GALESBURG, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Criminal justice students from Olivet College got real world experience by helping local law enforcement try to solve cold cases, some of which are decades old.
Newschannel 3's Mara Thompson went with the students as they searched for a man who disappeared more than 10 years ago.
Shayla Neelis is a criminal justice student at Olivet College. The subject has been an interest of hers since she was little.
Neelis said, “My dad grew up and worked in the military, so it's kind of something that I was brought into. Just helping people and find a way to help people in need so that's what I like to do.”
On Sunday, Neelis and several classmates were able to do just that, by taking on a Battle Creek cold case as part of a new program at Olivet College.
Phil Reed, a professor of criminal justice at Olivet College, said, “Hey, we're going to be searching for a missing person that's been missing since June 2005.”
Jason Johnson, program manager Battle Creek Community Emergency Response Team, said, “Brandon Anderson was last seen in 2005. He fled from a vehicle accident on I-94 was never heard from again.”
The students are conducting the search with the help of the Battle Creek Emergency Response Team and Michigan Search and Rescue.
It is a search that wouldn't have happened without the students digging through the old files for class.
Neelis said, “If at all possible, we're going to try to figure out why he never came home.”
After new interviews, information, and fresh minds on the case, the students are confident they'll be successful.
Neelis said, “We have a really good feeling that we found the area where hopefully we can find him pinpointing exactly where he could be.”