GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Grand Rapids police officials say the case of a missing Grand Rapids woman has turned into a criminal investigation -- and that they are working under the assumption that Latrice Maze is no longer alive.
Maze, 26, was last seen March 19 in in the area of Division Avenue and Burton Street in Grand Rapids. On that same day, she was supposed to show up for an appointment involving her daughter in foster care, but never did. The next day, Maze failed to pick up one of her children from school, and police were called. According to her family, it was out of character for Maze to disappear.
Investigators also say while they considered this an abduction early on, they're now not convinced she was kidnapped.
"The family has not seen her. She was a reliable person before that," said GRPD Capt. Jeffrey Hertel. "The better probability is that she's not alive anymore."
But the investigation is still active. Investigators say they are making headway, but there is no time table on an arrest and no official suspects or persons of interest in custody. Police have questioned a number of people who may know something about Maze's disappearance.
Police are not releasing many details, but say they do not believe the crime was random.
"I would depict it as somebody that she knew, may have been involved in something," said Hertel.
Her family says they're frustrated.
"At this point, we just want to see some results," said cousin Pam Green. "We're tired of the waiting game. At least I am. It's very stressful for my whole family. It's just very hard."
Green said she doesn't think the right people were questioned.
"I don't think the case was handled correctly at all," she said.
Burt Hertel said detectives have been working diligently, including night and weekends. Tips have lead to searches of a number of areas in the city.
But there's been a code of silence among witnesses. Investigators have had to use subpoenas to get witnesses to talk. The power of those subpoenas are similar to that of a grand jury.
"Same hammer. Very powerful tool. Sometimes it elicits more information that an investigator going out and talking to somebody," said Hertel.
At the regular meeting of the Grand Rapids City Commission on Tuesday morning, Police Chief Kevin Belk told commissioners that his department is investigating several leads in the Maze case. He later told 24 Hour News 8 that the disappearance is turning "criminal," but would not provide further details.
Kent County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker would say only that an "investigation is going on." When asked if police believe Maze was kidnapped, Becker would not comment further.
Previously, a spokesman with the Grand Rapids Police department said that on March 30 and on March 31, two separate callers left Silent Observer tips about Maze's disappearance, but all police would say about the tips was that neither tipster actually saw Maze or gave information about where she might be located.
Two other people, who were inside the residence at the time, escaped safely.
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