MILFORD, Mich. – Investigators are hoping advancements in technology can help solve a murder from 40 years ago.
Anne Doroghazi was a worker at Camp Dearborn. She was 20 years old when her body was found on the side of the road. She had been strangled.
The Cold Case Unit at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the murder.
Camp Dearborn, a 600-acre recreational retreat in Milford, is a place where many families spent their summers.
Anne Doroghazi’s brother, Bill Doroghazi, was a camp counselor in the youth camp in the 80s. He said what happened to his sister when she worked at the camp still haunts him.
“Camp Dearborn was people used to drop their kids off in the morning and say, ‘Be home by 9 p.m.’ It was that kind of place,” he said.
Bill Doroghazi loved the camp and the people at Camp Dearborn so much that he convinced his sister to work there.
“It was great, you would be there all summer,” he said. “You develop very few lifelong friends and I would say three to four of my lifelong friends came out of that job.”
He said his sister was very comfortable outdoors.
“She went down to be a laborer, which meant you set up tents, you take care of things, you fix things,” he said.
Anne Doroghazi went back to work there summer after summer, eventually living inside a trailer in the summer while working on camp property.
According to her brother, she never worried about her safety. He said she was independent, strong and could take care of herself.
Sept. 26, 1981, was the last day she was seen alive.
“She was last seen at about 9:30 that evening in one of the shower buildings, seen by another woman, a guest at the camp who said that she was drying her hair there,” said cold case detective Bill Peterson.
Peterson, a retired Detroit homicide detective, now helps in the Oakland County Sheriff’s Cold Case Unit. This case captured his attention.
“I think Sherlock Holmes told Dr. Watson that, ‘Once you eliminate everything that’s impossible. What’s possible is what happened,’” he said.
Peterson said it wasn’t uncommon to leave the camp and walk down General Motors Road to a nearby gas station for snacks or cigarettes.
“Another couple thought they saw somebody that looked like her walking back from Milford to the camp, but they couldn’t swear to it,” Peterson said.
Days passed and nobody heard from the 20-year-old. She wasn’t scheduled to work so no one was looking for her. She was independent so it wasn’t unusual for her to not check in with family and friends.
Peterson said that it’s possible she had some conflicted love interests. Three days after she was seen alive, she was reported missing by a police officer that patrolled camp.
“He reported that she was missing to the Milford police at about 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning. The timing they see as everything. ... A young boy walking along General Motors Road there saw a body near the road,” Peterson said. “She had socks on. Her shirt was pulled up over her head. Her jeans and underpants were tossed on the ground near her body. That was it.”
Police noted that her body was not dragged, instead, they believe it was placed there in the morning. They believed she was placed there because it rained that night and early morning and her body wasn’t wet.
“You know it when you first get to the department, you hear about this case. You hear about the guys that worked on it originally,” said Milford police detective Scott Tarasiewicz.
Early on, detectives zeroed in on a few camp workers. They were cleared. Then there was an anonymous typewritten letter sent to police about her murder. Police still can’t share the details.
At the same time Anne Doroghazi went missing, a polygamous church cult gathered at the camp around the same time. That provided police with many suspects to investigate. No arrests were made.
“As time goes on, technology evolves. In there are certain things that can’t be looked at again. Just because we didn’t have that information before doesn’t mean we can’t have it now,” Tarasiewicz said.
Peterson said they intend to close the case. There is hope that 40 years after the murder, that the family might get some answers.
Bill Doroghazi said he hopes the new interest in the case will bring some arrests by next fall.
Detectives said they plan on bringing some persons of interest in for questioning.
If you have any information about Anne Doroghazi’s murder you can contact the Oakland County Cold Case Unit at 248-858-7155 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.