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Investigation continuing into Paige Renkoski case

By Scott Pohl, WKAR News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wkar/local-wkar-954158.mp3

HOWELL, MI –

Paige Renkoski of Okemos turned up missing in May of 1990...her car left with the motor running along westbound I-96 just east of the Fowlerville exit. The then 30-year-old woman has never been found, and there has never been an arrest.

Two years ago, a cold case team of investigators...some of them otherwise retired from law enforcement careers...renewed the effort to solve the crime.

During that time, they've gone through 1,100 tips. They now have six composite drawings of possible suspects.

On Wednesday, those sketches were released in hopes of getting even more tips in the Renkoski case.

WKAR's Scott Pohl spoke with Livingston County Sheriff Robert Bezotte about the status of this notorious missing person case.

AUDIO:

SHERIFF ROBERT BEZOTTE: "Well, we have developed new composite drawings based on witnesses. Every time we do a news conference, we get more tips, more information, so that's encouraging. So, that's what we're trying to do. If they don't hear about the case for a long period of time, they might think it's resolved. We want to just let the public know it's not resolved, we still need help, we need tip information to try to we don't know where Paige is right now, so we want to bring her home to her family."

SCOTT POHL: "The cold case team has been working on this case for a couple of years now, and so you've generated a few new descriptions that have led to these composites. Is that right?"

BEZOTTE: "That's correct, and it's we've got a guy that was up north that we sent the composites up to him, and he says that's not what he remembers, so we're going to develop a seventh composite, based on information that he gives us in the future.

POHL: "Are you thinking that this is the work of one of these six or seven people, two or three or four of them, a larger group?"

BEZOTTE: "We've looked at four different, five different scenarios, possibilities of why Paige would get out of the car. Her vehicle was left running, the lights were on, her shoes were in the car, so we've looked at different scenarios. We've had reports of one individual at the car, a couple of individuals back at the van, so we're looking at one to four suspects."

POHL: "Assuming that Paige Renkoski is dead, there is renewed optimism that regarding finding her body, with new technology. Can you tell me more about that?"

BEZOTTE: "Right. We're working with the Army to try to get some sonar. We've identified three locations based on tip information we've received from the public, of possible burial sites. So, we want to one is up near Fenton, Tyrone Township, one is in Handy Township, and one is in Genoa, so we'll look at those three sites when we get the sonar equipment, as soon as the ground thaws out a little bit and the snow's gone."

POHL: "How would you describe your own optimism about finding her body and finding who did this?"

BEZOTTE: "Well, we have to remain optimistic. Investigators you have to remain optimistic about finding that one tip, that one person that can give you the information to break the case. I've worked on many homicide cases. I've got one unsolved case. You never forget it, and hopefully, before we retire, we can find those that are responsible for the case. So, it's an inner drive to try to find those that are responsible. When we deal with the families, they become families to us. We feel their pain as well not as much, obviously, but I can't imaging losing one of my children, so we work as hard as we can to try to find resolution and closure for them as well."

POHL: "It's interesting that you say before you retire, because some of the members, at least, of this task force came out of retirement so to speak to work on this task force. Isn't that right?"

BEZOTTE: "That's correct. We tried to get a couple grants to work in conjunction with Washtenaw County, and we weren't successful there, so these guys found out what we were trying to do, so they came in and volunteered their time, so we're very fortunate to have them."

Anyone with information regarding the case of Paige Renkoski is asked to call the cold case team investigating her abduction. The number is 800-SPEAKUP.

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