Cold Case Fowlerville: The Disappearance Of Paige Renkoski
Paige Marie Renkoski was last seen on May 24, 1990. Solving her disappearance became her mother Ardis's mission in life. Sadly, Ardis died never knowing what happened to her daughter.
Paige was a substitute teacher from DeWitt Township, Michigan near Okemos in 1990. The 30-year-old was engaged and the couple lived in Lansing. Paige was working as a pre-school aid while she pursued a degree in Early Childhood Development.
On the day she was last seen, Paige had dropped her mother Ardis off at Detroit Metro Airport. After dropping her mother off at the airport, Paige planned to meet a female friend in Canton to have lunch in a park. Paige had what was described as a typical lunch date with her friend then left, stopping at a gas station before getting back on the road. She was headed to her fiance's softball game. That should have been a 30-minute drive.
That day witnesses say they saw Paige stopped on the westbound shoulder of I-96 about a half-mile from the Fowlerville exit at 3:30 p.m. She was spotted speaking with two unidentified African-American males that day. They were standing near a vehicle with a possible third male nearby. Witnesses say Paige was gesturing and throwing her hands up in the air before one of the men was seen putting his hand on her shoulder.
A motorist who saw Paige with the individual at approximately 3:30 p.m. became concerned when he passed her vehicle at the same location four hours later, at approximately 7:30 p.m. Investigators were summoned to the scene where they found Paige's silver 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais abandoned.
The keys were found in the car's ignition, the lights and radio were on, the doors were unlocked and the engine was idling. The driver's side door was unlocked and Paige's purse, wallet, and shoes were found inside the vehicle, as well as an open bottle of beer. There was no damage to the vehicle. Paige was never seen again. It is unknown why Paige was speaking to the unidentified men or if the men were connected to her disappearance. Her family says it is likely that Paige would have stopped if she saw someone she knew. Another theory is that during that time, there had been several incidents of people flashing fake badges to motorists to get them to stop.
Witnesses that were interviewed by investigators had widely varying descriptions of the vehicle spotted near Paige but they were able to provide descriptions of the men which led to 6 police sketches. None of which have ever been identified.
Friends and family say that Paige had made no plans to travel. Paige was engaged to be married in November 1990 and family members told investigators that the couple had been having problems at the time of her disappearance, but they did not believe Paige had voluntarily gone missing.
The friend that had met Paige for lunch the day she disappeared was cooperative. Paige's fiance was brought in for questioning multiple times and was later cleared from being a suspect. Police have ruled the case a homicide even though her body hasn't been found.
Three unsolved abduction/murders of young women occurred in the 1980s in the general area where Renkoski vanished. It is not known if these cases are related to Renkoski's disappearance.
Authorities reopened Renkoski's case in the late 1990s. In 1999 an anonymous tip was hand-delivered to a Lansing-based Michigan State Police detective. The tip contained a letter and map that said Paige's remains were left in the wooded area. It wasn't until 2011 after cadaver dogs indicated potential human remains at on the private property that the FBI, the Livingston County Sheriff's Department, and forensic experts from Michigan State University began searching and excavating the area. The effort produced no answers.
Paige's family has never given up searching for answers and raising awareness. It was through those efforts that a witness stepped forward years after Paige's disappearance with a new suspect description. Below is the sketch produced from that description.
Though Paige's mother passed away without answers, she used the knowledge she gained to help other family's with missing loved ones. Paige's sister and niece have now stepped up to continue Ardis's mission to find Paige.
Paige Renkoski was last seen wearing a white silk shirt, with a long beaded necklace, and baggy silk pants with a multicolored floral pattern. Paige was described as being a Caucasian female standing 5 feet and 6 inches tall, weighing 125 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. Paige had a long surgical scar on the inside of her right arm and a surgical scar on her right leg from knee replacement. She also had 2 surgical screws in her left knee.
Anyone with information on the disappearance of Paige Renkoski is asked to contact Deputy/Investigator Robert J. Getschman of the Livingston County Sheriff's Department at 517-546-2400 or directly at 517-540-7880. You can also text a tip to investigators at 517-546-TIPS (8477) or 517-540-7880. You can also email investigators at firstname.lastname@example.org
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