SPECIAL REPORT: Remembering Carly, One Year Later Part 2 of 2
Carly Lewis was a beautiful daughter, free spirit, nature lover, a caring sister, and a 16 year-old without a care in the world, memories her Mother will cherish forever.
Traverse City teen Robert Jensen Schwander came to stay with the Lewis family last winter because he had nowhere to go. Susie said the two had a unique relationship, they got along most of the time. He stayed for a few months, but the arrangement deteriorated when he was no longer obeying the house rules. Schwander left, but maintained his friendship with Carly. June 2nd, 2011, Carly went out, and never returned home.
Susie went to police, and the investigation began. The community embraced Carly and came together to help find her. Fliers covered windows across northern Michigan.
The Lewis family turned to attorney Blake Ringsmuth to guide them through the legal process. Feelings of shock and disbelief enveloped the family for two weeks until Robert Jensen Schwander confessed.
Schwander led police to a public works yard in Traverse City, Carly's body was buried in a sand pile. Schwander claims he and Carly got into a fight inside the abandoned building on June 2nd, he said when he pushed her, she hit her head and died; but an autopsy showed otherwise. She was stabbed several times, that is what killed her.
They brought this man into their home, cared for him like their own, and he robbed a family of a vital, vibrant piece.
As the case progressed in court, the family had to relive their heartache for more than a week. Finally, Schwander himself took the stand, and silenced a courtroom.
In the end, the Lewis' were able to confront their daughter's killer, then a jury convicted Schwander of second degree murder.
Reporting in Traverse City, Sara Simnitch and Photojournalist, Jeremy Erickson.