On a crisp fall morning around 9 a.m. Friday, October 12, 2007, Linda Holt, then 58 years-old, said goodbye to her 18-year-old grandson Augustine “Auggie” Floyd. The Suttons Bay, MI residents were both headed to different concerts in Mt. Pleasant: Holt was leaving to see Loretta Lynn at Soaring Eagle Casino, while Floyd was meeting a new friend at Fitch Fieldhouse to see T-Pain.
Holt never saw her grandson again.
“We came back home and wasn’t there. He never called,” said Holt.
Within days, one of the most baffling missing person cases in recent memory began to unfold. Not only did Floyd disappear, but his vehicle vanished as well. The case even made the list on the TV show "America's Most Wanted with John Walsh."
Six years later, neither Floyd nor his vehicle has surfaced.
“They keep finding little stuff but can’t come up with too much,” Holt said.
According to published police accounts, the events unfolded as follows:
Floyd attended a concert at Central Michigan University that night with a Manistee, MI female he met on MySpace. After the concert, they decided to attend a party on the Isabella Indian Reservation.
While there, the 5 foot 10 inch, 183-pound Floyd—dressed in a dark sweatshirt, a white T-shirt, dark jeans and white tennis shoes—was said to be involved in a confrontation. He then left to visit a friend in Union Township.
The last time Floyd was seen was approximately 4 a.m. Saturday, October 13, 2007, standing next to his black with leather interior 1995 Cadillac Deville 4-door sedan.
After he was reported missing, a multi-jurisdictional task force of tribal, local, county, state and federal law enforcement officers descended on a remote section of Isabella County outside Mt Pleasant known to locals as “The End of the World.” They searched the thickly-forested two-tracks, covering an area roughly bordered by Coleman Rd. to the east, Remus Rd. to the south, Beal City Rd. to the north and west to Weidman and beyond.
Joining the search were more than 120 volunteers, including over 50 tribal members from the local Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, as well as the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (where Holt and Floyd are enrolled members).
“We (were) all down there, looking through the woods and driving through them. I drove at night time all through the woods that way,” said Holt. “We went out by that water to see if there (were) any car tracks out there. We went all the way to around Manistee.”
“Some of the younger people there, they would see us, but they didn’t say anything. It’s a hard way to go when people act like nothing happened. I couldn’t go back there because that feeling I would get,” Holt said, her voice trailing.
Within a month of Floyd’s disappearance, the case went from being considered a missing person to that of a probable homicide with no suspects.
“In 1998, I lost five family members,” said Holt. “In 2002, Auggie’s mother got stabbed by his step-dad. Auggie jumped on his back and held him down until the police came. Auggie got stabbed too and had to have surgery on his arm.”
In that attack, Floyd lost both parents: His mother died from her wounds and his step-father was sentenced to life in prison.
It became Holt’s duty to raise Floyd.
“He was a nice young boy. Comical. He was always helping someone, especially the Elders,” Holt said. “He followed the ones he respected.”
Now, his empty seat remains at the table.
A student at Northwestern Michigan College, Floyd had earned an achievement certificate. And when it came to his friends and family—“he would do anything for them,” said Holt—it was Floyd who suffered knife wounds trying to defend his mother.
Floyd’s aunt Debnucket Fox of Peshawbestown, MI has created a tribute to her nephew on Facebook, titled “Auggie’s Annual Memorial.” Snapshots of treasured moments are all lit by Floyd’s luminous smile.
A memorial is planned on October 13 at the home of the family. There is talk of a sacred fire and a spiritual ceremony. Over one hundred people are expected to attend.
Six years have passed, but one thing is clear: People do change their minds. They grow-up and have children of their own. And in the State of Michigan, the crime of Murder has no statute of limitations.
"He has a five-year-old son named Zacariah. He was born on May 20—the same day as his father. He looks just like Auggie. He is God's gift to our family,” Holt said. “I see my grandson every time I look at him."
Anyone with information concerning the disappearance of Augustine Floyd may remain anonymous by calling the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police Tip Line at (989) 775-4775.
(Based on my original story published 10/07/13 in the Mt Pleasant Morning Sun newspaper)