SARANAC, Mich. — The family of Brooke Slocum, 18, said on Monday evening that what they call “evil forces” had recently pulled her away from her family. They also said that her internet activity was a “secret part of her life.”
A small memorial sits in the front yard of Slocum’s mother’s house near Ionia.
Slocum’s great uncle Rod Knepper said that his family isn’t only mourning the loss of Brooke but also her unborn daughter Audi.
“There is a pile of all the supplies needed to get started with a newborn that now only serves as a painful reminder of what was to be,” said Knepper.
Knepper said that Brooke had planned to move home with her mother once Audi was born, but said that “evil forces” had returned into her life and drove her away from her family.
“As fate would have it, the same evil forces that had pulled her away from our family had once again pulled her away recently and changed her mind from that plan,” said Knepper.
Slocum’s family searched the area near Gezon Court after the body of her boyfriend, Charles Oppenneer, 25, was found on Wednesday.
Knepper said that Slocum’s curiosity on the internet has gotten her into trouble before, after meeting strangers online.
“Yes, Brooke had made previous mistakes within the world that is online including those that led to her involvement with the other victim in this situation, and yes the family had tried to curtail, inform, protect and advise against the evils that this tragedy had brought forward,” said Knepper.
Slocum’s family said that she was a creative, loving person who was naive like many her age.
The family said that they want to warn other parents of the dangers than can come from someone mixing with the wrong crowd over the internet.
“We want to be an advocate for informing how important it is to not allow your children to have unsupervised access to the internet. It is now everywhere as you are well aware including in our schools, etc,” said Knepper.
Knepper also went on to speak critical of Michigan law, stating anyone 17 years of age is seen as an adult, making it harder for parents to keep an eye on their children if they choose to leave the home. This hinted that Slocum had left home without her mother’s approval, but Knepper wouldn’t comment further on the situation.