Danielle Stislicki's friends break silence about her disappearance, person of interest in case
Local 4 has exclusive interview with Danielle Stislicki's close friends
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – It's been nearly a year since Danielle Stislicki, a 28-year-old woman from Farmington Hills, went missing, and Local 4 is still following the case closely.
To report information on Stislicki's case, call 248-871-2610.
Stislicki was raised in Redford, and that's where she built some of her closest relationships. The girls know Stislicki, her secrets, her fears and her hopes.
Over the past 11 and a half months, they have cried, hugged and searched for Stislicki, but they haven't spoken publicly about the case until now.
"We did brunch, mimosas, breakfast food and hung out," Jill Thompson said.
It's more than a decade-old tradition amongst the Redford girls. In November of each year, they gather for what they call a "Friendsgiving."
They have quite a past from elementary school, to attending each others' weddings, to going on vacation. In photos of the Friendsgiving of 2015, Stislick is front and center, but she's not at this year's event.
"That was the last time we all saw Danielle," Megan Fischback said.
"It was the Sunday before she went missing," Thompson said. "She came, like, busting in, and she was supposed to bring bagels."
After Stislicki disappeared, her friends weren't ready to talk about the case, but on this year's Friendsgiving, they said it felt fitting to talk about their childhood friend, who they call a free spirit.
"If she were here right now, she would be talking this whole time, and she would be telling you all these crazy stories," Kristy Holme said.
"She'd be dancing," Caiti Wannamaker said. "She'll be making you a drink. She'll be making food."
They remember what she talked about the last time they were all together.
"She was just telling us, literally, all of her hopes and dreams, with a tiny house and the blog and everything," Wannamaker said.
FULL COVERAGE: The disappearance of Danielle Stislicki
"And sustainable farming and organic foods," Thompson said.
Those dreams never happened, and they've been replaced with a nightmare.
"It just hit me like a ton of bricks," Danielle Frederick said. "I was, like, 'Wait, what's happening?'"
Stislicki went missing Dec. 2, 2016, and her friends woke up to the news.
"I jumped out of bed," Frederick said. "Her sisters were posting (that) they were going to start searching at her apartment, and I was, like, 'We've got to go. Let's go. We're going.'"
"I walked inside her apartment and, like, the realization just came crashing down on me, like, 'Oh wow. This is happening,'" Wannamaker said. "I walked into her family. Her mom was there, her aunts, her uncles, her sisters. ... We all wanted to say a thousand things, but nobody wanted to say anything at all."
"Her apartment complex is kind of sprawling, so there's lots of ditches and swampy areas and cars everywhere, and dumpsters," Holme said. "It's terrifying. Every car that you peek in, right, to think, 'What if I find something?' But, to think, 'What if I don't?'"
Press conferences were held to update the case, Stislicki's parents spoke out and the investigation continued, but there have been no arrests, and she hasn't been found.
When officials searched Hines Park in Livonia, Stislicki's friends didn't know what was going to happen until the search hit social media.
"I pulled up the live feed, and my sister was texting me, 'Oh I love you,'" Frederick said. "I said, 'Are you texting me because you love me or are you texting me because they're looking for my friend's body in a park right now?' She said both, and I went in my bathroom and sobbed on the bathroom floor."
A woman had been attacked while jogging in the park, and police arrested a man named Floyd Galloway.
"When his name came up for that Hines Park case..." Rachel Perell said.
Because of DNA obtained, Galloway was also named a person of interest in Stislicki's disappearance.
"If he did this to this woman, your mind then goes to, 'What if this happened to Danielle?'" Holme said.
Stislicki's friends had heard Galloway's name before. He was a security guard at Stislicki's work, the last place she was seen.
"(He) was very friendly with her, and maybe more than you would expect from just a security guard who worked with you," Holme said.
Afraid their comments could affect the case, her friends wanted to keep them to a minimum.
"As time goes on and on, it gets harder and harder, and we just try to keep her alive," Fischback said.
They drive around with "#FindDani" on their cars, which is their way of keeping Stislicki's case in the spotlight and searching for justice.
"We let balloons go for her birthday," Fischback said.
They said the balloons were green, which was Stislicki's favorite color.
"Someone said to me, 'At what point in time are you guys going to give up hope?'" Frederick said. "I was just, like, 'Never. We're never going to give up hope.' You never give up on family, and that's what we are to each other.
Anyone who has information about Stislicki's case is asked to call police at 248-871-2610.
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