Pioneer High School student found dead days after she went missing in Ann Arbor

Body of Adriana Davidson found near Pioneer athletic fields

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A Pioneer High School student was found dead Monday at the school’s football stadium three days after she failed to return home from school, police said.

The family of Adriana Davidson, 15, of Scio Township, reported her missing to the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office at 12:10 a.m. Saturday.

Family members said they had last heard from her at 9 a.m. Friday (Jan. 27) while she was on her way to school. When she didn’t return home, they tried to find her, and then called authorities.

Davidson was last seen by friends around 11 a.m. Friday outside Pioneer High School. Deputies searched throughout the weekend, but she hadn’t been located.

Police said Davidson’s body was found by a K-9 unit around 1 p.m. Monday near Pioneer High School’s athletic fields.

“Our sincere condolences go out to the friends and family of Adriana,” the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “You remain in our thoughts and prayers. We would also like to thank everyone for your assistance in spreading the word, sharing tips, and offering your support.”

Foul play is not suspected. Ann Arbor police are handling the investigation into Davidson’s death.

“While the Ann Arbor Police Department is investigating the circumstances of her death, we do not believe there is an active threat to the community,” police tweeted. “An autopsy is planned to determine cause of death.”

Below is a statement from Ann Arbor Public Schools:

Dear AAPS Students, Families and Staff,

By now you have likely heard the devastating news of the death of Pioneer 10th grader Adriana Davidson.

As has been reported by the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department, Adriana was found deceased this afternoon by the Washtenaw County K-9 Unit near the football field. According to the Sheriff’s Department, there are no indications of foul play. AAPS will continue to work closely in support of both the AAPD and the Sheriff’s Department throughout the course of their investigation.

We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Adriana. Our sincere and heartfelt condolences go out to Adriana’s family, friends and the Pioneer community. Please reach out and support each other. Remember that this hard news affects everyone differently. Sometimes it really hits hard even for students and staff who did not know Addy personally. This is especially true now.

We have counselors and grief support teams in place to support students and staff at Pioneer, as well as across our AAPS school campuses as is needed this week; our counselors will continue this work over the coming days so that our students and staff have ongoing support during this very difficult time.

Let's all reach out to support each other; we will need to remain vigilant for all those who may be struggling across our community just now.

I know that we all join together in the Ann Arbor Public Schools community today to extend our thoughts of loving support and deepest sympathy to the family and friends, teachers and to all who knew and loved Adriana.

We have included guidelines below to assist you as you have conversations with your child or with students.


Jeanice Kerr Swift

Ann Arbor Public Schools, Jan. 30, 2023

The Prevention and Community Response Unit of the Washtenaw Youth Public Health Department complied a list of what is a normal reaction to trauma according to each age group. Below are common reactions and recommended responses:

AGE 2–6 - Reaction

  • Generalized fear.
  • Cognitive confusion, e.g., not understanding that the danger is over.
  • Helplessness, passivity, e.g. may become mute, withdrawn, and still.
  • Anxious attachment to a caregiver, e.g., clinging, not wanting to be away from a caregiver, not wanting to sleep alone.
  • Sleep disturbances; night terrors.
  • Regressive reactions, e.g., toileting, dressing, speech.
  • Engaging in reenactments and play about the event, sometimes with magical qualities/character of the event.
  • Incomplete understanding of death, e.g., permanency of death, association with sleep, a desire to “fix up” the deceased.
  • Difficulty identifying and expressing what is wrong, e.g., periodic sadness.

AGE 2-6 - Response

  • Need rapid reassurance that they will be okay and taken care of.
  • Reestablish familiar adult protection.
  • Give repeated concrete clarification of what has happened and anticipate their concerns.
  • Provide support, rest, comfort, food, and opportunities to play.
  • Provide consistent caretaking, e.g., assurance of being picked up at school, keeping a regular meal schedule, bedtime and when caregivers will be home.
  • Be as tolerant as possible of regressive behavior; it is temporary.
  • Try to remove the association of what happened with specific triggers/reminders, e.g., playgrounds, cars.
  • Explain the reality of death in age-appropriate terms when the child is open, e.g. a private moment or while reading.

AGE: 6 –10 - Reaction

  • Impaired concentration and learning difficulties affecting performance at school.
  • Radical change in behavior, e.g., quiet child becomes active; active child, lethargic.
  • Somatic complaints, such as headaches.
  • Retelling the event with great detail and “savior” endings.
  • Preoccupation with their behavior during or leading up to the event with feelings of guilt and responsibility.
  • Specific fears triggered by reminders or while alone.
  • Fear of being overwhelmed by their own feelings.
  • Increased difficulty controlling their own behavior and feeling frightened by this lack of control.

AGE 6-10 - Response

  • Allow enough “free” supervised time for play or expression through art, music, or dance.
  • Encourage your child to let you or the teacher know that they may be having a hard time concentrating while at school.
  • Try to be patient with any behavior changes.
  • Reassure the child that s/he will be safe and that there are people around to help.
  • Help your child associate emotional and physical sensations s/he may have had during the event and suggest ways of helping her/him feel better, e.g., changing the subject or doing something else.
  • As with play, allow time to talk; acknowledge the normalcy of the reaction, what secret images s/he may have, and what specific reminders s/he may have.
  • The supportive presence of adults will help the child not to be so overwhelmed and help remind her/him that feelings lead to actions s/he may not like or cannot control.
  • Help her/him to establish a sense of control by doing something proactive, such as organizing a collection drive, making cards to send to those in need, or making red, white and blue ribbons for friends and classmates to wear.

AGE 10-14 - Reaction

  • Become more childlike in attitude.
  • Be very angry at the unfairness of the event.
  • Manifest euphoria and excitement at survival.
  • “See” symbolic meaning to things that led up to the event and assign symbolic reasons for survival.
  • Suppress thoughts and feelings to avoid confronting the event.
  • Be self-judgmental about their own behavior.
  • Manifest psychosomatic illness.

AGE 10-14 - Response

  • Try to respond to the emotions that are underlying the behavior and reinforce more mature behavior by including them in the resolution of problems.
  • Encourage talking about the event in private moments. Discussions in front of others can lead to emotional reactions.
  • Encourage supervised/supportive discussions about the event with peers if peers have been part of the event. Peers can inflame the reaction if not given some support and guidance.
  • Provide realistic assessments of personal responsibility and “what could have been done”.
  • Help keep things in perspective e.g. “These feelings will not last forever.” “You can shape your own future”.
  • Help them establish a sense of control by allowing them to do something proactive such as organizing a collection drive (which the schools have done) or making and sending cards to the family.

AGE: Adolescent to Adult - Reaction

  • Feel anger, shame, betrayal and act out these feelings in school or the community.
  • May want to move into the adult world to get away from traumatic events and establish a sense of control over their world.
  • Very judgmental about their behavior and that of others.
  • Eating and sleeping disorders.
  • May have an enhanced sense of immortality or an increased sense of hopelessness.
  • Depressions
  • Alcohol and drug use may become a problem.
  • May engage in high-risk behavior.
  • May have a fear of being labeled “abnormal”.

AGE: Adolescent to Adult - Response

  • Acting out may be a way of “pushing the event away”. Help them understand that might be what is going on.
  • Encourage postponing major decisions in order to allow time for emotions to settle down and to grieve if necessary.
  • Speak to emotions that are underlying the behavior. “This must be a very frustrating, angry time.”
  • Help them understand the adult nature of what they are feeling, and encourage peer understanding and support.
  • Help them not to overact to the impact this may have on their lives; help them grow from it, not get lost in it.
  • Acknowledge the “depressed” feeling that may come, and that is survivable and normal.
  • Acknowledge the anger they may be feeling and explain how it can contribute to their sense of being “out of control” and “wanting to do something”.
  • Encourage them to do something proactive such as donating blood, if old enough, or volunteering to help at the Red Cross or other organizations.

For all ages:

  • Give reassurances and hugs
  • Assure them they and their families are safe (if this is the case)
  • Limit their exposure to graphic details
  • Let them talk and reassure them and solicit their ideas and feelings

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.