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Porchlight International for the Missing & Unidentified > Missing Persons Cases 2004 > Lands, Mary Denise 03/12/04 Marshall MI

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Title: Lands, Mary Denise 03/12/04 Marshall MI
Description: declared legally dead 2011

Gaelle - March 12, 2006 09:25 PM (GMT)

2 year anniversary of missing Marshall woman

(Marshall, March 12, 2006, 6:50 a.m.) Today marks the two year anniversary since 40-year-old, Mary Lands vanished.
Lands has been missing since March of 2004.

Today family and friends will hold a vigil at 2:00 p.m. at the Fountain Circle in Marshall.
Just last week Lands' family sat down with 24 hour news 8 to talk about what they're still going through.

They realize Mary is likely dead and hired a private investigator to get some answers. The family says one problem is that at first Lands was considered a possible runaway, which meant time was lost in launching a full-scale investigation.

Lands' father says dealing with his daughter's disappearance hasn't gotten any easier.

A $9,000 reward has been set up for information leading to an arrest in the case.

monkalup - March 18, 2006 01:35 PM (GMT)

2-year anniversary, family of missing mother pleads for tips
Scott Noll, News 3 Reporter
March 13, 2006 - 9:04AM
MARSHALL (NEWS 3) - Two years after a Marshall mother of two disappeared, her family is hoping someone has the information that will finally help them start healing.

"She does not deserve to be thrown away like a piece of trash. She deserves to be found and have a proper burial and we need to have peace with that too," Anita Marshall told News 3. Her daughter, Mary Lands, was last seen March 12, 2004 leaving the apartment she shared with a boyfriend.

"If there's been a crime committed, there has to be a suspect. And if there's a suspect, it would be nice for someone to tell us who that is," Mike Marshall, Mary's brother, told a crowd of nearly 100 friends and family who gathered in Marshall to remember Lands. Recently, the 39-year-old's family has grown increasingly critical of the investigation into her disappearance.

"I think the investigation was botched for the first four to six months when Mary ended up missing. I think they let it into people's hands and they didn't care, didn't pay attention because they thought she just took off," said Anita Marshall.

The family is now working with private investigator Jim Carlin. He believes prosecutors should go ahead with the case, even without Lands' body. "They need many people to go out and talk to these many witnesses, and when they go out and sit in that office and compare notes and look at evidence, they can come up with a suspect in this case and they can go to trial," said Carlin. "I believe that now that we're at the second anniversary, if something isn't done in the next 30 to 60 days, this case will never be solved."
But Marshall's police chief disagrees. Chief Michael Olson believes the case is solvable and says his department is making progress.

"Certainly the family wants their answers, and I understand that, and we're going to take criticism and have to live with it because it's a natural process and part of the grieving," Olson said. "I think we've got certainly some good information and good evidence and whatnot to take to the prosecutor," said the chief.

Despite that, Olson says he's not sure when he'll be able to ask prosecutors for an arrest warrant in the case. Police are waiting for additional test results to come back on evidence.

Meaning, the wait for justice and answers to the question, 'Where is Mary?' continue for Lands' family.

"It's hard because people come up to us everyday and say, 'have you heard anything? Are the police still working on this or do you know anything?' And, we don't. We really don't," said Lands' mother.

The family has also set up a post office box, hoping to collect anonymous tips about the case. Anyone with information about Mary Lands' disappearance can send that tip to:

Where's Mary?
P.O. Box 301
Marshall, MI 49068

monkalup - March 18, 2006 01:37 PM (GMT)

'Mary is more than just a name to us'

Nick Schirripa
The Enquirer

MARSHALL — Sunday marked the two-year anniversary of Mary Marshall Lands' disappearance from her Marshall home.

More than 100 people gathered Sunday for a vigil at the east side of Brooks Fountain in downtown Marshall to remember Lands and to pray for her return after what Anita Marshall, Lands' mother, called "two agonizing and painful years."

Yellow ribbons were tied around trees in the circle. People wore hats displaying Lands' picture with the question, "Where is Mary?"

Marshall police stopped traffic and the crowd moved into the street, releasing about 50 yellow balloons, each containing a picture of Lands' and telephone numbers for people to call with information about Lands' disappearance.

When the balloons began climbing toward the sunny late winter sky, Sue Burkwalt called out, "God bless you, Mary."

Burkwalt, 41, said she and Lands' were best friends for 38 years.

"Mary's been there through the good and she's been there through the bad," she said. "I miss her."

Burkwalt said she talked with Lands' for the last time the Friday before Lands disappeared two years ago.

"I know we're not going to get her back alive," she said. "I just pray we can bring her home and put her to rest."

The police search may end and the case may go away, but Burkwalt said her hope never dies.

"If we don't find her in the next year, I don't think we'll ever find her," she said. "But her family and friends — we will never stop looking."

Jim Carlin, a private investigator who has researched the case and is working with the family to help find Lands, said it's unrealistic to think Lands still is alive, and the drive to bring her abductors to justice is fading.

"If charges aren't brought in the next couple of months, the case will just go away," he said.

Carlin said he believes there is enough evidence against Chris Pratt, Lands' boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, to move forward with a prosecution.

"He should be named as a suspect or at least a person of interest," Carlin said.

Mike Marshall, Lands' brother, addressed the crowd at the vigil and noted Pratt's absence.

"You said you loved her, and you said you intended to marry her," he said to the absent Pratt. "If you were that much involved with somebody, wouldn't being here be important? Wouldn't this be a priority?"

Marshall asked people to help find his sister.

"We would just like to find Mary sometime," he said. "We would just like closure."

Marshall police Chief Mike Olson said Lands' disappearance is being treated as a missing person case.

"Certainly we suspect she's been the victim of foul play," he said.

Police are still sifting through evidence and information, Olson said, and while there may be some suspects, he declined to name them as long as the investigation continues.

"The question remains, where is Mary?" he said. 'We, too, feel the pain. Mary is more than just a name to us.

"With all of your help, we're going to solve this case. We're going to find Mary."

Jerry Mains, Lands' cousin, asked people to get involved with the search for Lands by talking about it with others.

"There are many stages of grieving and I think my Uncle Cliff and Aunt Anita have gone through all they need to go through," he said. "Each and every person here today knows somebody who might know what happened to Mary. If anybody out there knows anything, tell us."

Mains said he is establishing a post office box dedicated to finding Lands.

People who want to submit information anonymously can mail it to "Where is Mary?" at P.O. Box 301, Marshall, MI, 49068.

"Let's not get together next year," Mains said. "Let's bring Mary home this year."

Nick Schirripa covers Calhoun County and Marshall. He can be reached at 966-0692 or Read his blog in the News Extras area at

Originally published March 13, 2006

monkalup - March 18, 2006 01:38 PM (GMT)

monkalup - April 3, 2006 03:48 AM (GMT)

Mary Denise Lands

Police to search spot for Lands' body
Trace Christenson
The Enquirer

MARSHALL — The focus of the two-year search for a missing Marshall woman has shifted this week to Sheridan Township.

And police confirmed Thursday they expect to search a piece of property after the woman's family said they believe her body might be buried there.


"I really believe this possibly could be Mary Lands," said Jim Carlin, a Battle Creek private investigator working with the Lands family. "My hope is that if the state police have a dog to verify the findings they will get this case solved."

Several cadaver dogs, brought in by Carlin, patrolled a piece of property near F Drive North and 24-Mile Road in Sheridan Township on Wednesday, and Carlin said the handlers believe they found a possible area in a swamp where a body might be buried.

"The dogs focused on a location," Carlin said Thursday. "This is property that was rented by an acquaintance of Lands' boyfriend."

The boyfriend, Christopher Pratt, told police Lands walked away from their Marshall townhouse after a fight March 12, 2003. He reported her missing a couple days later but, despite several searches in the past 24 months, her body has not been found.

Marshall Public Safety Director Mike Olson has said investigators believe Lands is a victim of foul play, but no arrests have been made.

Family members have complained about the pace of the investigation and Thursday, Carlin said he and Clifford Marshall, Lands' father, met with Olson and Lt. Dale Peet of the Michigan State Police at Battle Creek.

Both Carlin and Peet said the meeting was productive.

Peet said state police expect within a week to bring in their own dog, trained to search for dead bodies, to walk the property.

"We are trying to verify their information with our own," Peet said. "We will bring in a dog and if they have the same reaction then we will go ahead and move forward.

Peet said investigators were on the property a year ago but did not find any indication of a burial site.

"I hope we find her there," Peet said. "It is something that needs to be done for the family and to move the case forward. It is not going to go away."

Trace Christenson covers crime and courts. He can be reached at 966-0685 or

Originally published March 31, 2006

monkalup - April 4, 2006 03:28 PM (GMT)

Mary Lands Search: "We will dig on that site"

Mary Lands

(Calhoun County, April 3, 2006, 8:45 a.m.) The search for missing Marshall woman Mary Lands may continue this week.

A search scheduled for Sunday for Lands was called off because of the chance of severe weather.

Police searched an area in Calhoun County Friday where earlier in the week, cadaver dogs brought in by the family indicated there was a dead body.

Marshall Police say their dog didn't find anything.

Jim Carlin, a private investigator, helping Mary's family in the search says he remains confident there is a body on that site. Carlin tells 24 Hour News 8 eventually his team will dig.

kwatson696 - April 4, 2006 11:58 PM (GMT)

Investigators to dig for Mary Lands' body

Mary Lands

(Calhoun County, April 4, 2006, 4:06 p.m.) Investigators will begin Wednesday digging some land in Calhoun County in hopes of finding the body of a missing woman.

Forty-year-old Mary Lands has been missing since March 12, 2004.

A private investigator hired by Lands' family says cadaver dogs made a positive hit last week near F Drive North and 24 Mile Road, northeast of Marshall.

State Police also combed the area, but said their dog did not get the same reading as the other dogs.

The private investigator, Jim Carlin, searched the land again on Tuesday but did not find any more clues.

Carlin told 24 Hour News 8 investigators will bring heavy machinery to the site Wednesday to start digging through parts of the land. :(

Rubybegonia - April 5, 2006 12:12 AM (GMT)
Is there an official missing persons report with vitals and info?

kwatson696 - April 5, 2006 12:37 AM (GMT)
This is about all I could find..... :unsure:

"Mary Denise Lands has now been missing for over twenty-four months" Why after two years have the police failed to make any arrests in this case?

03/2006 Battle Creek Enquirer-Mary Lands PSA

Help our law enforcement authorities make an arrest! On Friday, March 12, 2004 at approximately 10:00 P.M., Mary Denise (Marshall) Lands, DOB: 09/03/64 disappeared from her home, under unusual circumstances from nearby Marshall, Michigan. We believe that you can help in this mystery. If you have any information please contact the Michigan State Police, Battle Creek Post- 269.968.6115. You may also anonymously contact Silent Observer- 269.964.3888. This is not a typical feature related to safe boating, but is being published on our national web site to further promote public awareness about Mary's disappearance. In September 2004, six months after she was listed as missing, her status was changed to that of a "victim of foul play." The Lands tragedy has devastated families and friends, and deeply impacted our community. Mary Marshall Lands Family Web Site It is hoped that in 2006 new leads will be developed that will enable law enforcement to solve this case. National BADD will maintain updates on the case and will not remove this feature until the whereabouts of Mary Denise Lands is known. Someone out there knows what happened. Please make the call! Marshall Marshall Chronicle story-March 2005 You may also contact Jim Carlin-

Mary Lands Feature & Photograph, Battle Creek Enquirer- January 28, 2006

UPDATE- Mary Denise Lands- Join our community team to promote public awareness about the disappearance of Mary Denise Lands. We are giving away white caps that display an image of Mary Lands with the words, Where is Mary? There is no cost for them, however friends and supporters are urged to make a donation to the reward fund. By wearing a cap you will signify your support in helping to solve this mystery and building the reward fund that eventually might provide needed answers for the police and the family. Wear the cap, and each and every day ask the question, to as many people as possible, Where is Mary? Talk to your friends and neighbors about Mary's disappearance, and contact law enforcement authorities if you have any information on the case. Remember, someone can provide a vital piece of the puzzle that will solve this investigation. Something trivial and unrelated to you might be the answer to this mystery. For more information contact Jim Carlin at 269.963.7068 or email Photo-Mary Lands Cap


kwatson696 - April 5, 2006 12:39 AM (GMT)
Here we go....... :wacko:

user posted image

DOB: 1964-09-03

Date Missing: 2004-03-12

From: Marshall, MI

Age ATD: 39

Gender: female

Race: Caucasian


Identifying Characteristics:



Circumstances of Disappearance: Mary and her fiancee were at home visiting with a friend. After the friend left, Mary and her fiancee had a disagreement. Mary left on foot, taking only her jacket and purse. She has not been seen since.

Investigative Agency: Marshall City Police Dept.

Phone: (269) 781-2884

Case #:

ceestar92 - April 5, 2006 12:55 AM (GMT)
Family of missing woman continues search near Marshall

user posted imageApril 4, 2006 - 12:11PM
NEAR MARSHALL (NEWS 3) - Family and friends of Mary Lands are in Sheridan Township near Marshall today looking for the body of the woman who has been missing for two years.

Police dogs were brought in last Friday to search a wooded area in the township. Police also brought in helicopters to search from the sky.

Earlier in the week, a private detective brought in dogs to search the site and said they identified what appeared to be traces of human remains in the area. Police say they found no trace of Lands' body.

The 39-year-old Lands disappeared from her apartment complex in Marshall two years ago.

monkalup - April 5, 2006 09:12 PM (GMT)

Investigators to dig for Mary Lands' body

Mary Lands

(Calhoun County, April 4, 2006, 4:06 p.m.) Investigators will begin Wednesday digging some land in Calhoun County in hopes of finding the body of a missing woman.

Forty-year-old Mary Lands has been missing since March 12, 2004.

A private investigator hired by Lands' family says cadaver dogs made a positive hit last week near F Drive North and 24 Mile Road, northeast of Marshall.

State Police also combed the area, but said their dog did not get the same reading as the other dogs.

The private investigator, Jim Carlin, searched the land again on Tuesday but did not find any more clues.

Carlin told 24 Hour News 8 investigators will bring heavy machinery to the site Wednesday to start digging through parts of the land.

monkalup - April 5, 2006 09:13 PM (GMT)

Controversy brews during search for Mary Lands

By Marc Thompson

(Marshall, April 4, 2006, 11:00 p.m.) The father of Mary Lands tells 24 Hour News 8 that he no longer has faith the Marshall Police Department will ever find his daughter.

"The family no longer believes they can handle the case," says Clifford Marshall. He claims the department has made little progress since Mary was last seen in March of 2004 and has failed to keep him informed.

We asked Marshall if he actually thought police were not trying to solve this case. "I think they're not trying to solve the case. That's what I think. This case should have been solved a long time ago, if they would have kept the FBI and the state police task force in it."

The family is now placing all of its trust in private investigator Jim Carlin. Carlin, a former police officer, has been working the case on and off for several months for no charge and is also at odds with Marshall police.

The latest dispute arose after an independent cadaver dog team Carlin brought in from Indiana indicated there were human remains at one acre piece of land off F Drive in Sheridan Township. Carlin says the land should be searched more thoroughly. Police disagree.

We spoke with Marshall Police Chief Mike Olson several times this past week, and he makes his position clear. He says the Lands case is open and active. He adds that the department has spent more than 1,000 man hours investigating and continues to conduct interviews and to exhaust all resources.

Police say they searched the area in question last year and found nothing before searching it again last Friday with a state police cadaver dog. He says the site is no longer a place of interest.

Police say Carlin is not helping their investigation. "I have said all along that I am not in this case to hinder the police investigation. I have twice now, in December of 2004 and in January of this year, been threatened with jail time for hindering and obstructing. And where they get this from, I don't know," says Carlin.

Marshall police want to make it clear that they understand what the family is going through but say their evidence has to meet a higher standard than that of a private investigator, a standard that will hold up in court. They also say Carlin has no knowledge of the exact details of the investigation

monkalup - April 6, 2006 06:35 PM (GMT)

Search steps up for Mary Lands
Trace Christenson
The Enquirer

MARSHALL — Searchers will return today with heavy equipment as they look for a Marshall woman, missing for two years.

Jim Carlin, a Battle Creek private investigator, said Tuesday he expects volunteer searchers will return today and use cadaver dogs and a backhoe to search for the body of Mary Lands.

Lands, 39, has been missing since March 2004 after her boyfriend, Christopher Pratt, told police he last saw her after they had an argument and she walked away from the townhouse they shared.

Marshall police have said she was a victim of foul play, and the family concedes she is dead. But her body has not been found, despite several searches.

Carlin, who is working for Lands' parents, Clifford and Anita Marshall, said he has developed leads suggesting that Lands is buried on property near 24-Mile Road and F Drive North in Sheridan Township.

The family brought in dogs last week from a private Indiana company. The dogs are trained to find dead bodies, and Carlin and the family said the animals were interested in an area near a swamp.

Investigators have said they searched the property a year ago, but on Friday, Michigan State Police used a search dog and flew a helicopter equipped with an infrared device that could show the location of a body. First Lt. Dale Peet, commander of the state police's Battle Creek post, said police found no signs of a body and don't believe Lands is buried on the property.

But Carlin, Clifford Marshall and a handful of volunteers returned to the property Tuesday to continue the search.

"My confidence relies on the dogs from Indiana," Carlin said. "And it was multiple tips that she might be buried there."

Carlin said a former owner of the property apparently had some connection with Pratt, the last known person to see Lands alive.

Carlin and the others used shovels and rakes to check the area Tuesday and also moved a large trash pile, searching for clues.

He said the backhoe and search dogs are expected to return today.

If searchers find anything that suggests Lands is buried on the property, Carlin said their work will stop and police will be called.

If they do not find anything, Carlin said the search will continue.

"But there was no way to walk away last Friday because of the hit that the dogs (from Indiana) had," he said.

As he watched searchers, Clifford Marshall said family members are frustrated with the pace of the investigation and just want to find Lands.

"It is a shame that the family has to do all the work," he said. "Our intent is to find our daughter and put her to rest so we can go visit our baby.

"We won't quit until we find her."

Trace Christenson covers crime and courts. He can be reached at 966-0685 or

Originally published April 5, 2006

oldies4mari2004 - April 8, 2006 07:41 PM (GMT)
Search Begins Anew for Local Missing Woman
April 8, 2006 07:17 AM EST

We have new information about a missing Marshall woman. 6 News has learned that a private investigator will continue the search. Mary Lands first went missing back in March of 2004. The private investigator says he believes Lands may be in a marshy area between Marshall and Albion.

He searched the area nine days ago, but didn't find anything, so he says he's returning again to search between 24 Mile Road and F Drive. The investigator will have search dogs and digging equipment on hand and we'll have the very latest for you on 6 News.

Searcher - April 9, 2006 06:19 PM (GMT)

Search for Local Missing Woman Comes Up Empty Again
April 10, 2006 02:11 AM Search for Local Missing Woman Comes Up Empty Again

A private investigator used cadaver dogs for a second time to help find a missing Marshall woman. Searchers concentrated on an area of 24 Mile Road near F Drive, just north of Interstate 94. No new evidence was found because the ground was too cold, but the investigator is convinced the area holds answers. Mary Lands was reported missing more than two years ago. Just nine days ago, investigators searched a marshy area of Calhoun County. Another search is planned in a few days.

kwatson696 - April 10, 2006 04:59 PM (GMT)
Digging for answers: Where is Mary?

Contact WOOD-TV

(Calhoun County, April 10, 2006, 8:35 a.m.) The search for missing Marshall woman Mary Lands may resume later this week. The Marshall woman disappeared more than two years ago.

Saturday morning, crews dug for about an hour and a half at a piece of property located near 24 Mile Road and F Drive North. It's an area where a team of search dogs got a positive hit on what a private investigator thinks is Mary Lands' remains.

The crews had to stop Saturday because the ground was too wet, and some parts were actually frozen. They plan to go back out in the same area and dig in a few days.

monkalup - May 7, 2006 01:39 AM (GMT)

break in the search for Mary Lands
Updated: May 6, 2006 03:37 PM EDT
Mary Lands

MARSHALL – In the continuing search for Mary Lands, cadaver dogs today found what is suspected to be a human bone in a marshy field in an area private investigators have been digging for the last month.

Jim Carlin, the investigator hired by the Lands family, told 24 Hour News 8 the hit was found this afternoon by dogs brought in from Flint.

The Marshall Police have arrived on the scene.

24 Hour News 8 has a crew on the scene and will bring you more details as they become available.

monkalup - May 8, 2006 10:55 PM (GMT)

Mary Lands' family stands guard over property where bone was found
Updated: May 8, 2006 08:40 AM EDT


CALHOUN COUNTY -- A bone found in Calhoun County's Sheridan Township will be tested Monday by a forensic anthropologist at Michigan State University. Meanwhile, the family of missing Marshall woman Mary Lands guarded the property where the bone was found.

"I just want to help the family find Mary. I want this to be over with," said family friend Mike Vanderweg.

"We need closure. If she's here, we need to bring her home," said Mary Lands' cousin Dean Marshall.

The bone found Saturday appears to be a human bone, according to the family's private investigator. 24 Hour News 8 was the only media outlet on the scene when the find was made and police were called in. Marshall Police bagged it up and sent it for tests. But on Sunday afternoon, the family's biggest question wondered why police aren't on the scene.

"Police show no interest in this, especially the Marshall Police. They came out here yesterday and didn't think that this was any big deal. I take this very serious and they should be out here right now," said Vanderweg.

24 Hour News 8 spoke with Marshall Police Chief Mike Olson Sunday evening. He told us, "We need to know what type of bone was found and gather more information before determining the next steps we should take."

Now the family is doing what they've been doing for the past two years; they're waiting. This time for results of those scientific tests, and they say, no matter the outcome, they're confident that some day Mary will be found.
"Finding that bone yesterday kind of gave us a little bit of hope, but then you can't get your hopes up too much," added Marshall.

Chief Olson told 24 Hour News 8 that he's not sure when police will get results back from MSU. An anthropologist there told says it only takes a few minutes to determine if the bone is human. That same anthropologist also says they can determine if the bone belonged to a male or female and can even tell an approximate age.

Ell - May 9, 2006 01:24 PM (GMT)

Bone Found Not From Local Missing Woman
May 9, 2006, 06:27 AM
A bone found over the weekend during a search of for clues in the disappearance of Mary Lands has now been identified. Cadaver dogs found the bone while searching marshy land off I-94 and 22 1/2 Mile Road in Marshall.

Marshall police say the bone is that of a some sort of animal, possibly a deer. I spoke with an MSU forensic anthropologist who actually helped Marshall police identify that bone. He walked me through how the process works.

Forensic anthropologists have the task of figuring out whether a bone is that of a human or animal, sometimes it can be difficult, but for the most part, it's pretty simple.

Norm Sauer; Director, Forensic Anthropology Lab, MSU: "The human-animal cases are generally the easiest that we do, and typically, we can make an identification in a matter of two to three seconds."

Michigan State University's forensic anthropology lab helped identify a bone found in Marshall over the weekend. Doctor Norm Sauer, the Director of the lab, shows us how experienced anthropologists make their conclusions.

Norm Sauer: "This is a human femur and tibia, or thigh and shin bone, and this is a femur and tibia from a deer. The truth is, even though the same parts are here, their shape and proportions are quite different. This is a muscle attachment. This is nice and round in humans, whereas in a deer, it is much more prominent and results in a crest."

And depending on which bone is found, forensic anthropologists can identify many other characteristics.

Norm Sauer: "Tell the police that the remains belong to a male, who's between 25-35, around 5'6 to 5'10 of European ancestry."

And this work can go a long way in helping authorities who are searching for the answer to who the bone belongs to. Even though the bone turned out to be that of an animal, the Marshall family says they will search the same area again this weekend, because they strongly believe Mary's body is there.

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Ell - May 9, 2006 07:17 PM (GMT)
turns to disappointment for family of missing woman
Scott Noll, News 3 Reporter
May 9, 2006 - 7:43AM
NEAR ALBION (NEWS 3) - Fifty hours after the discovery a bone boosted their hopes, Mary Lands' family is once again searching for clues into the Marshall woman's disappearance.

"It's a step backward, but we're never going to give this up, and if Mary's not here, we're going to find her somewhere," private investigator Jim Carlin said.

Late Monday afternoon, Marshall Police Chief Mike Olsen called Carlin after learning a bone found by searchers on Saturday did not belong to Lands.

"We transported the bone up to Michigan State University where it was examined by, not one, but two forensic anthropologists. They confirmed it was definitely not human, and most likely a deer bone," said Olsen.

That bone was found near a marshy area off F Drive North in Sheridan Township. Carlin and Lands' parents have been scouring the property for more than a month after receiving tips that Lands was buried there.

In March, cadaver searching dogs picked up on what handlers believed was human scent. A second team of dogs was brought in Saturday. "They wanted to go into that water," Carlin said pointing to the swamp where the dogs seemed to be drawn. "That's where all the hits they achieved."

But the police chief points out a Michigan State Police search of the property in March turned up nothing. He says investigators are pursuing other angles in the case.
"[Carlin] has gotten many tips. We got them as well and we exhausted that area before," said Olsen.

But Lands' family is planning to return to the property this weekend. They say they'll search from boat and continue digging near the marsh. Believing, says Carlin, the swampy water is hiding a deadly secret.

"It could be a drug dealer missing that no one knows about or it could be someone who disposed of another person, but there has to be a reason these dogs are coming to this site," Carlin said staring at the water.

monkalup - May 10, 2006 04:28 PM (GMT)

Lands' search: Bone found is not human
Updated: May 10, 2006 08:17 AM EDT

SHERIDAN TOWNSHIP -- A bone found in a marshy parcel of private property on Saturday has been determined not to be human, and is most likely from a small deer.

Marshall Police Chief Mike Olsen confirmed that finding to 24 Hour News 8.

The news was devastating to the family of Mary Lands, the Calhoun County woman who's been missing since 2004. Her parents were too upset to speak with 24 Hour News 8.

Lands' family has been keeping an around-the-clock vigil on a field located near 24 Mile Road and F Drive North in Sheridan Township. Cadaver dogs made a positive hit in the area two months ago, and Saturday cadaver dogs brought in by private investigator Jim Carlin detected the bone.

Though it is not a human bone, the finding has not shaken the family's determination to keep searching.

In early April, crews used a backhoe to dig through the same area, but no clues were uncovered at that time. After the finding Saturday, the bone was taken to Michigan State University for testing. There, a forensic anthropologist said the bone was most likely from a small deer.

"There is something that is decomposing that's causing these dogs to alert," Carlin said. "Is it Mary? We don't know that until it's examined. But there is something there. We just can't walk away."

monkalup - May 28, 2006 03:37 AM (GMT)

Missing woman's family to protest outside of Marshall Police Department

Updated: May 26, 2006 08:02 AM EDT

MARSHALL -- The family of missing Marshall woman Mary Lands will spend the Memorial Day weekend protesting in front of the city's police department.

Earlier this month, a private search team hired by the family used cadaver dogs to search a piece of property in rural Calhoun County. The dogs found a bone which later turned out to be from a small deer.

Starting at noon on Friday, family, friends and supporters are expected to walk for 52 hours in front of the Marshall Police Department to show their displeasure with the way the case has been handled.

Police have conducted searches of their own. They say they are still working the case and are pursing leads.

monkalup - March 13, 2007 03:22 PM (GMT)

Another year, still no answers

Updated: March 12, 2007 08:28 AM EDT

MARSHALL - Three years ago today, Mary Lands left her Marshall apartment and was never seen or heard from again.

The 39-year-old mother of two reportedly left after having a fight with her live-in boyfriend.

Her scent was tracked to a local motel, leading to the possibility she was an adult runaway but her family says that's just not possible.

Over the last year, they have hired crews to search for Mary's remains, but so far nothing has been found.

It's an investigation that's been marred by frustration between the family and the police handling the investigation.

When asked if he thought the police were not trying to solve this case, Clifford Marshall, Mary's father replied, " I think they're not trying to solve the case, that's what I think. This case could have been solved a long time ago if they would have kept the FBI in the case and the State Police Task Force in it."

Family and friends will gather today to honor the three years since Mary Lands was last seen.

They will release 36 balloons, one for every month she has been missing.

That service is at 1 p.m. at Brook's Memorial Fountain Circle in Marshall.

monkalup - March 13, 2007 03:22 PM (GMT)

wv171 - March 15, 2007 08:39 AM (GMT)
'Where is Mary?'

Trace Christenson/The Enquirer
Anita Marshall distributes balloons Monday to people who attended the ceremony in Marshall marking the third year since her daughter disappeared.

Mary Marshall Lands

Trace Christenson/The Enquirer
Clifford and Anita Marshall embrace at the end of the ceremony marking the third year of their daughters disappearance. Lands has been missing since March 12, 2004.

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Trace Christenson, The Battle Creek Enquirer

Created: 3/13/2007 12:54:17 PM
Updated: 3/13/2007 12:56:43 PM

MARSHALL - Yellow balloons floated into the gray sky as tears stained the cheeks of some people who let them go.

The balloons and the tears marked the third anniversary of the disappearance of Mary Marshall Lands.

The 39-year-old woman was last seen March 12, 2004, after her boyfriend, Chris Pratt, said they argued and she walked away from their townhouse.

Lands has not been found and her family presumes she is dead.

"We know she is deceased but we want to keep her memory alive," Lands' mother, Anita Marshall, said Monday.

About 30 people joined Anita Marshall and her husband, Clifford, for a 1 p.m. ceremony at the Brooks Memorial Fountain in Marshall. A few people wore white baseball caps with the words "Where is Mary?" and one friend presented Anita Marshall with a small yellow rose plant.

With tears in her eyes, Anita Marshall told the crowd, "we appreciate every one of you," before they released 36 balloons, one for each month Lands has been missing.

"I don't know why they haven't solved this," Clifford Marshall said after embracing his wife.

The Marshalls and Jim Carlin, a Battle Creek private detective working for the family, have been critical of the investigation for months, complaining that police have ignored them and the information they believe will help solve the case.

But Clifford Marshall said since the first of the year the family is trying to put aside the bitterness and work with police.

"We decided to quit the bickering," Marshall said. "We are all working together."

Marshall said the family is still receiving tips about the possible location of Lands' body and expect to search some areas when the weather improves. He said all tips are turned over to the Marshall Police Department.

Police Chief Mike Olson, who attended the ceremony, said officers from his department and the Michigan State Police continue to work on the case.

"I don't know of a police department in the world which wants an open murder case, and we definitely don't want one," Olson said.

Finding Lands is critical, he said.

"When you don't have a body it makes it so difficult because you don't have a crime scene," he said.

Olson said he doesn't know if the case will be solved.

"I wish I had a crystal ball and could tell you," he said. "But if not, it's not because of a lack of effort."

Posters and billboards remain up around the county, acting as reminders that Mary Lands is still missing. Clifford Marshall said he is hopeful someone will provide information to help solve the case.

"We all felt this is the year," he said.

Trace Christenson covers crime and courts. He can be reached at 966-0685 or

monkalup - April 15, 2007 07:51 AM (GMT)

With the improving Spring weather finally upon us we continue our search for Mary Denise Lands. There has been much more information learned and we have been following up on new tips and interviewing dozens of individuals about the case. Expert handlers and their cadaver dogs will be again searching numerous locations for evidence related to Mary's disappearance and we will raise further public awareness in Marshall, and across America about Mary's tragedy. We would like to express our thanks to the many friends and supporters who have helped us over the last two years. We also would welcome their help again and the support of others. If you would like to assist us in any way, please call- 269.441.7068 or write, Cliff & Anita Marshall, PO Box 63, Marshall, Michigan 49068.

----We also are extending an invitation to Christopher Pratt. He has never been willing to participate in the many searches for his former fiancée, but I would like to ask him to help. Everyone is aware that he is a hunter and claims to know all the rural environs of Calhoun County. Perhaps he can point us in the right direction to bring Mary home? Chris, if you are interested in assisting the family please give me a call. You know where I live and you have my phone number. Put on your camouflage fatigues, your boots, grab your favorite woolie cap, and join us. You don’t seem to work that much anymore, and it would give you something to do in your idle time while Norrene is at her job.

On April 17, 2007 at 9:15 A.M. the Marshall's and I will be at the Federal Court House in Kalamazoo, Michigan to formally object to Chris Pratt’s new fiancée, Norrene Parker placing the debt for taking Mary’s signs on her bankruptcy petition. This is an intentional tort and cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. We will ask the federal court to remove the debt from her petition and advise the Calhoun County District Court so that our lawsuit can go forward. Video documentation was obtained of Norrene Parker taking a "Justice for Mary" sign. As of today, over 18,300 viewers have now seen the Parker You Tube Video- It is not a large amount of money and if Ms. Parker or Mr. Pratt would pay the costs for the loss of the signs, and apologize, the matter would be closed. Although I personally have paid for them on behalf of public awareness in Mary’s cause any recovered monies for Mary’s signs will go into the Mary Lands Trust Fund.

We firmly believe that Mary will be brought home in 2007 and the person/s responsible for her disappearance and murder will be held accountable in a court of law. If Mary Denise Lands had been the relative of a police chief, politician, or prominent official in our community this case would have been solved two years ago. Some have questioned our efforts in the past and to those I can only reply, "What would you do if it was your daughter, wife or loved one who was missing?" You would do exactly what we are doing and never give up! Take a good look at the pictures of this lovely lady and her grieving parents and ask why did this tragedy occur?

Someone must be held accountable. Two years ago I wrote that Marshall, Michigan is a lovely and beautiful place to live and work, but evil things can and do occur in the best of places. Something very evil occurred on March 12, 2004 and that evil lingers to this day. Let us end this evil and bring this investigation to a close. You can help and those answers are out there and known by good people with a conscience. Call us, email, or write if you have any information.
I have been often criticized by law enforcement for not providing the names of people who have provided tips and other information. Many will talk to me, but not to the police. I have never divulged the name of any person if they wished to remain anonymous. In over two years I have interviewed dozens of individuals throughout the country in prisons, county jails, in their homes or at work. I will go anywhere to speak to anyone with information about Mary’s case and if you ask, your name will remain anonymous. Clifford Marshall has often said that many people seem to trust me more than the police. Unfortunately, I have also come to the realization that I have more respect for some individuals in prison than for some police-officers who I know. That probably explains the reluctance of so many people to trust some in law enforcement.
If you have any information, concerning the disappearance and murder of Mary Denise Lands, please contact me-

Mary Denise Lands Tribute Video-

Norrene Parker's You Tube Video- (Removing Mary's signs)- This video has now been seen by over 18,300 viewers-

monkalup - April 15, 2007 07:52 AM (GMT)
March 12, 2007- Anita Marshall, mother of Mary Denise Lands, on the 3rd anniversary of her daughter's disappearance.

This sad date will mark three years,...36 long and arduous months since Mary Denise Lands was last seen as reported by her fiancé, Christopher Luke Pratt. 44 hours later Mr. Pratt called Mary’s family in California and asked if they had heard from her? The family then immediately contacted the Marshall Police Department, but her case was then handled as though she was an adult runaway.

In a recent article written by Shelly Sulser of the Marshall Chronicle for the 3rd anniversary of Mary's case she stated that Marshall Police Chief Mike Olson has said repeatedly that in those early days, police could not necessarily presume foul play because adults are allowed to be missing if they so choose. Six months later Chief Olson announced that Mary was being considered a victim of foul play because no evidence of her existence could be found.

This just shows the inadequacies of the Marshall Police Department (MPD) and their arrogance in not immediately and aggressively investigating Mary’s disappearance.
A few weeks ago Tara Lynn Grant disappeared from a Detroit suburb. Her husband, Stephen Grant suspected of killing and dismembering his wife was captured Sunday as he fled searchers, running through snow in northern Michigan. Stephen Grant had been the subject of a manhunt since police discovered what they believe to be the torso and other body parts of his wife in and around the couple's house in a suburb of Detroit. Grant was arrested in northern Michigan, some 225 miles from his home, after an air and ground search by local, state and federal agencies, according to the Emmet County sheriff's department. In Mary’s case, the Federal Bureau of Investigation immediately began to assist in the investigation and a task force was formed, however within days the FBI was informed by MPD that their services were no longer needed. They would return today if given jurisdiction of the case by Chief Olson, but he refuses to give up primary control of the investigation.
The parents and family of Tara Lynn Grant are indeed fortunate to have law enforcement authorities with a diligent and pro-active perspective of missing persons in their community. This would also include the families of Laci Peterson in California, Lori Hacking in Utah, and so many others. Imagine the status of those cases today if law enforcement had waited six months to commence a viable investigation? An immediate and appropriate police response is required to solve these crimes.

In Mary’s case, a former deputy chief sat with his feet on a desk in a relaxed manner and ridiculed the family in his skepticism that Mary was actually missing. There is much documentation to verify his poor and incompetent demeanor in those first six months. Another issue is why a civilian dog handler was used in the early search, which resulted in a bogus claim that Mary was tracked for miles throughout Marshall and her scent was found on the comforter of a bed in a nearby motel? That statement was the genesis of the story that Mary was an adult runaway and it was totally false and without foundation. No dog or handler ever went into any room at this motel and five days later any scent on such a trail would have been nearly impossible by even the best of certified tracking animals and their handlers. My cat would have been able to track Mary Lands with more accuracy that what was purported by this dubious civilian character who seemed to be sanctioned by the MPD. This felon who was convicted in Eaton County for multiple counts of embezzlement should never have been permitted search duties in Mary's case. How, when, and why she was called to duty by MPD is yet another question? Her report clearly gave a false perception to the entire community that Mary had run away.

In September 2004 Chief Olson announced that Mary was now being considered a victim of foul play, Just a few weeks earlier Mr. Pratt was observed at a flea market in Homer selling Mary’s personal articles. Pictures still in their frames, jewelry, and other personal items. He also had for sale... a brown leather jacket that appeared to be the one she was wearing when she allegedly walked away from their apartment. The jacket was recovered and turned over to MPD, however today they do not even seem concerned with its worth as evidence? After the jacket was recovered he left the flea market quickly leaving the rest of the property at the booth, with a sign, "For Free".

There are also many questions about Mary’s new Dodge Durango. After it was brought back from Lansing and supposedly had been processed for evidence it was stored at Bud's Towing in Marshall. There was no evidence tape, the vehicle was open, and did not even appear to have been processed although we must take the word of MPD on this issue. It was quietly moved after the family inquired about its dubious status as "evidence" and being kept in the open and unsecured tow yard for over two and one half years. Numerous individuals have been in and out of the unlocked vehicle, however again on January 19, 2007 MPD reiterated their claim that the vehicle it is being held as evidence.
You may view photographs and information about of the vehicle in other sections of Mary's blog.

On Mother’s Day 2006, Mr. Pratt conveniently found the birth record certificate and a small wallet sized birth document that he claimed he located in a file of Mary’s. He told the family he wanted to give it to Anita Marshall for Mother’s Day and delivered the papers. What arrogance! A person who has never supported the family in the search for his missing fiancée shows up on Mother's Day to give these papers to the grieving parents. In September, 2004 I asked Mr. Pratt a question about his desire to find Mary's killer and bring her home? I told him that if it were me, I would be camping out in a tent at the Fountain, across the street from the Marshall Police Department, and wouldn't move until they solved the case. His reply was odd, "Why would I bother, they know where I live?" Anyone looking at the document he gave Anita Marshall could conclude from the way it was folded and dog-eared to fit in a wallet that the papers were probably always in Mary’s purse. This would be the same purse that Mr. Pratt claimed she left with in her possession, on the evening of March 12th. Ask any woman who is often checked for identification to buy alcohol and prove their age? This is exactly the way Mary and other women would store this type of document in their wallet. Her family also confirmed these articles as being in Mary's purse.

Mr. Pratt told me in September 2004 that he had Mary’s engagement ring, which she forgot to put back on after they tanned during the evening of March 12th. At 10:00 PM he states she walked away from their apartment after a minor argument attired only in a lightweight medical scrub outfit from work, flat soft cloth office shoes, her favorite leather jacket, and carrying her purse. She left behind her new Dodge Durango and her cell phone. This sounds a bit odd that a person is going to walk in 19-degree weather and snow dressed in this manner?
It is also interesting today that Mr. Pratt claims he is now engaged to his live-in girl friend, Norrene Shawne Parker. I wonder if Mr. Pratt will be giving Mary’s engagement ring to Norrie or will he purchase her a new one? Mary’s was very distinct and its appearance is well known to many and the family. Ms. Parker is the person who was videotaped removing Mary’s signs. As of today, over 18,300 viewers have now seen the Norrene Parker video since it was first published on You Tube just over one month ago.

monkalup - April 15, 2007 07:53 AM (GMT)

Update, April 13, 2007- Chris Pratt is telling friends and relatives that Norrene had to go into the hospital because she lost feeling in her hands and feet. It sure is a strange coincidence that this makes the 3rd woman with whom he has had a relationship to experience this type of unusual medical anomaly. What could it be? Oh, what could it be?

Chris, you don’t seem to be working much anymore, and Norrie is the one employed and with a viable income and taking care of the house. It must be rough on her having to file for bankruptcy and with other things going on?I plan to return to rural areas of Calhoun County and continue the search for Mary as soon as the weather clears next week. We will have more cadaver dogs and since you have all this idle time on your hands I wondered if you could meet with me and help in the search? As an experienced hunter who claims to know every piece of land in Calhoun County you would know where we could look.I hope you will consider my request and I look forward to talking with you again. Give it some thought? You could help bring home your former fiancee.

Jim Carlin

The family and I have not been very successful in following up with criminal and civil sanctions against Ms. Parker, and Mr. Pratt. As Anita Marshall often remarks, "We just never seem to catch a break from the police or the courts in anything having to do with Mary’s case." On February 16, 2007 Ms. Parker filed for bankruptcy and she included my name as a creditor in a lawsuit for our loss of Mary’s signs. She acknowledged our bill for $525.00. Ms. Parker lists in her petition total liabilities of $35,888.36, assets of $21,205.00, and an average monthly income of $3,134,73. It is hard to believe she intends to file bankruptcy for such a small amount especially since Mr. Pratt resides with her and could help in the payments to her creditors. His income and assets are not noted in her petition. Her petition, 07-01070-jdg is a public record. Some good news is that although the Calhoun County District Court halted the civil process because of Ms. Parker's bankruptcy action it cannot be stayed. The magistrate transferred our small claims action to the civil division because the claim is an intentional tort, the theft and destruction of Mary's signs. I will appear in Federal Court in Kalamazoo on April 17, 2007 at Ms. Parker's first meeting of creditors. At that time I will ask the judge to remove our action from her filing since this claim and the damages are "not" dischargeable under the new federal bankruptcy code.

A reasonable person reading about this case might remark that it couldn’t be true, however sadly it is all very accurate. You couldn’t even begin to make up some of the incidents that are real in this three-year odyssey being endured by the Marshall family. Mr. & Mrs. Marshall were read their Miranda Rights by an officer of the Marshall Police Department about a bogus home invasion and burglary alleged by Mr. Pratt. What a joke to expend police resources on such a frivolous claim? Did Mr. Pratt report that Cliff & Anita were even wearing ski masks? Chief Olson later told them "there really was no problem." Could it be that these actions were undertaken to intimidate the family? I frankly question how many people have even been read their rights in the actual investigation of Mary's disappearance? For some time we have been asking the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take this case over from the Marshall Police Department. A Petition on Mary's behalf is circulating in Michigan. You may also support of efforts by signing up online- Thank you for your help.

We have all been down, and we also have all been up with positive news about the case. One thing is clear when you hear talk from "Ole Kentuckian," Clifford Marshall. He often remarks, "we ain’t going nowhere ‘til Mary’s found. Then if we want to go someplace, we’ll leave then."
I’ve donated nearly 6000 hours and if it takes another 6000 to bring Mary home I am fully committed to it, and to helping this good family. We continue to ask help from the public and even today new tips came in that are very very promising, and will be fully investigated. The weather will be improving soon and we are all committed to doing more digging, advertising, protest walks, and conducting various public awareness projects on behalf of Mary. We still hope that Mary's case and the frustrations of the Marshall family will be featured by national media that can help solve this case. America's Most Wanted, 48 Hours, and others are aware of the Mary Denise Lands situation and we have asked for their help. We intend to do what it takes to get the job done!
It is surprising that we get so much assistance from many different people. However, it is only going to take one person to solve this case. I have no doubt that many people do know exactly what happened to Mary Denise Lands and soon we will all know.
Two years ago while doing research on this historic community I wrote that Marshall, Michigan is a lovely and beautiful place to live and work, but evil things can and do occur in the best of places. Something very evil occurred on March 12, 2004 and that evil persists in Marshall to this day.

One great supporter recently published a video tribute to Mary and her family and it may be viewed at
We believe that the person/s responsible for the disappearance and murder of Mary Denise Lands will soon be held accountable in a court of law.

On Monday, March 12, 2007 at 1:00 P.M. at the Brook's Memorial Fountain Circle the family will release 36 yellow balloons, one for each month that Mary has been missing. Please join us and meet Cliff & Anita Marshall and their family.

In the meantime as we wait, we all think about those famous lyrics of the Cops theme song…

Bad boys bad boys,
Watcha gonna do,
whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

oldies4mari2004 - June 17, 2007 03:30 PM (GMT)
Article Mentions Mary Lands

Atlanta doctor confessed to 2 murders; author suspects him of more
By Lateef Mungin

"Too Late to Say Goodbye: A True Story of Murder and Betrayal" is the latest book by true-crime author Ann Rule. It arrived in bookstores June 5.
ATLANTA --Jennifer Corbin and Dolly Hearn might not have been the only victims of double murderer dentist Barton Corbin, according to a new book.

Corbin pleaded guilty last year and is serving double life sentences in the murders of his wife, Jennifer, and Hearn, his college girlfriend. But there were two other female acquaintances of Corbin who were murdered.

And both of those cases remain unsolved.

The story of these two women and other shocking details about the death of Jennifer Corbin and Hearn are revealed in Too Late to Say Goodbye: A True Story of Murder and Betrayal, the latest writing by true-crime author Ann Rule.

The 456-page book hit shelves June 5.

In a phone interview from her Seattle home, Rule spoke about some of the revelations she found in her two years researching the Corbin case.

One of the women whose murder case has gone unsolved was Harriet Gray. She disappeared from her Tucker, Ga., home in September 1996 in what appeared to have been an abduction.

Gray, 56, worked at the same metro Atlanta dental office as Barton Corbin. She went missing about the same time that Corbin married Jennifer Corbin.

Rule wrote in her book that there were rumors that Gray and Barton Corbin might have dated. But investigators never named Corbin as a suspect in Gray's disappearance. Her body was found in her car at the bottom of Lake Tuscaloosa in Alabama, her hands duct-taped to the steering wheel.

The other unsolved case involved Mary Lands, a longtime family friend of Barton and Jennifer Corbin, Rule wrote. Lands was 39 when she disappeared from her Michigan home in 2004.

Lands and her then-husband traveled with the Corbins on a trip to Italy before the Corbins married, Rule wrote in her book. Lands' body has never been discovered, and police have said that she was a victim of foul play, Rule wrote.

Rule said she called authorities in Michigan when she learned about Barton Corbin's connection to Lands. Rule said authorities took information from her but seemed to be focusing on a different person.

"I still have questions in those cases," Rule said. "Corbin was not a suspect in Gray's and Lands' deaths. But how many men know four women that have disappeared and have been murdered?"

For her book, Rule interviewed just about everybody connected to the Corbin case, which received national media coverage. She was scheduled to go to Georgia to attend the murder trial last September. But those plans changed after Barton Corbin pleaded guilty to the 2004 killing of his wife and the 1990 killing of Hearn, his dental-school girlfriend.

Still, Rule flew to Georgia and conducted in-depth interviews with relatives of the victims and detectives in both cases. Family members did not return phone calls for this article.

Rule did not attempt a prison interview, instead painting a portrait of Barton Corbin by interviewing his friends dating back to his middle school days. The book also is filled with photos of a younger Corbin, the investigators in the case and women Corbin dated.

"I was struck by Bart's coldness," said Rule. "Both women were such happy people and had empathy for other people. That was an emotion that Bart did not have."

Rule said she also was amazed with how investigators used advances in technology to tie Corbin to one of the murders.

"Forensic investigation has jumped forward since I've written my last book," Rule said. "I was amazed at how they used cell-phone towers to pinpoint Corbin's location around the time Jenn was murdered."


monkalup - June 30, 2007 03:25 AM (GMT)

Mary Lands' fiancee arrested in domestic violence case

Updated: June 28, 2007 07:35 AM EDT


MARSHALL - A Calhoun County man charged with domestic violence is the same man police in Marshall have called a "person of interest" in the Mary Lands disappearance.

Christopher Pratt was arrested over the weekend in Calhoun County's Fredonia Township on four charges: sexual assault, assault with a dangerous weapon, destroying electric equipment and assault and battery.

He's accused of sexually assaulting his live-in girlfriend between June 10-24, 2007 and throwing a chair at her. During Monday's arraignment, the assistant prosecutor said, "There was ongoing domestic violence and abuse at the house."

The victim said she fears for her life and has changed her locks.

"I'm scared for me and my kids," she said. "I saw the side of him I never saw before and it's not who I fell in love with."

Three years ago, Pratt was engaged to Mary Lands. She disappeared from the home she shared with Pratt and has not been seen since.

Sources close to the case told 24 Hour News 8 Pratt is considered a "person of interest" in her disappearance, but have never called him a suspect.

This is not the first time Pratt has been accused of domestic violence.

In court records reviewed by 24 Hour News 8, Pratt's former wife filed for a personal protection order eight months before the two were divorced. She said Pratt broke her arm, strangled her, and told the court she was afraid and worried about ending up dead.

Pratt denied those allegations, and said his ex-wife never acted afraid.

Shortly after the application for the PPO was filed, a judge granted Pratt and the woman a divorce. Their file gives no indication of domestic abuse, but does show Pratt failed to comply with several court orders involving custody and child support.

At a vigil for Mary Lands two years ago, Pratt told 24 Hour News 8 those who think he's involved in her disappearance are mistaken. When asked if he had nothing to do with her disappearance, Pratt said, "Exactly."

monkalup - June 30, 2007 03:28 AM (GMT)
Christopher Pratt

Ell - July 3, 2007 02:25 PM (GMT)
Missing woman's fiance going to trial in separate case

Updated: July 2, 2007 08:08 PM CDT

BATTLE CREEK -- A West Michigan man accused of assaulting his girlfriend with a deadly weapon will go to trial, but on different charges.

Chris Pratt is the former fiancé of Mary Lands of Marshall who has been missing since March 2004. Sources close to the case tell 24 Hour News 8 Pratt is a person of interest in her disappearance, though authorities have never called him a suspect.

On Monday, prosecutors dropped criminal sexual conduct charges against Pratt involving his current girlfriend, but added charges of unlawful imprisonment, which is a 15-year felony offense. Prosecutors say he attacked the woman last month.

The victim, his girlfriend, took the stand describing an afternoon of verbal, physical and emotional abuse. Pratt's attorney, Tom Schaeffer, said the only reason why his client is here is because of who he is and his past.

"My client has been a target on a missing person from Marshall for some period of time," he said.

Schaeffer argued the only reason his client was in court on domestic abuse and assault with a dangerous weapon charges is because he is a "person of interest" in Lands' disappearance.

Pratt's live-in girlfriend described the events of June 24, the day she said Pratt trapped her inside their home, tackled her in a bear hug and threw chairs at her to keep her cornered.

"He cut my finger where my ring was," she said. "I have bruises on both my ankles and my shins.

Her calls for help to 911 were silenced.

"We have two phones, and the first phone he smashed into like three pieces," she said.

Inside the courtroom, Pratt's ex-wife said this kind of abuse is nothing new.

She presented a letter to 24 Hour News 8, describing the pain she once experienced.

It read, "I have spent many years in therapy trying to overcome the physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I have told many people in the past that I wasn't affected by Chris as much as I am infected with him. Like a deadly virus that you can never heal from."

Back on the stand, the victim said this is not the first time she has been attacked and abused by Pratt - indicating she called police on Memorial Day.

"I've wanted out of this relationship for quite a while now," she said. "And every time I talk about leaving him he advises me that it's not in my best interest to leave."

Pratt's bond was set at a quarter of a million dollars. The bond was bumped down to $25,000.

The next date in court has not yet been set.

monkalup - January 10, 2008 05:51 AM (GMT)

Ex-fiance of missing woman gets prison on separate charges

Posted: Jan 7, 2008 07:02 AM EST

Updated: Jan 7, 2008 06:10 PM EST


CALHOUN COUNTY -- The ex-fiance of a woman missing for over three years will spend between 4 1/2 - 15 years in prison on separate charges.

Christopher Pratt was convicted of Unlawful Imprisonment after he locked up his live-in girlfriend in their home, breaking the phone so she could not call anyone.

When he took the stand in early December, Pratt admitted to having anger problems but said he would not harm his girlfriend.

A jury found him guilty on December 5.

Norrene Parker was the victim of Pratt's outburst. "He's just got a vicious side. He's a Jeckyll and Hyde. And girls out there, if you ever see that side, you've got to walk away."

Pratt is the former fiance of Mary Lands, who went missing in 2004.

Lands' parents said they've seen this behavior before.

"It's the pushing and the shoving and the controlling, the isolation. taken away from all your friends," said Mary Lands' mother, Anita Marshall. "Mary was taken away from all her friends Total isolation."

"If they would have stopped this years ago with his first wife, Mary wouldn't be missing and Norrene wouldn't have gotten beat up like she did," said Lands' father, Clifford Marshall.

Pratt's attorney, Tom Schaeffer, said this charge was blown up. "But for the Mary Lands issue this would have a domestic violence charge, a 93-day misdemeanor and it would have been over months ago. And I told the judge that and I believe that to this day."

Pratt was sentenced to:

56-180 months for unlawful imprisonment
15 - 48 months for assault with a dangerous weapon
15- 48 months inteference with a communication device
His sentences will run concurrently, and he'll be credited with 93 days time served.

monkalup - April 4, 2008 05:58 AM (GMT)

Vigil Held For Mary Lands

March 12, 2008 - 10:24PM

MARSHALL (Newschannel 3) - It was a solemn anniversary in Calhoun County Wednesday, as friends and family held a vigil for a missing woman.

Mary Denise Lands went missing four years ago on March 12. In the years that have marked her disappearance, investigators have found no sign of the woman.

At Wedensday's vigil, Mary's family, friends and well-wishers released 48 blue stars-shaped balloons, instead of the yellow ones they've set free in the past - one for every month that Mary's been missing.

Attached to each balloon was a picture of Mary and contact information in case someone wants to come forward with a tip.

If you know anything about Mary's disappearance, call the Calhoun Co. Sheriff's Department, or Silent Observer.

monkalup - April 4, 2008 06:00 AM (GMT)

Two missing women to be remembered in Marshall
MARSHALL (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Wednesday marks the fourth anniversary of Marshall woman's disappearance.

Mary Lands disappeared from her apartment in March of 2004.

Her friends and family are holding a vigil of hope Wednesday at noon at the Brooks Memorial Fountain in Marshall. Her case remains open.

A group gathered last year at a vigil as well.

This year they'll release balloons. They're attaching a card to them with Mary's picture and contact information in case anyone sees her.

Those who attend the vigil for Mary will also release balloons for another missing Marshall woman, Courtney Cook.

Cook disappeared after leaving her home on January 19th.

If you can help find either woman call the Marshall Police Department.

monkalup - April 4, 2008 06:01 AM (GMT)
From Mary's website:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"Mary's 4th Anniversary Vigil, a powerful presence to bring Mary home"

March 12, 2008- Mary's Vigil- YouTube, 03/12/08

Words cannot begin to express the appreciation to our friends and supporters who attended the Noon vigil at the Brooks Memorial Fountain in Marshall on behalf of Mary. This was the best response we have ever had in 4 years and what also made it special was the presence of professional members of the law enforcement community. Thank you to Steve Harrington for his presentation, and Deacon Bernie Mileski of St. Philip Catholic Church in Battle Creek for the prayers. Cliff, Anita and family were deeply pleased and comforted by your comments.

Our sincere thanks to Prosecuting Attorney, John Hallacy, Chief Assistant Prosecutor, Dan Buscher, Sheriff Al Byam, Acting Chief Scott McDonald of the Marshall Police Department, and Lt. Dale Peet and other members of the Michigan State Police. I also invited former chief Mike Olson to attend and he did so.Thank you so much to you all.

It is because of our unified effort today, we know that we soon will bring Mary home.

monkalup - April 4, 2008 06:01 AM (GMT)
Today, Wednesday, March 12, 2008, at Noon
Mary's Vigil-WWMT-TV- 03/12/08
Mary's Vigil-WOOD-TV8- 03/12/08

we marked the 4-year anniversary of the disappearance of Mary Denise Lands.

Although we are much closer than ever before in solving the case and bringing Mary home, family and friends still need to come together on this day to continue public awareness for Mary. Please join us!

We believe the winter weather will improve enough for a short event to be held commencing at Noon at the Brooks Memorial Fountain in Marshall. Anita Marshall once remarked, "each year it seems as if Mary is up in heaven pushing away storm clouds and adverse weather for a few minutes to provide us a light from above during our vigils". It appears that today we'll have milder temperatures, the sun will be bright, and Mary will be smiling down upon us all.

This year we plan to do something different. Instead of the yellow balloons that have been sent aloft in the past we plan to release 48 bright blue "star " balloons (Provided by Lakeside Florist in Battle Creek- Lakeside Florist ), one star for each month that Mary has been missing. Anita & Cliff will release one "gold" balloon on behalf of another missing Marshall woman, Courtney Cook. She disappeared after leaving her home on January 19th. Our entire community prays that Courtney will be found safe and return home. All the balloons will carry a small laminated card bearing Mary's picture, and contact numbers for the Michigan State Police and others.

Sgt. Scott McDonald, Acting Chief, will represent the Marshall Police Department, and other law enforcement officials have been asked to attend and say a few words. A representative from St. Philip Catholic Church will offer a prayer. We now all know that Mary was a victim of domestic violence. The Calhoun County Prosecutor’s Office has provided an Information Guide from the Domestic Violence Council and we will distribute pamphlets to the public. It is a great resource tool about keeping you informed on the dynamics of Domestic Violence.

Earlier in the week I again met with Michigan State Police investigators and was assured that Mary’s case is being actively and aggressively worked by team members each week. We’ve had good turnouts in the past, but this year lets have as many supporters as possible join us for 15 minutes at the Circle Fountain in Marshall. Let us show how many in our community have cared about Mary’s case for these last 48 months as we continue to ask the questions, Where is Mary? and When will we have justice for Mary? We need every one of you to participate. Thank you for your support. We will bring Mary home

monkalup - April 4, 2008 06:02 AM (GMT)

Body of A Woman Found In Marshall

March 30, 2008 - 11:54AM

MARSHALL (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A body of a woman found in Calhoun County Saturday.

A kayaker made the discovery on the waters of Rice Creek in Marshall. The creek is located near the Calhoun County Fairgrounds. As of now Marshall police will only say the body is that of a white female.

But the creek where that body turned up Saturday afternoon is close to where Courtney Cook was last seen. It's just a quarter mile away.

"I seen some police cars up in there and kind of got wondering what they were doing," said witness, Creighton Burrows.

It was the sight of law enforcement close to where he grew up that got his attention. A walk through the woods near Rice Creek then confirmed his curiosity.

"They had found something floating in the creek and it wasn't a deer, it was something else," said Burrows.

That something else was a human body. Marshall police say it was that of a white female. A kayaker first spotted her lodged in tree branches about 3:30p.m. Saturday afternoon.

"As he was coming back upstream, he saw something suspicious," said Det. Sgt. Scott McDonald of the Marshall Police Department.

Marshall police aren't speculating if the body is that of Courtney Cook, last seen a quarter mile from this water more than two months ago. But the terrain was remote enough to require dive crews to get the body.

Watching the recovery from nearby, Burrows says he couldn't identify much about her either.

"You really couldn't see any clothing, what was sticking out of the water there looked like a rock sticking out the water, it was kind of real dark-colored," said Burrows.

But it wasn't a rock and it wasn't the Trout that Burrows remembered fishing from here as a kid.

"I think it had been there for a while," said Burrows.

Marshall police are also still investigating the disappearance of Mary Lands more than four years ago. We talked with a private investigator involved with that case. He does not believe the body found Saturday in Rice Creek is that of Mary Lands.

Dianne - June 9, 2008 11:11 PM (GMT),1607,7-123-1...96405--,00.html

Missing from: Marshall, Michigan
Birth date: September 3, 1964
Weight: 160 lbs
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown
Identifying characteristics: Pierced ears, pierced navel, brown birthmark on buttock.

On March 12, 2004, Mary was last seen at approximately 10:30 p.m. walking away from her residence in the vicinity of the 1200 block of Arms St. in Marshall, Michigan. She was wearing hospital scrubs (blue scrub pants with "Sponge Bob" print scrub shirt), slip-on athletic shoes with no heel back, and a brown leather jacket.

If you have any information regarding this case, please contact the Marshall Police Department at 269-781-2596.

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