Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

March 20, 2014

Police clear Boyce lead

TRAVERSE CITY — Police ruled out a potentially promising tip in the unsolved hit-and-run death of Traverse City bicyclist Kelly Ann Boyce after a DNA analysis revealed no connection to the crime.

In mid-November a mechanic in Iosco County’s Oscoda Township noticed something strange underneath a car he had on a hoist — hair, said Traverse City Police Capt. Mike Ayling.

The mechanic contacted authorities after recalling that a motorist struck and dragged Boyce, who died from her injuries early July 5.

News about the tip in December refocused the public’s attention on the months-old investigation. Police seemed close to a suspect who struck Boyce on Washington Street and dragged her more than a block to a Railroad Avenue alley.

Ayling said police learned about the mechanic’s suspicions from state police. He said the hair appeared cut rather yanked out and detectives sent it to a lab for analysis.

“They said it was human hair,” he said.

The lab’s findings prompted investigators to request a series of DNA tests to see if the hair matched Boyce’s. Detectives waited weeks for results, but the hair did not match the victim’s.

Now, it seems detectives will have to find a suspect among 678 other tips -- most of which they already investigated and cleared -- or wait for a fresh lead.

Boyce’s sister Nicole Nostrandt tries with the rest of her family to avoid pinning their hopes on one tip out of hundreds. But she’s still disappointed a battery of tests on evidence collected from the vehicle failed to yield a match with her sister.

“When you know there’s testing like that going on and you find the results the only word is ‘devastating,’” Nostrandt said.

Nostrandt said her family remains confident detectives will do everything they can to bring a suspect to justice, even if the Iosco County lead failed to pan out. She still struggles to understand how her sister’s killer can remain silent.

“How can the person’s conscience or guilt not consume them?” she said. “It makes you wonder what you’re dealing with.”

Members of the public with information on the case can call detectives at 231-995-5152 or the anonymous tips line at 231-947-8477. A $50,000 reward remains in place.

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