Anita Marshall has waited nine years to learn something about the disappearance of her daughter, Mary Lands. / Trace Christenson/The Enquirer
MARSHALL, Mich. (Battle Creek Enquirer) -- After nine years, Anita Marshall still cries for her missing daughter and Clifford Marshall wants a place to remember her.
"I wish someone would come forward and tell us where she is," Clifford Marshall said Tuesday. "We want to get it resolved and done with and help us go to a place and grieve."
The couple were among about 25 people who attended a vigil at Brooks Memorial Fountain in Marshall marking the ninth year since Mary Marshall Lands disappeared. She is presumed to be a homicide victim.
"It was 10 p.m. on March 12, 2004 and it was a similar day," said Jim Carlin, a private investigator working with the family of the missing woman. "It was 19 degrees with some snow cover and today it is 30. She had on light clothing and her fiance said she had gone for a walk."
Carlin said it was 44 hours later when the boyfriend, Chris Pratt, called Mary Lands' parents in California asking if they had seen her and beginning a nine-year search for her remains and evidence about what happened.
Pratt is serving a prison sentence for assaulting a woman he began dating after Lands disappeared. Carlin and Clifford Marshall said they believe he is responsible or at least knows what happened to Lands.
Family, friends and several law enforcement officers renewed their pleas Tuesday for information about the woman's disappearance.
She would have been 49 years old this year on Sept. 3. Clifford Marshalll said for the last nine years he has missed having her with them.
"She was always here and cooked for Christmas and Thanksgiving," he said.
Carlin told the group the case can be solved.
"People know where she can be found," he said. "I believe that. There is no reason we can't bring her home."
Carlin said investigators learned after her disappearance that she was a victim of domestic violence and Jennifer Fopma, director of S.A.F.E. Place, a Battle Creek shelter for battered women, said the risk of being killed rises by 75 percent when a woman tries to leave an abusive relationship.
Organizers said the vigil was about Lands and other victims of domestic violence and and encouraged everyone to combat the problem.
Fopma said one in three women in the United States is a victim. "This is a tragic situation and it would be a tragedy to leave here and do nothing."
Detective Lt. Scott McDonald of the Marshall Police Department thanked the community for support in the case and encouraged anyone with information to contact police or Silent Observer at 781-9700.
Emmett Township Chief Mike Olson, who was Marshall Police Chief at the time of Lands' disappearance, said his thoughts remain with the family and with Mary Lands and that he believes the case will be solved.
"This is one that we are going to catch that break," Olson said.