Positive thoughts and the highest of hope.

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Search continues today for missing Grass Lake woman whose boyfriend committed suicide

Published: Monday, December 06, 2010, 11:42 AM    Updated: Monday, December 06, 2010, 3:46 PM Aaron Aupperlee | Jackson Citizen Patriot

The search for Tonia Stiles continues, three days after her boyfriend committed suicide inside the Jackson County Jail.

Michigan State Police detectives are searching today, state police said. Others combed Wolf Lake County Park Sunday for signs of the missing Grass Lake woman but found nothing of significance, said Patrick Whitehill, Stiles’ brother.

Friends and family paused their search for Stiles, who has been missing since Nov. 18, on Saturday to mourn the death of Scott Cassidy. He hanged himself Friday morning in a bathroom inside the Jackson County Jail facility downtown. Cassidy, 30, was Stiles boyfriend.

Whitehill called Cassidy one of his better friends. The two met through Stiles and knew each other for nearly three years, Whitehill said.

“I don’t believe that he would set out to hurt my sister,†Whitehill said about Cassidy.

Whitehill does not know if Cassidy was involved in Stiles’ disappearance or what drove him to commit suicide in jail on Friday.

“Nothing worse could have happened to a better individual,†Whitehill said.

He said Cassidy was a hardworking man and dedicated to Stiles. Cassidy worked, starting his own tree service, and Stiles stayed home and to take care of her daughter. Whitehill never saw the two fight or argue any more than typical couples do.

When the search for Stiles resumed Sunday, Whitehill said the mood was particularly somber.

“My sister is lost, and I need help finding her,†he said. “And now I’m mourning the loss of one of my best friends.â€

The Michigan State Police said Sunday night there were no new developments in the search. A trooper said this morning he did not know of any break-throughs. The investigation into Stiles’ disappearance and Cassidy’s death are on-going.

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Michigan woman missing since mid-November may be in Northeast Missouri

Published: 12/8/2010 | Updated: 12/8/2010


A Michigan woman who has been missing since Nov. 18 may be in the Northeast Missouri area.

Tonia Renee Stiles, also known as Renee Whitehill, reportedly was last seen at her home in Grass Lake Township in eastern Jackson County between Ann Arbor and Jackson. She is a 34-year-old white female. Hse is 5-foot-8, weighs 140 pounds, and has blue eyes and brown hair.

A press release issued by the Knox County Sheriff's Department Wednesday afternoon indicated that a "family member" believes that Stiles may be in the Northeast Missouri area. No information was available on who the family member was. Mike Kite, sheriff of Knox County, was unavailable for comment.

Scott Steven Cassidy was Stiles' boyfriend, and he reported her missing and was among the last people interviewed by police. He committed suicide on Dec. 3. Police believe Cassidy, 30, hanged himself Friday morning in the Jackson County Jail, where he was being held on a charge of vehicle theft. Police arrested Cassidy on Nov. 24 for allegedly stealing a van from a store parking lot in downtown Jackson. He was on probation at the time.

Friends and family said the pair had been arguing recently, but Stiles did not often talk about their relationship.

"They were good in the beginning, but then they turned to oil and water," Stiles' friend Kelly Campbell told the Jackson (Mich.) Citizen Patriot. "They were really happy together, then they went downhill."

Stiles' 15-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter are with their fathers.

A candlelight vigil was held in Grass Lake last Saturday.

First Lt. Jim Shaw with the Jackson Post of the Michigan State Police is handling the investigation. Authorities have not determined the circumstances that led to Stiles' disappearance, but there is mounting speculation that it was involuntary, Shaw told the Citizen Patriot.

Some people have lost hope that Stiles is alive.

"We've accepted we're not looking for Tonia anymore. We're looking for a body," Campbell told the Citizen Patriot.

Anyone with information about Stiles is asked to call (517) 780-4580.

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Search for missing woman


The Knox County Sheriff's office is asking Northeast Missouri residents to be on the lookout for a woman who has been missing from Michigan since mid-November.

Authorities are looking for Tonia Stiles, 34, also known as Renee Whitehill.

She was last seen at her home in Jackson County, Michigan, on November 18th. Stiles is five-feet, eight-inches tall, 140 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.

She does have family in Knox County. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Tonia Stiles, you're asked to call the Knox County Sheriff's office at (660) 397-2186, or the Michigan State Police at (517) 780-4580.

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The Search For Tonia Stiles Continues

The search continues for a Grass Lake women missing since November of 2010.

Reporter: Steve Doty

Posted: 5:36 PM Oct 28, 2011

"If I could have her back that'd be great, but closure would definitely help," 16-year-old Nathan Gorzen, said.

All Gorzen wants is closure on the disappearance of his mother, Tonia Stiles.

"We had a great relationship," Gorzen said. "I went to see her almost every weekend..."

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One Year Later, Still Searching For Jackson Woman

Posted: 11/18/2011

One year ago a Jackson County woman disappeared and police are continuing to search for answers.

Tonia Stiles of Grass Lake went missing on November 18, 2010. Investigators are still trying to piece together how the 34-year-old mother, who left behind two kids, disappeared.

Police say she was last seen at a home she shared with her boyfriend on Orban Road in Norvell Township.

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Candlelight vigil to be held Friday for 18-month anniversary of missing Grass Lake woman

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2012, 9:30 AM    Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2012, 9:38 AM

By Lauryn Schroeder

Courtesy Photo

Tonia Renee Stiles, also known as Renee Whitehill, went missing on Nov. 18, 2010. A candlelight vigil will be held on Friday to bring awareness to her disappearance.

JACKSON, MI -- A candlelight vigil for Tonia Renee Stiles of Grass Lake will be held Friday to mark the 18-month anniversary of her disappearance on Nov. 18, 2010.

The event will start at 8 p.m. at the new pavilion in Cascade Falls, in between the junior league field and the Falls’ parking lot.

A similar event was held in 2010, one month after Stiles' disappearance.

Melissa Mingus, a childhood friend, is organizing the vigil to help remind the public of the 35-year-old mother’s disappearance.

“We’re hoping to just get her name back out to the public,” Mingus said. “And we’re hoping to let her close friends and family know that we, as a community, haven’t forgotten about her.”

Mingus said she and Stiles, also known as Renee Whitehill, lost contact after school but describes her as a very loving and kind-hearted person, with a great sense of humor.

“She was always playing practical jokes on people, and was really light-hearted,” Mingus said.

The vigil will include poetry and prayer readings from close friends and family, and a representative from the Michigan State Police Department, Jackson post, is set to speak on behalf of the ongoing investigation.

The Jackson Parks and Recreations Department has agreed to light the Cascade Falls from 8-9 p.m. for the event as well, which aren’t normally lit until Memorial Day weekend.

Close friend and relative, Michelle Lock, said the vigil won’t be a memorial, but more of a tribute to Stiles and her memory.

“We’re not going to give up until she’s found,” said Lock.

Anyone wishing to speak during the vigil is welcome, and is encouraged to share a prayer or favorite memory of Stiles, said Lock.

The event will conclude with the lighting of several sky lanterns, which will be released as some of Stiles’ favorite songs are played.

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