Family honors life of Amanda Lankey, 30th birthday

Newaygo County

WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (WOOD) — The family of Amanda Lankey held a memorial service Sunday in remembrance of the 13-year-old girl who was murdered in White Cloud in June 2004.

Family members honor Amanda Lankey and celebrate her 30th birthday. (June 27, 2021)

Nearly two decades later, the service held at a local park in White Cloud drew dozens of friends and community members.

“We come back on all of the specials, her 18th, 21st birthday and now her 30th birthday,” Amanda’s mom Victoria Foster said.

Amanda would’ve have turned 30 earlier this month.

Foster says her daughter barely got to experience her teenage years.

“She only got to be 13 for two weeks, so she never got to experience any of those teenage things,” she said.

In July 2004, Amanda’s badly beaten body was found in the Manistee National Forest. The 13-year-old was last seen two weeks earlier when she vanished from a sleepover at a friend’s house in town.

Seven years after her body was discovered, the stepfather of the friend at whose house Amanda stayed that night was named a person of interest in her murder.

A file booking photo of Cecil Wallis.

Cecil Wallis Sr. had been charged with sexually assaulting two other minors — alleged crimes that came to light because police were investigating Amanda’s killing.

Wallis died by suicide before prosecutors could charge him in the 13-year-old’s murder.

As loved ones celebrated Amanda’s life during Sunday’s memorial, her mom announced a new mission of her own.

Earlier this month, Foster first told News 8 about her campaign to change the way police handle missing children’s reports.

The campaign’s goal is to create a new protocol for how police handle reports of missing children, banning the term “runaway.” Foster believes the guidelines under state law for labeling a child as a runaway could be unfair to children who need help. She also thinks its unfair to officers involved in these cases.

Family members honor Amanda Lankey and celebrate her 30th birthday. (June 27, 2021)

Her reason for doing so is simple: “I don’t want to see another family go through this.”

For more information about Foster’s campaign and how to get involved, email victoriafoster2008@yahoo.com.

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