Marvel Anderson was just 16 years old when she was last seen in St. Ignace late in the afternoon on May 2, 1994.
Her body would not be found until September the following year in a remote part of Mackinac County.
Her death was ruled a homicide.
Dave Massey was one of Marvel’s classmates at LaSalle High School in St. Ignace.
“Smile. Huge smile. I know. And, you know, they say she had a smile, lit up a room, but she really did. And if you ever see any pictures of her, you know, you see that in her,” said Massey.
The afternoon of May 2, 1994, ended like so many others had for Anderson, who was last seen leaving LaSalle High School heading to her home on Glashaw Street.
But she was later reported missing by her mother.
“I remember everybody just being, you know, initially we just thought she maybe ran away,” recalled Massey.
Police thought the same thing, believing Anderson, who was five months pregnant at the time, had willingly run away from home.
D/Sgt. Gary Demers now heads up the investigation into what happened to Marvel.
“There were some messages, some notes that were left at her home for her mother and information from different friends in the area that led investigators originally to believe that she was a runaway,” explained Demers.
It wasn’t until September 1995 when this case took a drastic turn.
“The following year, bear hunters in a portion of Mackinac County discovered human remains in the woods that ended up being identified as those of Marvel Anderson. There was a there was evidence of the scene that led investigators immediately to believe that this was a homicide,” said Demers.
Almost a year and a half had passed between Marvel being reported missing and the discovery of her body.
“It really allowed whoever may be responsible for her homicide to get a good jumpstart on law enforcement. And it caused law enforcement to be delayed for a fairly significant amount of time to make that transition between a runaway and a homicide investigation,” said Demers.
So what happened to the vivacious teenager with that unforgettable smile?
“Investigators chased down every lead that they had. They interviewed tons of people. They interviewed dozens and dozens of people. They were potential suspects that were named and eliminated, others that were named and have not yet been eliminated,” said Demers.
Then, in 2008, that evidence got a second look. There was also optimism new technology could generate new leads, and that hope remains today.
“We’d also love for people that may have knowledge of what happened to Marvel, to come forward and be willing to talk to us. We’re very confident that there are members of this community that have information that might help further the investigation, and we’d love to talk to them,” said Demers.