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Missing Detroit woman found dead, family says

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Detroit police are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found on the east side of the city this week.

The remains were found in a garage on the 5500 block of Drexel at around 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, said Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood, a spokeswoman for the Detroit Police Department.

The death is being investigated as murder, police said. No further details were released on Wednesday and no suspect was arrested related to the case, Kirkwood said.

The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office should identify the victim and determine the cause of death, she said. Representatives could not be reached immediately Wednesday evening to confirm the results of the autopsy.

Relatives believe the body is that of 20-year-old Brandy Nelson, who went missing last month and lived on the same street.

Nelson was last seen after leaving home around 5 p.m. on February 17, police said in a statement on Saturday. Relatives could not contact her.

A cousin, Carla Hardwick, said the family filed a missing persons report on February 20, and again a week later after investigators took no action.

A search party, which Hardwick helped organize, found the body, she said.

“I was speechless,” she told The News on Wednesday. “I wanted it to be a good result.”

Hardwick said Nelson, a mother of a 6-month-old girl, lived in a house on Drexel with two other people but didn’t want to be there anymore. “She wanted help getting out of there and help never came,” she said.

Loved ones held a candlelight vigil Wednesday night to honor Nelson, who was known for his bright smile and adoration of their daughter and mother, Hardwick said. “These two were her lifeline.”

While questions on the case remain open, Hardwick remains confident that a suspect will be found. “It would mean everything to us,” she said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Detroit Police Department Homicide at (313) 596-2260. Crime Stoppers of Michigan also accepts anonymous tips at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

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Dusty Kennedy