NEWAYGO, Mich. (WOOD) - Victoria Foster arrived in Grand Rapids from her home in Florida on Monday following the news that a man -- now facing rape charges -- is connected to the disappearance and murder of her daughter, Amanda Lankey, in 2004.
Cecil Wallis Sr., 43, was arrested and charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with teenagers during the period of 1998-2002. It was from his house that Lankey disappeared.
Lankey lived in Florida with her mother and stepfather. She was visiting her grandparents in Newaygo County, and disappeared from her friend's house where she was staying the night.
The house was Wallis'.
For four days, police treated the case as a runaway, a scenario Foster disputes.
"She was a 13-year-old girl, out in her pajamas. If she was going to run away, her clothes were in that room. Her purse with money in it, her shoes were in that room. What does that tell you?" Foster told 24 Hour News 8. "It doesn't take a great detective to figure that out."
She wanted investigators to focus on Wallis, the stepfather of Amanda's friend. He was at his home the night she disappeared.
Foster told 24 Hour News 8 the investigation into Lankey's murder languished until a new police chief, sheriff and prosecutor came to Newaygo. She said Robert Springstead, the new prosecutor, told her the case would be a top priority.
"That was three months ago, and this is where we're standing now," she said.
Springstead would not say if new leads have come forward since Wallis' arrest.
Foster is watching carefully and not getting too far ahead of herself.
"If it doesn't lead to an arrest in Amanda's murder, I'd be satisfied that there will be no other children hurt," she said. "This may help us in her case. It may not and I will have to come to terms with that."
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