Detroit police have confirmed that the suspect who was sought in the case of a missing 4-year-old girl from Ann Arbor had walked into a police station and surrendered himself to authorities this morning. The development comes even as investigators continue to try and establish if the bodies of a woman and child that were discovered in a house fire could potentially be the little girl and her mother.
The Amber Alert for 4-year-old Savannah Walker, was issued by Michigan State Police at approximately at 1 a.m. Saturday morning and identified 33-year-old Marcus Tyrone Hightower, as the suspect in the case. Little Savanah was described as a white female with blonde hair and blue eyes and, despite the fact that Hightower turned himself in to the 9th precinct today, the fate of the child is still unknown.
Detroit Police chief James Craig had announced later on the very same Saturday that the amber alert was issued that there were two bodies discovered in a torched and abandoned house in Detroit that could possibly be tied to the case. According to the Detroit Free Press, Savannah’s mother, Heidi Walker, 38, also went missing during the same time period and as the bodies found in the burned building are of a woman and female child the remains will be thoroughly examined in order to identify them. James Craig stated that while the police continue to investigate, the Amber Alert for the little girl will remain active.
“Preliminarily, we believe it could be the missing mother and daughter, but we haven’t confirmed that.”
Heidi Walker had been dating the suspect, Marcus Hightower, for a little less than a year before she went missing. The man is said to be a parolee with quite a violent past. Both mother and daughter were officially reported missing as of last Tuesday when Walker’s older daughter alerted the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department. Though that office did some preliminary investigations into the missing case they ultimately advised Walker’s daughter, who lives in Howell, Detroit, on Friday to call the state police as their jurisdiction did not cover the case. A little after midnight on Saturday morning, the Amber Alert for Savannah was issued. Craig has expressed concern that more was not done early on for the family.
“I don’t want to be overly critical because it’s still early in the investigation. Certainly there were indications early on that something more should have been done. It was not done. There was some information that that agency had early on that could have been worked through this agency — Detroit police — and MSP.”
It was about 5 a.m. on Saturday that the Detroit firefighters responding to a house fire at an abandoned home in Lakeview found two bodies on the lower level. The Chief advised that the two people were possibly originally on the the upper level but crashed through as the floor collapsed during the fire. It is unclear exactly what the cause of death for those two females was but the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office is scheduled to perform an autopsy on the pair Sunday. The fire itself is being considered suspicious and believed to have been intentionally set, arson, in order to cover up another crime.
CBS Detroit wrote that one of the reasons the two cases is being linked is that Walker’s daughter initially reported her mother and sister missing by stating that a third party had informed her that her mother was on a bed in Detroit beside her sister, dead.
Marcus Hightower was paroled on September 9, 2014, for assault with intent to commit murder and also has previous convictions for carrying concealed weapons, fleeing a police officer and second degree child abuse among others.
The investigation into the missing little girl and her mother remains ongoing.
[Photo by The Michigan Department of Corrections]