BAY COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - A Mid-Michigan family is taking comfort in hearing that an arrest warrant has been issued for a suspect accused of killing a Bay County mother two and a half years ago.
Heidi Dowd's body was found behind a building in a rural part of Bay County in August 2020. More than two years later, an open murder warrant has been authorized for a woman.
The woman is in custody in Arizona, where she is serving a prison sentence for crimes there. She is scheduled to be released when she passes an eighth-grade literacy test.
The Arizona Department of Corrections says her earliest release date will be March 12 if she does not pass the test.
"It's nothing I thought I would ever deal with in my entire life. It's like a scene out of a movie," said Teagan May Hensley of Prescott, who is Dowd's sister-in-law.
The body of Dowd, a West Branch mother of five, was found behind a building in Mount Forest Township near Pinconning on Aug. 17, 2020. Investigators say the 36-year-old woman was shot and her body was burned.
"Somebody is going to pay for this crime. It was horrific," Hensley said.
The suspect named in an arrest warrant has a Bay City address. The Bay County Prosecutor's Office authorized four criminal counts, including open murder, against he woman.
ABC12 is not identifying the woman because she had not been arraigned by Wednesday evening. The complaint lists several aliases for the woman, who is actually in an Arizona prison under a different name.
Once released from her Arizona prison sentence, the woman will remain in custody on a Michigan Department of Corrections order related to a weapons and drug conviction in Otsego County.
Teagan said her family deserves some closure.
"There is some sort of light here because honestly I thought this was a cold case, to be honest, I thought nothing would ever happen," she said.
The Bay County Sheriff's Office did not want to comment on the investigation on Wednesday.