Family of former Pontiac resident found buried in Ohio park shocked by tragedy

Arrest made in case

PONTIAC, Mich. – A former Pontiac woman’s body was discovered the day her grandfather passed away.

This heartbroken family is now preparing for two funerals. The woman was studying to become a nurse and leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter.

McKenzie Butler was born and raised in Michigan. She moved to Ohio a few months ago. Last Saturday her body was discovered buried in a Lima, Ohio park.

“Wonder what she went through,” said Troy Kraft, Butler’s uncle.

McKenzie’s family is devastated the 25-year-old mother was killed by a man police say she was friends with.

“It’s horrible. I feel like no one deserves that. And I feel like it could’ve been stopped, didn’t have to happen,” said Ryan Gantz, Butler’s brother.

Lima police arrested Melvin Booth. The 28-year-old is charged with murder and his bond was set at $1 million. McKenzie’s body was discovered buried in the park after investigators got a tip about a woman missing under suspicious circumstances.

“I was in total shock cause this is something you see on the news and think it won’t happen to you,” said Kraft.

McKenzie overcame a lot in her short life. She was separated from her siblings and raised in the foster care system after her mom got sick.

“I kinda wish we could’ve gotten closer in our adult lives because we were close as kids and were all split up,” said Gantz.

McKenzie moved to Ohio in March when she got a better job. Her four year old daughter Natalie went to live with her biological father in Howell. Now the little girl will grow up without her mom.

“I was really sad for daughter because the cycle continues. I didn’t have my parents and that little girl doesn’t have her mom,” said Gantz.

The family is holding a candlelight vigil at Pontiac City Hall at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.


The family started an online fundraiser to raise money as part of a college fund for McKenzie’s daughter Natalie.

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