March 12, 2007- Anita Marshall, mother of Mary Denise Lands, on the 3rd anniversary of her daughter's disappearance.
This sad date will mark three years,...36 long and arduous months since Mary Denise Lands was last seen as reported by her fiancé, Christopher Luke Pratt. 44 hours later Mr. Pratt called Mary’s family in California and asked if they had heard from her? The family then immediately contacted the Marshall Police Department, but her case was then handled as though she was an adult runaway.
In a recent article written by Shelly Sulser of the Marshall Chronicle for the 3rd anniversary of Mary's case she stated that Marshall Police Chief Mike Olson has said repeatedly that in those early days, police could not necessarily presume foul play because adults are allowed to be missing if they so choose. Six months later Chief Olson announced that Mary was being considered a victim of foul play because no evidence of her existence could be found.
This just shows the inadequacies of the Marshall Police Department (MPD) and their arrogance in not immediately and aggressively investigating Mary’s disappearance.
A few weeks ago Tara Lynn Grant disappeared from a Detroit suburb. Her husband, Stephen Grant suspected of killing and dismembering his wife was captured Sunday as he fled searchers, running through snow in northern Michigan. Stephen Grant had been the subject of a manhunt since police discovered what they believe to be the torso and other body parts of his wife in and around the couple's house in a suburb of Detroit. Grant was arrested in northern Michigan, some 225 miles from his home, after an air and ground search by local, state and federal agencies, according to the Emmet County sheriff's department. In Mary’s case, the Federal Bureau of Investigation immediately began to assist in the investigation and a task force was formed, however within days the FBI was informed by MPD that their services were no longer needed. They would return today if given jurisdiction of the case by Chief Olson, but he refuses to give up primary control of the investigation.
The parents and family of Tara Lynn Grant are indeed fortunate to have law enforcement authorities with a diligent and pro-active perspective of missing persons in their community. This would also include the families of Laci Peterson in California, Lori Hacking in Utah, and so many others. Imagine the status of those cases today if law enforcement had waited six months to commence a viable investigation? An immediate and appropriate police response is required to solve these crimes.
In Mary’s case, a former deputy chief sat with his feet on a desk in a relaxed manner and ridiculed the family in his skepticism that Mary was actually missing. There is much documentation to verify his poor and incompetent demeanor in those first six months. Another issue is why a civilian dog handler was used in the early search, which resulted in a bogus claim that Mary was tracked for miles throughout Marshall and her scent was found on the comforter of a bed in a nearby motel? That statement was the genesis of the story that Mary was an adult runaway and it was totally false and without foundation. No dog or handler ever went into any room at this motel and five days later any scent on such a trail would have been nearly impossible by even the best of certified tracking animals and their handlers. My cat would have been able to track Mary Lands with more accuracy that what was purported by this dubious civilian character who seemed to be sanctioned by the MPD. This felon who was convicted in Eaton County for multiple counts of embezzlement should never have been permitted search duties in Mary's case. How, when, and why she was called to duty by MPD is yet another question? Her report clearly gave a false perception to the entire community that Mary had run away.
In September 2004 Chief Olson announced that Mary was now being considered a victim of foul play, Just a few weeks earlier Mr. Pratt was observed at a flea market in Homer selling Mary’s personal articles. Pictures still in their frames, jewelry, and other personal items. He also had for sale... a brown leather jacket that appeared to be the one she was wearing when she allegedly walked away from their apartment. The jacket was recovered and turned over to MPD, however today they do not even seem concerned with its worth as evidence? After the jacket was recovered he left the flea market quickly leaving the rest of the property at the booth, with a sign, "For Free".
There are also many questions about Mary’s new Dodge Durango. After it was brought back from Lansing and supposedly had been processed for evidence it was stored at Bud's Towing in Marshall. There was no evidence tape, the vehicle was open, and did not even appear to have been processed although we must take the word of MPD on this issue. It was quietly moved after the family inquired about its dubious status as "evidence" and being kept in the open and unsecured tow yard for over two and one half years. Numerous individuals have been in and out of the unlocked vehicle, however again on January 19, 2007 MPD reiterated their claim that the vehicle it is being held as evidence.
You may view photographs and information about of the vehicle in other sections of Mary's blog.
On Mother’s Day 2006, Mr. Pratt conveniently found the birth record certificate and a small wallet sized birth document that he claimed he located in a file of Mary’s. He told the family he wanted to give it to Anita Marshall for Mother’s Day and delivered the papers. What arrogance! A person who has never supported the family in the search for his missing fiancée shows up on Mother's Day to give these papers to the grieving parents. In September, 2004 I asked Mr. Pratt a question about his desire to find Mary's killer and bring her home? I told him that if it were me, I would be camping out in a tent at the Fountain, across the street from the Marshall Police Department, and wouldn't move until they solved the case. His reply was odd, "Why would I bother, they know where I live?" Anyone looking at the document he gave Anita Marshall could conclude from the way it was folded and dog-eared to fit in a wallet that the papers were probably always in Mary’s purse. This would be the same purse that Mr. Pratt claimed she left with in her possession, on the evening of March 12th. Ask any woman who is often checked for identification to buy alcohol and prove their age? This is exactly the way Mary and other women would store this type of document in their wallet. Her family also confirmed these articles as being in Mary's purse.
Mr. Pratt told me in September 2004 that he had Mary’s engagement ring, which she forgot to put back on after they tanned during the evening of March 12th. At 10:00 PM he states she walked away from their apartment after a minor argument attired only in a lightweight medical scrub outfit from work, flat soft cloth office shoes, her favorite leather jacket, and carrying her purse. She left behind her new Dodge Durango and her cell phone. This sounds a bit odd that a person is going to walk in 19-degree weather and snow dressed in this manner?
Christopher Luke Pratt, Additional Photographs will soon be published
April 20, 2007- Another new YouTube Video- Why Mr. Pratt can't help search for Mary?
It is also another irony that on March 14, 2007 Mr. Pratt threw a gala birthday party for his new girl-friend. Two days earlier although he was off-work, he couldn't find the time to be present at the Brooks Memorial Fountain for the 3rd anniversary of Mary's disappearance and support the family of his previous fianceé? Why would be though? He never did! His girl-friend is very lucky, Mary Lands will never be able to celebrate another birthday with her loved ones.
April 13, 2007- Chris Pratt is telling friends and relatives that his girl-friend had to go into the hospital because she lost feeling in her hands and feet. It sure is a strange coincidence that this makes the 3rd woman with whom he has had a relationship to experience this type of unusual medical anomaly. What could it be? Oh, what could it be? There is no proof that anything sinister has occurred however the following link on www.PDRHealth.com is interesting- http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/ars_0026.shtml
Chris, you don’t seem to be working much anymore, and Norrie is the one employed and with a viable income and taking care of the house. It must be rough on her having to file for bankruptcy and with other things going on?I plan to return to rural areas of Calhoun County and continue the search for Mary as soon as the weather clears next week. We will have more cadaver dogs and since you have all this idle time on your hands I wondered if you could meet with me and help in the search? As an experienced hunter who claims to know every piece of land in Calhoun County you would know where we could look.I hope you will consider my request and I look forward to talking with you again. Give it some thought? You could help bring home your former fiancee.
A reasonable person reading about this case might remark that it couldn’t be true, however sadly it is all very accurate. You couldn’t even begin to make up some of the incidents that are real in this three-year odyssey being endured by the Marshall family. Mr. & Mrs. Marshall were read their Miranda Rights by an officer of the Marshall Police Department about a bogus home invasion and burglary alleged by Mr. Pratt. What a joke to expend police resources on such a frivolous claim? Did Mr. Pratt report that Cliff & Anita were even wearing ski masks? Chief Olson later told them "there really was no problem." Could it be that these actions were undertaken to intimidate the family? I frankly question how many people have even been read their rights in the actual investigation of Mary's disappearance? For some time we have been asking the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take this case over from the Marshall Police Department. A Petition on Mary's behalf is circulating in Michigan. You may also support of efforts by signing up online- http://www.marydeniselands.com/justiceformarypetition.html Thank you for your help.
We have all been down, and we also have all been up with positive news about the case. One thing is clear when you hear talk from "Ole Kentuckian," Clifford Marshall. He often remarks, "we ain’t going nowhere ‘til Mary’s found. Then if we want to go someplace, we’ll leave then."
I’ve donated nearly 6000 hours and if it takes another 6000 to bring Mary home I am fully committed to it, and to helping this good family. We continue to ask help from the public and even today new tips came in that are very very promising, and will be fully investigated. The weather will be improving soon and we are all committed to doing more digging, advertising, protest walks, and conducting various public awareness projects on behalf of Mary. We still hope that Mary's case and the frustrations of the Marshall family will be featured by national media that can help solve this case. America's Most Wanted, 48 Hours, and others are aware of the Mary Denise Lands situation and we have asked for their help. We intend to do what it takes to get the job done!
It is surprising that we get so much assistance from many different people. However, it is only going to take one person to solve this case. I have no doubt that many people do know exactly what happened to Mary Denise Lands and soon we will all know.
Two years ago while doing research on this historic community I wrote that Marshall, Michigan is a lovely and beautiful place to live and work, but evil things can and do occur in the best of places. Something very evil occurred on March 12, 2004 and that evil persists in Marshall to this day.
One great supporter recently published a video tribute to Mary and her family and it may be viewed at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5453491744213013506
We believe that the person/s responsible for the disappearance and murder of Mary Denise Lands will soon be held accountable in a court of law.
On Monday, March 12, 2007 at 1:00 P.M. at the Brook's Memorial Fountain Circle the family will release 36 yellow balloons, one for each month that Mary has been missing. Please join us and meet Cliff & Anita Marshall and their family.
In the meantime as we wait, we all think about those famous lyrics of the Cops theme song…
Bad boys bad boys,
Watcha gonna do,
whatcha gonna do when they come for you?