Howell and Brighton friends find closure after discovery of wreckage of plane missing since 1997

Mark and Janet Davies went missing after takeoff nearly 21 years ago

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®, Dane Sager Kelly

ST. IGNACE, Mich. - The wreckage believed to be from a plane missing for nearly 21 years has been located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

RELATED: Wreckage discovered in Michigan's Upper Peninsula believed to be plane missing since 1997

The single-engine piper Cherokee took off Sept. 14, 1997, and was headed to Howell, but it never arrived.

A U.S. Forestry Service officer was doing surveying in the area and discovered their plane in the Hiawatha National Forest near St. Ignace Wednesday near Castle Rock.

Mark Davies was a 46-year-old auto mechanic and experienced pilot. Davies and his 52-year-old wife Janet lived in a home on Lake Chemung between Brighton and Howell.

Janet was an artist and teacher and used the garage as an art studio. She befriend Ted Sarrach's late mother, who lived just steps away, and gifted her her art often.

"They talked about children, they talked about the lake," Sarrach said. "She lived here for quite some time and she bought the house next to here and made it into a studio."

Sarrach said the Davies planned to retire to the Upper Peninsula. 

"They were going to build up there, thinking of retiring, and that they flew up there to look at their property and get some ides of what type of building they wanted," Sarrach said.

Sarrach said he believes they flew north on a Friday and return on a Sunday, but they never made it. 

Janet was expected to start teaching the next day. Ken Hamman, the former principal at Scranton Middle School and Brighton Middle School, remembers her as a good friend and colleague.

"Janet was a very kind, gracious and caring teacher," Hamman said. "Well liked by her students."

Scranton Middle School dedicated the 1997-1998 yearbook to the teacher and her husband.

"I guess it's a mix of sadness and some sense of closure also since nothing had been found," Hamman said.

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