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13-year-old stabbed to death near Mount Pleasant remembered as ‘bold and bright ‘girl

While Isaiah “Zeke” Gardenhire remains in jail for a dozen crimes, people are remembering a young life taken too soon
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 11:17 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (WJRT) - An Isabella County family should be planning a birthday for their 13-year-old daughter.

Instead, they’re left making arrangements for her funeral.

Adrie Dembowske was stabbed to death over the weekend. Her accused killer called ABC12 News to turn himself into police after two days on the run.

Dembowske’s obituary describes the 13-year-old as “happy-go-lucky” and “sweet,” “fun-loving,” and “imaginative.” She was a student council member with dreams of becoming a lawyer someday.

“Bold, bright, feminist, stood for women’s rights, equal rights for people in general. Had a great adventurous personality about her, and she was like that pretty much from the day she was born,” Staci Bailey said.

She was born was June 28, 2007, and died on June 6, 2021, after police say she was stabbed to death by her mother’s boyfriend near at a residence on Isabella Road in Union Township near Mount Pleasant.

Investigators say 40-year-old, Isaiah “Zeke” Gardenhire went on a 45-hour crime spree, which also including holding hostages, carjacking, robbing people and sexual assault. While he is held in jail on a $3 million bond, those who cared about Dembowske are left to reflect on her legacy.

“After having spent the last couple days with family, I think that she would want you more than anything to be yourself -- to identify with yourself. Not with what the world wants you to be, but who you want to be,” Bailey said.

She said her children went to school with the victim’s mother, Tiffany, and she viewed Adrie like her niece. She’s part of a community effort, raising money to cover funeral costs and living expenses due to the ongoing investigation.

Bailey is planning a carnival celebration fundraiser on June 28, which is the day Dembowske would have turned 14 years old.

“Something fun. Something that represented Adrie and her personality, and it’s just going to a way for us to be able to celebrate her birthday, and a way for the community to get involved,” Bailey said.

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