morning when police met with the press to tell them about the body they
had found and the arrest they had made.
Carly Lewis had been missing since June 2. A Facebook group devoted to
finding her had grown to nearly 4,000 members. Her family and friends
prayed she would turn up alive by Wednesday, her 17th birthday.
We were hoping, obviously, this would culminate in a runaway, but it
didnt, Traverse City Police Capt. Brian Heffner said.
Instead, police and the press assembled to talk about how Carly Lewis
body had been discovered buried in sand a couple of blocks away from the
police department and how a 17-year-old acquaintance admitted to police
that he lured her to an abandoned building and killed her the day she went
Heffner emphasized this was no ordinary case.
The senseless killing of a teenager has to be one of the most wrenching
tragedies that a family or a community can endure and Heffner said the
pain of Carlys death was being shared by the police.
Traverse City is a small community (although growing) and everyone seems
to know everyone. Our investigators grew up with Carlys Parents, the
suspects parents and many people in between, Heffner wrote in an
unusually personal message that accompanied a press release update.
Police officers are trained to handle cases in methodical, precise,
mechanical modes -- often we forget they are human. Everyone in the local
Law Enforcement community is devastated by this senseless murder and our
thoughts and prayers go out to the Parents of Carly Lewis and their
extended family and friends.
Just how close the tragedy hit to home for police was illustrated hours
later, when the Grand Traverse Sheriffs Department issued a press release
about the suspects relationship with a deputy. The suspect is the son of
This tragic event has taken from this community a family member and
friend of many people. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with the
Lewis family, Undersheriff Nathan Alger wrote.
This is especially difficult for the Sheriffs Office because of the
relationship of the suspect in this incident with one of our officers and,
because of the business we are in. The department as a whole is supportive
in whatever way possible to the family of the officer, not unlike any
other company or business would act in a similar situation.
As family and friends planned formal and informal memorials, some visited
and left flowers at the crime scene on Beitner Street across from the
Traverse Area District Library, and many turned to Facebook to express
what they felt or offer condolences to the Lewis family.
They expressed sorrow, hurt, anger and a deep inability to fathom the
reason behind what happened.
Some messages were from friends, like one who wrote: Happy birthday
Carly! You never deserved any of this! You were and still an amazing
person! You wernt just a friend u were like a sister to me!
Others were from strangers: Happy birthday Carly Jean Lewis! My heart is
shattered I did not know you or your family. But you will always be in my
heart! I dont understand. You were loved by many sweet girl! Rip
Others expressed their anger at the suspect.
I am pro death penalty... but, in this case, what would really be a worse
punishment? For a 17 year old boy to spend the rest of his life in
prison... thinking about what he did... or death? I honestly think that
life in prison would be worse. Just a thought.