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Cops Search For Suspect After Missing Michigan Mother Of Five Found Shot To Death

Mollie Schmidt was reported missing on Aug. 21, and was found nine days later, shot to death in Yenley Garcia's apartment. Police are now looking for Garcia.

By Jill Sederstrom
A police handout of Mollie Schmidt

A Michigan mother of five has been found dead of a gunshot wound more than a week after she disappeared.

Wyoming, Michigan police Lt. Rory Allen said at a press conference that detectives with the public safety department and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department discovered the body of Mollie Schmidt, 33, on Tuesday while executing a search warrant at the apartment of Yenley Garcia, 44, in Wyoming, a suburb of Grand Rapids.

Garcia, whose current whereabouts are unknown, has now been named a person of interest in Schmidt’s death.

“Detectives are investigating this case as a homicide and are pursuing all leads,” Allen said.

A police spokesperson told Oxygen.com on Thursday morning there there had been no updates to the case.

Schmidt was last seen at her home on Aug. 21, when she told her children she was leaving for work, according to MLive. Authorities had described the missing mom’s disappearance as “uncharacteristic.”

A police handout of Mollie Schmidt

Her aunt, Lisa McGraw, told MLive and WOOD-TV that, the day before she disappeared, Schmidt had told her father, Michael O’Meara, to come by the next day. But when he arrived at Schmidt's house, he found only her children.

McGraw told WZZM that the family’s “alarm bells” really went off when Schmidt, a devoted mother of five, missed her daughter’s first day of kindergarten on Aug. 23.

"She was a loving, loving person. She adored her children," McGraw said. "No one ever imagines this can happen in your family."

She described her niece to WOOD-TV as a sweet, “ray of sunshine.”

“I just want people to know that she was an amazing human being,” she added.

Schmidt's friend Jennifer Cogswell, who knew her for 10 years, described Schmidt in a statement as “the sweetest girl I’ve ever known in the dancing industry” who was able to keep her “bright personality” and “contagious smile” despite the difficult work.

“We shared so many great memories over the years & she will be truly missed,” she said in a written statement to the news outlet. “I wish her kids had more time to know just how amazing their mother was.”

Schmidt’s older sister, Sarah Oaks, described the family as being “both heartbroken and horrified” in a statement to WOOD-TV and said they are now turning their attention to finding justice for Schmidt.

“I am eager to begin the process of holding the person capable of such cruelty, accountable,” she said. “I will not rest until little Mollie gets her justice.”

Police have described Garcia as being 5’10” tall and weighing about 200 pounds. He has black hair and distinct tattoos on his face. He was last seen driving a black 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck with the Michigan license plate ELW6780, according to a statement from police obtained by Oxygen.com.

A police handout of Yenly Garcia

Garcia currently has an outstanding warrant out for his arrest in an unrelated matter.

The 44-year-old has a lengthy criminal past including convictions for drugs, domestic violence, larceny and retail fraud, according to Michigan State Police records obtained by WOOD-TV.

He was paroled on a conviction of unlawful imprisonment and assault with a dangerous weapon in the summer of 2016.

Anyone with information on his current whereabouts is urged to call Wyoming Police at 616-530-7300 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.