MICHIGAN — Carrie Oswald still has a framed photo of her teenage friend Kellie Brownlee on her nightstand.
“She was just happy go lucky and looking forward to what the future held for her,” Oswald said.
But Brownlee’s future was cut short when she went missing in Novi in 1982. She’s one of several girls who seemed to vanish. Decades later police are still searching for answers.
Monday the FBI, police in Warren, Michigan, the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and other local agencies started phase two of an excavation dig, hoping to close cold cases like Brownlee’s for good.
They believe somewhere on the north side of the Clinton River, south of 23 Mile Road and North Avenue, they’ll find bodies. It's not far from the first site they searched for human remains in 2018.
Investigators believe the girls may have been sexually assaulted before they were killed.
Arthur Ream is the man police think could be responsible for all of it.
He's behind bars for killing 13-year-old Cindy Zarzycki of Eastpointe. She went missing in 1986 and was found buried near the first dig site in 2008.
Prior to Zarzycki’s murder, Ream was already doing time for child sex crimes in Shelby Township.
Encouraging leads in Brownlee’s disappearance have come up before.
“At least seven to eight times, you know, from detectives that took over the case to the dig last year, you know supposed sightings," Oswald told Action News.
But the case is still open.
“If it can bring one family closure, they’ve done their job," Oswald said.
The juxtaposition couldn’t be more jarring — a beautiful skyline as we report from Macomb Township as investigators return to search for a possible burial ground of children that went missing in the 70s/80s. Our story next, on @wxyzdetroit. pic.twitter.com/q9kzom8ilb
— Matthew Smith (@MattSmithWXYZ) August 20, 2019