“Light Up The Night,” a vigil for Brittany Wallace Shank of Sturgis, took place Nov. 30 at Free Church Park in Sturgis.
It marked the fifth anniversary of the disappearance of Shank. She went missing in 2018 in the 33000 Block of Fawn River Road in Sturgis.
More than 50 people attended the vigil, organizers estimated.
In attendance, along with family, friends and supporters were St. Joseph County Undersheriff Jason Bingaman, former St. Joseph County detective Chad Spence and state Rep. Steve Cara.
Brittany’s brother, Victor, and stepsister, Autumn, had given several interviews to various media that had aired that day prior to the event.
Brittany’s father, Greg Wallace, provided a song for organizers, “Dancing in the Sky” by Dani and Lizzy that reminds him of Brittany each time he hears it.
“Tears were shed by many and as we looked to the sky, there was one lone star shining in the sky above the event,” one organizer said. “We like to think it was a sign Brittany was with us.”
Speakers at the vigil included Shelby Rains, who read a statement from Hide and Seek Podcast.
“When Hide and Seek took on Brittany’s case nearly three years ago, we never anticipated we would still here today, searching for answers and seeking justice. The journey has been arduous, but our commitment to finding Brittany and bringing resolution to her family remains unwavering.”
Hide and Seek urges the community to remain vigilant to continue sharing any information that may help to resolve the case.
The Rev. George Milliman provided a prayer.
On the evening of Nov. 30, 2018, Brittany Shank left the home of her grandmother with an unidentified male. The car in which they were riding went into a ditch on Fawn River Road a few miles away from her grandmother’s home. Britany arrived on the porch of a nearby home with no purse or phone, wearing no coat or shoes, with her arms and feet scratched and bleeding. During the call to 911, she left the porch of that home and has not been seen since.
Based on the amount of circumstantial evidence put forth to St. Joseph County Sheriff Department, Brittany’s family is hoping to have the case reclassified as a homicide. Tad DiBiase, former assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., current legal counsel for Capitol Police and an expert on homicide cases, has offered to work with St.Joseph County Sheriff’s Department to evaluate the case.
In a statement Nov. 30 from St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department, Bingaman said the Sheriff’s Office continues to follow tips and leads while considering it an open investigation.
Investigators have continued to search multiple locations in various areas throughout Michigan and Indiana, using drones, cadaver dogs and search groups. Detectives continue to conduct interviews, work with a forensic artist and conduct polygraph analysis to develop additional leads and information to help solve the case. More than 1,070 people are mentioned within the case file, Bingaman said.
“Brittany’s family and friends, the community, and law enforcement are understandably frustrated to not have the answers about her disappearance, and I feel for them,” Bingaman said. “This office is committed to continue to give this case the full attention it deserves, to find Brittany, and bring some closure to those grieving.”
St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department has collaborated with Michigan State Police, Sturgis Department of Public Safety, Branch County Sheriff’s Office, Three Rivers Police Department, Indiana State Police and LaGrange County Sheriff’s Office throughout this investigation.