NEWTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — After searching a wooded area for several hours Wednesday, authorities say they did not recover any evidence of humans remains in connection to the case of a Battle Creek woman who has been missing for 16 years.
The search for Ashley Parlier’s body happened on 6 1/2 Mile Road in Newton Township, south of Battle Creek. Parlier was 21 years old and pregnant when she was last seen in June 2005 after having an argument with her parents.
“When it all happened, we just assumed that she was at a friend’s house and she was blowing off some steam and she would come home and we can work through it,” Parlier’s sister, Nicole Campen, said.
For years, the case has seemed to be at a standstill until this week when investigators announced a new person of interest has been identified in the case. The sheriff’s office said the person’s name will not be released at this time.
It comes after investigators have made recent trips to California, Maryland and Pennsylvania to pursue leads, learning new information that led them to Wednesday’s search site.
For the second time in a week, investigators spent hours combing through a couple hundred acres of the same wooded area Wednesday, using drones and police dogs.
“Today’s search is complete and no evidence was recovered,” Calhoun County Sheriff Steve Hinkley said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
People living nearby the search area told News 8 that in 2005, when Parlier went missing, the area was all farmland. The land was divided up and sold to individual property owners not long after her disappearance.
Since Parlier’s disappearance, police have identified persons of interests, but never a direct suspect.
Campen said early in the investigation, police even questioned whether her parents may have been involved but says nothing came of it. Both of her parents passed away in 2020.
“They were the last two to see her and they waited a little bit before they reported her missing,” Campen said. “Again, we were a small-town Michigan family, we never thought that this would be a 16-year ordeal of trying to figure out where a daughter and a sister is.”
Campen said her sister’s disappearance ate away at her family for years. She’s hopeful the search will help bring closure but regrets that her parents passed away before getting answers.
“It’s a matter of just getting some answers and putting some closure to the last 16 years and trying to figure out a way to remember what was good and try to kind of put the evil behind us,” Campen said.
Though no evidence was found Wednesday, investigators say they’re remaining optimistic in recovering Parlier’s body.
Anyone who was friends or acquaintances with Parlier or has information about her disappearance is asked to call the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office at 269.781.0800. Deputies are reminding that any information, big or small, could be helpful in solving this case.