ALPENA, Mich. – Michigan State Police announced Wednesday afternoon that human remains found buried near a home in Alpena Township are believed to belong to Brynn Bills based on tattoos on the body.
The remains were transported to Western Michigan University for an autopsy. A cause of death has yet to be determined. State police are calling the death suspicious at this point as part of a criminal investigation.
Bills, 18, had been missing since early August. Her father, Duane Bills, had announced a $20,000 reward for information that would help find his daughter.
9 and 10 News reported state police were executing a search warrant Tuesday at the home on Naylor Road in Alpena Township in connection with the case of Bills. They were working based on an anonymous tip they received this past weekend, state police said.
“The tip led us to an area where we had seen that there was some fresh dirt and something that looked like it had been dug up recently. So it was easy to locate, there were several spots on the property like that, so we narrowed our search to those and that’s where we found the body,” said First Lt. John Grimshaw, with the Michigan State Police. “To find the patch of dirt, it was pretty evident so it didn’t take long to see the locations of interest to us to look, (but) it took us a long time to find the remains and to get her out of there.”
Grimshaw said they would be able to find the identity of the tipster.
State police said the home belongs to Joshua Wirgau, 34, who is now being called a person of interest in the case. He is being held without bond in the Alpena County Jail on charges of unlawful imprisonment and felonious assault in connection with an unrelated incident from earlier this week.
“He is a person of interest, obviously. He is the homeowner where there was a deceased body found on it, so he is a person of interest,” said Grimshaw. “He has an attorney.”
State police said there are other persons of interest who they are talking to in connection with their investigation.