Parents of Danielle Stislicki discuss monthslong search for missing daughter
28-year-old Farmington Hills woman missing since early December
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – A Farmington Hills family is fighting through every day as the search for 28-year-old Danielle Stislicki continues into its third month.
"You go through the day, one day, one step at a time," Ann Stislicki, Danielle's mother, said.
Stislicki's parents spoke with Local 4 Defender Karen Drew about the case, their thoughts and the latest on the investigation.
Farmington Hills police also have an update on Stislicki's disappearance.
Stislicki left her Southfield office on Dec. 2 and hasn't been seen since. Her Jeep Renegade was found parked outside her Farmington Hills apartment.
In the weeks since, local and state authorities have executed numerous search warrants and gathered evidence.
For Stislicki's parents, it's been a nightmare every step of the way.
"Every morning, it's Danielle," Ann Stislicki said. "I talk to her. 'Are we going to find you today?'"
Not knowing what happened to their daughter shatters their souls, but also inspires them to keep searching for answers.
"It's that lighthearted smile, the silliness," Ann Stislicki said. "We talk about her as if she's still living in the apartment. Having that hope is why you have the energy to work at the pace, to only get a couple hours of sleep because we want to make it happen as fast as we can. We want to be able to get Danielle back."
They spend their days distributing missing fliers, updating social media on the case and having conversations with the Farmington Hills police.
"Texts anytime we have questions, concerns -- they're addressed immediately at any time of the day," Ann Stislicki said. "When another body is found, they let us know without calling, (saying), 'We didn't want you to hear it from the news. We know that that is not Danielle.'"
They find themselves always looking around, wondering who might know something about their daughter's mysterious disappearance. They also have to deal with people who walk up to them and express concern.
"It's OK to be nervous about what to say," Ann Stislicki said. "Your reaction of how when I hear people say, 'How are you?' I don't get offended with that. That is a genuine, 'I'm concerned.' But I don't know what to say, either. We don't know what to say. This is new."
"You don't have to worry about your words," Richard Stislicki, Danielle's father, said. "Instead, you can just hug."
"They have just been amazing to work with," Farmington Hills police Chief Chuck Nebus said of Ann and Richard Stislicki. "They actually inspire us."
Nebus is heading the investigation into Danielle Stislicki's disappearance.
"We believed right from the beginning she was a victim of foul play," Nebus said.
Nebus said there have been some credible tips, evidence gathered and progress made on the case, but sometimes it's best not to share specifics with the public.
"The bottom line is we have to think of what's best for Danielle Stislicki in this case," Nebus said. "Sometimes in this particular case, it's been not to release information too early. It would be to no advantage to us."
A home in the 2900 block of Oxford Road in Berkley has been searched, and police found a mattress and other evidence. The person who lived there was a former security guard at the office where Danielle Stislicki worked.
"We've overwhelmed them with the amount of evidence that we've collected," Nebus said. "Part of the investigation right now is dependent on a lot of the lab results coming back in."
Nebus said Danielle Stislicki's blue Eddie Bauer jacket could provide a critical piece of evidence. It's what she was wearing when she was last seen.
"That hope of her being alive, even though it's scary to think (about)," Richard Stislicki said. "It's winter time. It's been two months. How would she be cared for?
"So my logical mind would be predisposed to think that it was not going to turn out well."
But in their hearts, Danielle Stislicki's parents believe she is still alive.
"Absolutely," Richard Stislicki said. "Until you tell me you have evidence differently, she is (alive). ... So in my mind, the need to be able to protect ourselves is center focus so this doesn't happen."
Ann and Richard Stislicki recently spoke at a self-defense seminar. It was a fundraiser to help in the search for their daughter and an opportunity to teach and empower others, so they're never attacked or kidnapped.
"I came out to support Danielle," Kim Koltyk, of Westland, said. "I know her pretty well. I've worked with her for years, and also to learn self-defense."
"Supporting her and, of course, learn self-defense," April Mazac said. "I've always wanted to take a self-defense class and this pushed me to do it."
Self-defense was something Danielle Stislicki had talked about learning before she disappeared.
"She did consider getting a concealed weapon and learning how to use it, but she never made it that far," Richard Stislicki said.
Ann Stislicki said every night since her daughter's disappearance, she prays for help.
"And at night, (I pray), 'We didn't find you, but keep me focused. Let me know. The people that are working with us will be able to find you,'" Ann Stislicki said.
Police said the case is centered in Oakland County, and 12-15 police agencies are working on it.
The total possible reward money in the search for Stislicki is $125,000, including money from Independence Green Apartments ($50,000.00), MetLife ($50,000.00) and a family friend’s GoFundMe account ($25,000.00), police said.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Farmington Hills Police Department at 248-871-2610.
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