Victim’s Sister Reacts to Osceola County Cold Case Becoming MSP Priority

"Whoever killed her set the place on fire."

Michigan State Police think they can make progress toward finding one woman’s killer.

In July 2004, Esther Gaffney was found dead after a fire in her home.

State police determined she was murdered.

She was in the process of packing up her Tustin property to move to Cadillac when it happened.

You’re looking at footage from our story nearly 12 years ago.

After investigating, state police determined Esther was shot and killed and someone set the fire to cover it up.

Her sister, Ruth Wagner-Belisle is hopeful they’ll finally get justice for her big sister Essie.

Michigan State Police have four investigators working to solve her murder.

"My family would like to have closure. We’d like to know who did it," says Wagner-Belisle.

July 12 marks 12 years since Esther Gaffney was murdered in her own home.

She was widowed and lived alone.

Her sister still thinks about her every day.

"She was a very attractive lady and a wonderful personality and very outgoing. Esther was a very up front person. When you talked to Essie you knew she wasn’t fake. She was completely real," says Wagner-Belisle.

Michigan State Police formed a task force to reopen her case.

They’ll be going over everything: reports, interview notes and evidence from Esther’s home collected in 2004.

They’re hoping advancements in DNA and evidence testing will help track down answers for Esther’s family.

"You don’t want to get their expectations too high. The case is going to be re-investigated. The goal is to have a positive outcome but that’s not always the case with cold cases," says Det. Sgt. Todd Parsons. "Our hope always is that time has, for whatever reason, lessens the fear in people. Their conscience has begun to affect them and then sometimes people have information but don’t think it’s worth anything but even the smallest thing can be of the utmost importance in a case like this."

Ruth wants to see the person responsible for murdering her big sister brought to justice.

"I would want to ask them what their motive was to kill this beautiful woman. Please come forward because I’m 79 years old. I would like to see the murder found at least in my lifetime," says Wagner-Belisle.

MSP is reminding people even the tiniest bit of information could help them in a big way.

If you think you can help track down Esther’s killer, contact the Mount Pleasant Michigan State Police post at (989) 775-9302.