Witness in Mid-Michigan missing persons case dies

Published: Sep. 14, 2016 at 4:23 PM EDT
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(09/14/16) - There is new development in a Mid-Michigan missing persons case that dates back more than five years.

Eric Franks was last seen in the Bridgeport area in March of 2011.

The last person known to have seen Franks has now died, which could make it difficult to solve this murder mystery.

Eric Franks would turn 44 this Sunday, but police believe he was murdered. He vanished in 2011, last seen at Miller's Motel in Bridgeport.

His car hasn't been found.

Franks was from Ohio, moved to the Bridgeport area in 2010, and knew few people in Mid-Michigan.

“A lot of the people that are involved, they moved to Florida, which makes it difficult for our investigation as well,” said Hilary House, of the Michigan State Police.

One of the those people who moved to Florida was Kendra Firmingham, who died late last month of cancer.

“Firmingham was the last person to see Eric Franks alive. She said she saw him leave Miller's Motel in one direction and she went the other. That was the last that anyone had ever seen him,” House said.

The motel owner who befriended Franks told police that Firmingham moved Franks' belongings out of the motel and Franks was not with her. Police believe Firmingham, Franks and Firmingham's husband were involved in a love triangle.

Franks and Kendra Firmingham had a daughter together.

Terry Ewing knew Kendra Firmingham, but didn't know Franks and was not aware that he was missing.

“She would light up the entire place,” Ewing said. “Never heard about this person, didn't know anything about him.”

House believes someone knows what happened to Eric Franks. The latest in a long line of investigators who has worked this case, she's still looking for anyone who can give the family closure.

“I'm hoping that maybe someone will come forward that didn't in the past, hopefully they will feel more comfortable in that they can talk more openly and provide us some insight on where he is or information that maybe we can get some closure for the family,” she said.

ABC12 News made an attempt to get in touch with Kendra Firmingham's husband in Florida, but was not able to reach him.