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Dog stays with body of murdered girl

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More than 300 mourners attended the funeral of April Dawn Millsap on August 1. The 14-year-old girl had been killed while out walking her dog. Penny, her loyal dog, remained at her side until help came.

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In a rural, wooded area in Armada, about 30 miles from Detroit, two pedestrians walking the Macomb Orchard trail on July 24 discovered the girl’s body, after first seeing the border collie.

According to Armada Police Chief Howard Smith, “The dog protected the body, stayed with the body, actually moved in and out.”

The two people who first made the discovery, according to Smith, “went by the dog the first time, thinking the dog may be coming after them. When they came back the other way on the trail and the dog was still there that made the people curious.”

April had taken her beloved dog out for a walk that Thursday afternoon. When she did not return after a few hours, her mother contacted police. In the meantime, the loyal dog helped bring attention to the girl’s body, which was found in a ditch about 20 feet off Macomb Orchard trail.

An autopsy performed by the Macomb County Medical Examiner confirmed on August 6 that April’s death was a homicide. The girl died of blunt head trauma and asphyxia due to neck compression.

The dog, Penny, was not harmed. She went home with April’s mother, according to the Facebook page entitled Justice for April Millsap. The Facebook page includes more photos of April, as well as information and photos of benefit events. According to 'Justice for April Millsap', police are still searching for her killer.

A composite sketch of a male who is a person of interest is included in the slideshow. If you have any information, please call the MSP tipline at 877-616-4677 or file a suspicious activity report online by going to

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