Detroit police: Body of woman found in burned home identified as missing girl's mother

Amber Alert issued for missing 4-year-old Savannah Walker

DETROIT – Police have confirmed the body of a woman found Saturday in an abandoned, burned house in the 4700 block of Lakeview Street on Detroit's east side is the mother of missing 4-year-old Savannah Walker.

An autopsy was performed to confirm the mother's identity. She is 38-year-old Heidi Lynne Walker. The cause of death is still pending. The body of a girl found in the same torched house has not yet been identified. Police have reason to believe the body is Savannah Walker, but a positive identification has not been confirmed. 

Michigan State Police issued an Amber Alert Saturday for the girl. State police said the Amber Alert would stay in effect until the girl is found. However, it has been canceled. 

Police: Man turned himself in

Meanwhile, police said 33-year-old Marcus Hightower was the last person seen with Savannah Walker. 

Hightower, who was dating Walker's mother, turned himself in early Sunday morning. He has not been arrested or charged, but police now consider him a suspect in this case.

He is still in police custody. 

Family member reported missing woman, girl

Savannah’s older sister reported the two of them missing in Livingston County on Tuesday. They were residents of Howell. The older sister told Local 4 that she told police Tuesday she believed her mother had been killed by someone.

“I told them about her on Tuesday and nothing was done until Friday,” the sister said.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said that the initial report was made to the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office and it’s possible something should have been done then. When pressed if the delay may have cost lives in this situation, Craig said, “I don’t want to be overly critical because it’s still early in the investigation, certainly there were indications early on that something more should have been done.”

Livingston County Sheriff Bob Bezotte told Local 4 a deputy responded to a 911 call Tuesday and advised the family member to file an Amber Alert with Michigan State Police, which is the only agency with authority to do so. The deputy was also able to locate the last activity of the missing woman’s cellphone—somewhere on Gratiot in Detroit. He told the family member to contact Ann Arbor police or Detroit police. It’s unclear if she did that before Friday.

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