WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (WOOD) - Newly released court documents in the murder of 13-year-old Amanda Lankey describe how some members of the suspect's family allegedly hindered the investigation -- including his sister, a former police officer who had "coached" him on how to cover up a crime scene.
Candace Wallis-Baumgartner is a former White Cloud police officer who was the sister of suspect Cecil
"Several sources over recent years have advised that Candace Baumgartner helped her brother Cecil Wallis conceal his drug trade by using her position as a (White Cloud) Police Officer," Newaygo County Prosecutor Robert Springstead alleged in a petition filed to obtain investigative subpoenas in the case.
"Sources have also told police that Baumgartner has 'coached' Cecil how to cover up a crime scene by wiping away fingerprints and planting someone else's cigarette butts for DNA."
That petition and the order to authorize the subpoenas, marked as confidential, were filed last May.
They were recently released in a state Court of Appeals case filed by Candace Wallis-Baumgartner.
Before becoming a White Cloud police officer, Baumgartner had lost her job at the Mecosta County Sheriff's Department after being accused of falsifying a car accident report for her brother.
A detective working on the case told Target 8 he "strongly believes" Cecil Wallis killed Amanda in June 2004 and that family members helped him get away with it.
Wallis, 42, hanged himself from a tree in 2011, the night before he was to face charges for sexually
molesting two other girls. Police say they believe he may also have sexually assaulted three other young
He was never charged with Amanda's death.
However, according to court records, three of Amanda's friends told police she had written in her diary that she'd been molested by someone and was afraid to come forward. Two friends told police she identified Wallis, the records say.
Detectives say they believe Amanda discarded that entry.
Police say detectives are investigating anybody they believe was involved in the alleged cover-up.
Target 8 could not reach Wallis family members on Friday. However, Candace Wallis-Baumgartner, in a nearly 90-minute interrogation last May, denied any cover-up, said her brother didn't kill Amanda and accused police of harassing her family.
Records obtained Friday by Target 8 show the Newaygo County Prosecutor's Office filed petitions for
investigative subpoenas for nine people in May 2012, including Wallis' sister, son, live-in girlfriend, daughter, stepdaughter, nephew and older brother.
The petitions provide the most detailed look yet at what detectives believe happened.
Amanda was spending the night with her friend, Jessica Foster, on June 20, 2004, at the home of Foster's mom, Tanya Kay Maring, and her step-father, Cecil Wallis.
Amanda was chatting on the computer in Jessica Foster's bedroom until 2:45 am with a friend. They were
communicating through Instant Messenger when Amanda stopped chatting in the middle of the conversation without saying goodbye.
Jessica Foster says she slept on the couch in the other room and woke at 5 am, found her bedroom door was shut, the computer still on, and the bedroom window open. Amanda was gone. She searched the house with her stepdad and her mom.
Jessica Foster's mom called Amanda's grandfather, Tom Verhoy, who later called police to report Amanda missing, police wrote.
About two weeks later, on July 5, mushroom hunters found Amanda's body in a heavily wooded part of the Manistee National Forest in Big Praire Township, about 7 miles from White Cloud. An autopsy found she died of blows to the head.
The day after the discovery, according to the affidavit, police went to search the Wallis' home on North
Evergreen. They say they found Tanya Maring -- Wallis' live-in girlfriend -- cleaning the bedroom
where Amanda was last seen.
"Tanya Maring had emptied the room and vacuumed it," the affidavit states. Police asked for the vacuum bag, but she said she'd thrown it in the trash and the garbage truck had already picked it up.
Police say Tanya Maring and her daughter, Jessica Foster, have refused to cooperate, and that Maring told her daughter not to take a polygraph test.
Records also show that another woman -- identified as the girlfriend of Cecil Wallis' son -- allegedly told a friend that she was riding with the son the night Amanda disappeared when the son got a call from his dad.
The son, Cecil William Wallis, left for a while, then returned, police were told.
The girlfriend allegedly told her friend that she doesn't believe the son killed Amanda, but that he "may
have just transported and dumped her body for his dad."
When questioned by police, the girlfriend denied making those statements, but when questioned in a polygraph test, she "admitted she may have said these things," court documents show.
Police say that neither the son nor the now-ex-girlfriend cooperated. The son was released last year from prison after a conviction for a violent assault
on his ex-girlfriend and another woman.
24 Hour News 8 producer Troy Baker contributed to this report.
Power lines blocked busy 28th Street near the Grand Rapids-Kentwood border Monday evening.
Former South African president Nelson Mandela will be honored Tuesday morning with a public memorial service expected to be viewed by people around the world.
Jahleel Hoskins was ordered Monday to stand trial in the murder of Grand Rapids mother of five Latrice Maze.