GRANT RAPIDS, Mich. – Amanda Lankey’s final remains were put to rest Monday as her murder investigation continues.
More than eight years ago her body was found in the Manistee National Forest.
Her family says the teen had been visiting her best friend when she disappeared.
Her friend’s stepfather, Cecil Wallis, became a suspect in the case.
Wallis was facing charges for sexually assaulting a different teen. He committed suicide before that case was completed and before Amanda’s family could find out the truth about what happened to her.
Amanda Lankey`s family and friends shed quite a few tears at her second burial service. However, her mom says she`s relieved that her daughter is finally whole.
“She deserved to be laid to rest properly and this is how we wanted to do it even though was hard,” said Vicki Foster, Amanda’s Mother.
Snow fell softly around Amanda’s grave at Michigan Memorial Park in Flat Rock.
It created a quiet, peaceful scene as the family tried to quiet the anguish in their hearts.
“Just feels like the first time all over again, but at least this time we know that she`s complete,” said Vicki.
Amanda’s nieces and nephews, born after her death, arrived with flowers. Family members placed them lovingly at the burial site. Her mom put a purple cross in the earth. The family held hands to pray.
While the family experiences the process of saying goodbye again, the process of justice is moving slowly.
The prime suspect in the murder was Cecil Wallis. He killed himself before the Amanda Lankey case could be proven.
Two of his family members are charged with perjury associated with questioning in the murder case.
Cecil’s sister, Candace Baumgartner-Wallis, and her son Marcus Wallis are accused of lying under oath.
Vicki said appeals by defense attorneys regarding what can be used as evidence are holding up a trial date.
She said another investigative subpoena was issued in the case.
Back at the service, the family read the passage from Amanda’s first burial and her niece, Bella, spontaneously started singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”.
“She just started singing over there so we let her go with it, singing for Amanda,” said Vicki.
Amanda’s first-born niece is named after her.
She says she knows her aunt is in heaven, watching down on them.
“She loves us all,” said Amanda.
As the next generation celebrates Amanda’s spirit, the fight for justice and healing continues.
“We`re not going to stop fighting, we`ll be there for her courts, we have to start living,” said Vicki.