GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - As two people face perjury charges connected to an 8-year-old Newaygo County murder case, the mother of a slain teen is hoping she'll finally get the answers she'd been waiting for.
Amanda Lankey, 13, was found murdered in Manistee National Forest in July 2004. She had disappeared two weeks earlier while spending the night at the home of Cecil Wallis, Sr. He was a person of interest in the murder and faces criminal sexual conduct charges when he killed himself in November 2011.
Michigan State Police arrested 45-year-old Candace Wallis-Baumgartner -- Wallis, Sr.'s sister -- Wednesday morning on two counts of making false statements during investigative subpoena testimony. Marcus Wallis, Baumgartner's son, is also named in the warrant for perjury during investigative subpoena.
Lankey's mother Victoria Foster lives in Florida now. For eight years, she's been traveling back and forth to hold annual vigils.
"It's been eight long years. and we have been waiting for this for a long time," Foster told 24 Hour News 8 in a satellite interview Thursday.
When Foster heard of Wallis-Baumgartner's arrest, she shared the news with her daughter first.
"Of course my first thought was Amanda, that she let this happen for me today because today happens to be my birthday, and it was the best birthday gift that I could have gotten," Foster said.
Foster had known for months that police were issuing subpoenas and forcing people to answer questions about the murder.
Foster is relieved about the arrests, but there's also a part of her that is scared:
"Things are going to start coming out," she told 24 Hour News 8. "Things that we don't know. Details about what happened to Amanda. How it happened, why it happened. I know that I want. I need to know everything, but it's going to be really scary when I find out exactly what happened to my daughter."
She thinks Wallis-Baumgartner, a former White Cloud city councilwoman and a part-time police officer at the time of the murder, has known the truth all along.
"I'm calling them out," said Foster. "I'm asking her. This is her time. It's been eight years. She stood behind me in the same room when the officers told me my daughter's body was found in the woods."
Foster does not think Wallis-Baumgartner had anything to do with her daughter's murder, but she does believe Buamgartner helped to cover it up.
"I know that she had no part in Amanda's murder, but I do believe that she had a part in covering up what happened after the fact," said Foster. "That she has been quiet for eight years. This thing could have been solved so long ago if she would have just came forward."
Wanda Lankey was only 11 years old when her sister's body was found in the woods. She agrees with her mother that Wallis-Baumgartner didn't murder Amanda, but that she probably had something to do with the crime.
Her suspicions were only strengthened this week after Wallis-Baumgartner's arrest.
"That makes everybody else who tried their hardest and wanted to help with the case look bad," said Wanda Lankey.
Foster said this is a second chance for Wallis-Baumgartner to come clean.
"Don't you think it's time that she gave us something? Don't you think it's time to stand up, Candace? Amanda and our entire family are asking you to do what's right right now," she said. "Be honest. Give Amanda what she deserves. ... And just let this be over for our family."
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