BY MATT TROUTMAN firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Nicole Nostrandt fears she'll never know who killed her sister.
Nostrandt's peace of mind remains as elusive as the motorist who struck her younger sister, Kelly Ann Boyce, on July 5 as she pedaled her bicycle home on Washington Street.
"It’s day-by-day," Nostrandt said. "You see little things. Things that remind you of her. It's never not in your mind every day. Our pain, it might lessen some, but especially not knowing how or who did this leaves it so raw."
Nostrandt said her family's "biggest fear" is the three-month-old case is going cold -- tips from the public slowed to a trickle and police still have no suspects. Boyce's family and friends hope to keep the case and her memory alive through billboards, posters, social media postings, a makeshift memorial and events.
Traverse City Police Capt. Mike Ayling said the case has "moved on" from a once-promising lead involving a man who splits his time between Traverse City and Alpena County. The Alpena tip raised hopes among Boyce's family and friends that authorities were closing in on a suspect.
"We had our hopes up there," said Mike Moran, a friend of Boyce and her husband Paul Hurlbert. "I think everybody did."
Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney said his office provided detectives with legal advice throughout the investigation, but hasn't made statements about whether charges could be pursued on particular tips. He said an investigative subpoena recently was prepared that requested information that could narrow a search for a suspect vehicle described by witnesses as a dark pickup truck or sport utility vehicle.
Ayling said detectives are looking to check every dark Ford vehicle registered in Grand Traverse County. He said two detectives remain full-time on the case, down from the original 11, and are close to managing the once-unwieldy 600-plus tips from the public.
"There's still some we haven't been able to completely rule out," he said.
Moran said Boyce's family and friends receive fewer updates as the investigation continues, but understand police are doing their job. He runs the "Remember to Love" organization that was formed to carry on Boyce's legacy, noting "remember to love" was one of her favorite sayings.
The organization seeks donations to help represent Boyce at Crime Stoppers events and fund a children's bicycle safety course with the TART trail. "Light Up the Night," an Oct. 17 event organized by the Filling Station and TART that features handout bicycle lights, is donating a portion of its proceeds to "Remember to Love."
"We're trying to honor Kelly in a way that is positive and get free lights out there," said organizer Amanda Klepper.
Moran said "Remember to Love" plans a big event, potentially a benefit concert, in the future.
Hundreds paid their respects to Boyce at a July 11 memorial service in F&M Park and rode their bikes in a procession through downtown Traverse City. Hurlbert told the crowd his wife changed his life from the moment they met: "She saw something in me and kept at it, until her loving ways started making sense to me."
Hurlbert said Boyce's impact lives on as he focuses on his life ahead.
"I told myself to keep living, keep happy and I still ride my bike," he said.
Nostrandt hopes anyone who knows what happened that night might consider the Boyce family's grief and frustration.
"Somebody else knows. Somebody knows and they're protecting that person. What would you do if it was your sister, your family member or your friend?" Nostrandt said. "I do feel if we do find this person there might be some closure. Then the family can heal how it needs to heal."
Members of the public with information are asked to contact the Traverse City Police Department at 231-995-5152 or the anonymous tip line at 231-947-TIPS (8477). A $50,000 reward remains in place.