Since their daughter's disappearance in December, Ann and Richard Stislicki have worked to bring their daughter home, to no avail.
Their latest attempt to keep the case of missing 28-year-old Danielle Stislicki of Farmington Hills in the forefront — with hopes of shaking loose some piece of information that will lead them to their goal — came a few weeks ago, when the Fowlerville couple agreed to take a short, but incredibly painful, trip down memory lane.
Stislicki family members were among several principals in the puzzling case to sit down to talk with representatives from the syndicated crime show "Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen" to go over the case in an effort to keep people talking about it.
It wasn't easy.
"It takes you back to the actual day and the call," Ann Stislicki said. "Having to go through that again and talk about that long drive from Fowlerville to Farmington Hills ... that was hard."
Danielle Stislicki disappeared Dec. 2, 2016, from the MetLife office where she worked in Southfield. She had been scheduled to meet a friend that evening, but didn't show. The next day, her car was discovered in the parking lot at Stislicki's Farmington Hills apartment complex. She hasn't been seen since.
The story originally drew the attention of Hansen during the show's second season. A Michigan native, Hansen keeps up with stories that are resonating here and the case of Stislicki caught his attention.
The show teamed with its Detroit affiliate, WXYZ, to report on the story during season two. This new report, put together in the last couple of months, airs at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29.
"We have continued following it because we knew there was more to the story that people needed to know," "Crime Watch Daily" producer Scott Eldridge said. "We are hoping our coverage will bring more attention and answers as authorities work to bring justice and closure for Danielle's family."
The national media attention is nothing new to the Farmington Hills Police Department, which has been investigating the case from its inception. Farmington Hills Police Chief Charles Nebus said the case drew national media attention "from day one," with much of the focus on details police "couldn't release without jeopardizing our investigation."
The media attention waned — a little — until earlier this summer, when a 30-year-old Berkley man, Floyd Galloway, was arrested in connection with an attempted sexual assault in Hines Park in Livonia in September 2016.
Police in Livonia and Farmington Hills compared notes — they've never released specifics — and, as a result, Galloway was labeled a "person of interest" in Stislicki's disappearance. It's important to note Galloway, whose house was searched by Farmington Hills Police back in December, has not been charged with anything in the Stislicki case.
"We were executing daily search warrants and were doing 24-hour surveillances that could not be compromised," Nebus said. "Most national media backed off on coverage as a result. 'Crime Watch' reached out at a time more details of the case had been made public and they placed focus on reporting about Danielle's life and the Stislicki family."
Livonia Police Chief Curtis Caid said he hesitated at first about taking part in the show, fearing the exposure might taint his case against Galloway. But the potential good the show could do the Stislicki case won him over.
"The biggest reason I thought it was important to participate was the open Stislicki case," Caid said. "It was a complicated decision. I did think participating in the show might motivate someone to come forward with information about Danielle."
Front and center
The Stislicki family has been persistent in its efforts to keep Danielle's name out there in the hopes that she'd be brought home. Friends, family and strangers are helping in the efforts, which have included a wristband campaign, painting Danielle's name in car windows, leaflets and other efforts.
It hasn't always worked — "Someone approached my mother in a parking lot and wondered who Danielle was," Ann said — but not for a lack of effort.
"There have been plenty of people who've done our wear-and-shares, they've put her name in their car windows, people are putting flyers out," Ann Stislicki said. "Spreading awareness of (Danielle) missing, and others who are missing, is still at the top of our list."
The compelling story, and its attraction even to total strangers, is part of what attracted "Crime Watch Daily" to the story.
"'Crime Watch Daily' strives to be the crime show of record for the country, a voice for victims and a forum that families can use to help bring justice," producer Jeremy Spiegel said. "Danielle's tragic disappearance is a story that resonates with thousands across the nation and we are honored that her family is trusting us to share their story."
The family's strength in participating helped convince Nebus, who has marveled at the family's resilience throughout, the department should help with the show.
Department officials communicate with the Stislicki family on nearly a daily basis, Nebus pointed out, and try and follow their leads when the time is right to talk to the media.
"They have been an amazing family to work with," Nebus said. "They have a keen sense of when media is digging too deep and they know when to back off and what might jeopardize the case. 'Crime Watch' personnel gained the trust of the Stisliciki family who wanted to do the story and we followed along."
The Stislickis were willing to talk to "Crime Watch Daily" because they know the story isn't finished. They know police are doing everything they can, there's a "person of interest" in custody and the investigation is ongoing.
But Danielle isn't home — "Our utmost responsibility as parents is to get Danielle home," Ann Stislicki said — and there's more story to tell.
"We don't have all of our story, because our case hasn't gone to court," Ann Stislicki said. "It's important for us to keep her name out in the public. (The show) was difficult, but it was something we needed to do and continue to do, until we have some sort of resolution."
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