DETROIT — Horrified family members of a woman missing since late May say they discovered her dismembered body in an abandoned home on Detroit's west side.
Police at the scene Monday confirmed a body was found wrapped up in several blankets, and the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office later confirmed the body to be Alicia Fox, 27. She had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, including two to the head, said Mary Mazur, medical examiner's spokeswoman.
Michael Fields said he found the body while searching for his niece, last seen in late May along with her son Erin Justice, 6 months, and daughter Kaylah Hunter, 6. The children are still missing, and their fathers do not have them, police said.
Fox's sister, Christene Doughty of Southfield, Mich., said the family knew they had found Fox because she was wearing custom clothing an uncle had made.
Fields said he and other family members have been looking for Fox for the past two weeks and while passing out fliers, they received an anonymous tip that Fox might have been in the area. So Fields and his family began searching and went into a boarded-up home on Penrod Street.
He said he smelled a foul odor and followed the smell into the basement, where he saw a door laying on top of bulging blankets. Fields pulled back the blankets and said realized it was his niece.
"From the gruesomeness of the crime scene, it must have taken someone with a whole lot of heart to do what they did to her," Fields said while sobbing. "When I saw that, I knew I was looking at a crime scene. She was right there. She was right there under a rotten door."
As Fields peeled back the blankets, he said he saw that the body's legs were cut off at the knees. Mazur later said the body was not dismembered but was severely decomposed.
Fields said his family immediately began to search for the two children but could not find them in the house.
"Now that's our concern," he said.
Doughty said she last saw Fox at a family barbecue May 24 on Detroit's east side. Fox seemed OK.
"I didn't think there was anything out of the ordinary," she said.
Fox's neighbor, DaJuan James, 32, said the family appeared to be moving away from their home using a U-Haul truck on May 27 or 28, Memorial Day weekend, about 7 miles from where Fox's body was found. James said they had lived in the home for about a year.
Neighbors on the street where the body was found reported seeing a U-Haul truck beside the vacant house.
Kaylah's father told police he last spoke with Fox via text June 3, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said. The man reported his daughter, Fox and the baby missing Friday.
The discovery of Fox's body came just hours after Detroit Police had issued what they called a serious missing-persons alert for Fox and her two children.
By late Monday, at least 20 relatives of Alicia Fox had gathered, sobbing, at the crime scene, a boarded-up two-story home with an overgrown yard. Detectives interviewed neighbors of the abandoned home.
"My niece, she's gone on home to God now," Fields said. "We have to take it day by day. We have to stay together. This is a sad day that we have to go through. We're praying for the safe return of the children. It takes someone really messed up on the inside to do this."
Contributing: Robert Allen, Elisha Anderson and Katrease Stafford, Detroit Free Press