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Loyal dog protected body of slain teenage family member

Faithful dog, Penny
Faithful dog, Penny
Family photo

Authorities in Armada, Mich., are searching for the person responsible for killing a 14-year-old girl who was walking her dog late last week, reported Monday's CBS News. Last Thursday afternoon, April Millsap set out for her usual walk with her border collie on the Macomb Orchard Trail; the teen never made it back home.

Possible suspect in murder case
Police Sketch

Joggers in the area realized that something wrong when the girl's dog, named "Penny," alerted them to a problem in a wooded area near the trail. According to, the dog repeatedly ran from the body, to passersby, until someone took notice. Armada Police Chief Howard Smith stated:

The dog protected the body, stayed with the body, actually moved in and out,"

He noted that the walkers,

"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."

Police have confirmed that the girl was murdered, but have not disclosed the manner in which she was killed; there was no evidence of a sexual assault.

Chief Smith told CBS Detroit:

"I think with the characteristics of this person in this particular crime there was very different that other crimes - was the fact that she was walking her dog Penny out there on the trail, the dog was there, the dog stayed there during in the commission of the crime,"

"This person that may match this profile may familiar with the dog or may be very familiar with dogs in general."

A composite sketch of a person of interest has been released and police are looking for the owner of a gray, heavily-dented van, described as a possible painters' van, that was spotted circling the Village of Armada around the time that the girl was killed; anyone with information is asked to contact the authorities at 877-616-4677.

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