037 - The Disappearance of Danielle Stislicki
Danielle Ann Stislicki was born on February 28th, 1988 to parents Ann and Richard Stislicki. She was raised in the town of Redford, Michigan. Redford Township is a western suburb of Detroit and covers 11.2 square miles with the River Rouge flowing through the Lola Valley Park. According to a 2010 census the population of Redford is approximately 48,362. Danielle was an energetic young girl who adored the family dog, Midnight, with whom she grew up. Of Danielle, her mother Ann said “She was very welcoming to everyone. She’s vivacious, she’s beautiful, kind. Big Heart.” Friends and family described Danielle as having a gregarious personality, she was lively, loved to laugh and enjoyed to make others feel accepted and comfortable. Her personality gave her a certain charisma that drew others to her like a magnet, and at an early age, she developed a tight circle of friends though many have said that Danielle was friendly with everyone she came across.
Danielle was very close with her parents, and they doted on her with a loving adoration that is hard to describe. They saw a beautiful future for their daughter, a bright and beautiful young woman who was full of possibility. Of his daughter, Richard would state “Danielle was our potential, the best of us.” Danielle would later become an older sister, not once, but twice, when first Jillian and then Holly were born. It was a tight knit family, with Danielle always being there to offer advice, or a good laugh, when the situation called for it, and sometimes, even when it didn’t. Most everyone in her life looked up to her, and admired her fire and passion not only for life, but for those she cared about. Her welcoming disposition was apparent immediately and friends and family often called her Dani.
Growing up in Redford, Danielle established a strong bond with several other young women. Jill Thompson, Megan Fishback, Kristy Holme, Caiti Wannamaker, Danielle Frederick and Rachel Perell, along with Danielle, dubbed their group the Redford Girls and they forged a bond which would last well into adulthood. Having gone to school together, their bonds run deep and their friendships are strong and united. Over the years they have attended elementary school together, gone to each other’s weddings, taking vacations and even established an annual tradition known as “Friendsgiving” when they would all meet up in November to celebrate the holiday together. The celebration typically involved brunch with a few mimosas and a lot of conversation. When asked to describe Danielle, Kristy Holme stated “If she were here right now, she would be talking the whole time, and she would be telling you all these crazy stories.” Caiti Wannamaker added “She’d be dancing. She’ll be making you a drink. She’ll be making food.”
Danielle began working in insurance for MetLife, alongside her mother Ann, in Southfield, Michigan. Though it was a good job that provided her with security, Danielle’s friends have suggested that she dreamed of something more exciting for her career. On Sunday, November 27th, 2016, the Redford girls met up for their annual tradition, and according to Jill Thompson, “It was the Sunday before she went missing. She came, like, busting in and she was supposed to bring bagels.” Twenty-Eight year old Danielle spent much of the event talking about her dreams for the future, her plans, everything she was hoping to achieve. She talked about wanting a little house, not too much, but enough, and the ideas of farming and sustainable foods.
While Danielle talked about her ideas for the future, and the life she was going to have, she and her friends laughed and shared stories. They enjoyed their annual tradition, and as life continued moving forward, the group would continue to share it all together. Sadly, none of the women present had any idea that this would be the last time they would ever see Danielle, and just five days later, the beautiful dreamer would go missing without any explanation, turning all of their worlds upside down.
On Friday, December 2nd, 2016, Danielle had a busy day of work ahead of her, but her mind began roaming to the upcoming weekend. Though she had to work on Saturday, she had made plans with her mother to take a drive to her grandparents house on Sunday. The family was planning to decorate their Christmas tree and begin ushering in the holiday season. Being that her weekend was already packed with work and family plans, Danielle went ahead and contacted her best friend, Sarah Pollack, seeing if she were available. The two made plans to meet up for dinner that night, after Danielle got off work. Interested in getting a jump start, and knowing she had to return to work the next day, Sarah asked if she could leave early. According to her father, Richard, “That particular day she was scheduled to work longer. And because things were a little slow, she asked whether or not it would be ok if she left early.” According to Ann, at approximately 5pm, Sarah received a text from Danielle which read “I got off early, I just need to stop home quickly and I’m on my way.”
Danielle was renting a place at Indepence Green apartments located near Halsted Road and Grand River Avenue in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Her apartment complex was located approximately twelve miles from the MetLife building where she worked, and with traffic permitting, this added up to a fifteen minute drive on average. Witnesses saw Danielle exiting the MetLife building, located in the 25000 block of Telegraph Road, in Southfield. She was seen getting into her black, 2015 Jeep Renegade, and driving in the direction of her apartment. What happened afterward remains unknown, but Danielle never made contact with her friend, or anyone else after her last text message. Danielle was supposed to meet Sarah around 6pm, but the time came and went with no Danielle. Sarah tried calling her, but received no answer.
Not immediately worried, she knew Danielle worked a long day and had another shift the next morning, Sarah didn’t panic and assumed she may have simply fallen asleep when she arrived home. She expected to hear from her, but when Danielle hadn’t contacted Sarah by the next morning, she could no longer contain her worry. Sarah got into her car and drove over to the apartment complex and was, at first, comforted to find Danielle’s Jeep parked in her space, no more than eight feet away from the door to her apartment.
However, it quickly became clear to Sarah that something was wrong. After trying to get Danielle’s attention, she placed a call to Ann and Richard. Ann would later say “So Sarah called. She had actually gone to Danielle’s apartment and said ‘I have screamed, I have honked, I have thrown pebbles up to the windows to get Danielle’s attention, and there is no answer from Danielle. And she said ‘I’m nervous, I’m scared and I think you need to come.’” Danielle’s parents made the drive over to her apartment and, after failing to receive an answer at the door, used their spare key to gain entrance. Almost immediately upon walking inside they knew something was wrong as it appeared that, despite Danielle’s jeep being parked out front, no one had been in the apartment and Danielle was nowhere to be found.
After looking through the apartment, Danielle’s parents noted only two items missing from it: Her car keys and her cell phone. Panicked now, and without any idea of where Danielle could be, Ann made a call to 911 and reported her daughter missing. Officers arrived at the apartment and looked through it, though they found no indications of foul play. Several phone calls were placed to Danielle’s phone, but it was going straight to voicemail, which led officers to believe it could be been powered off, the battery may have died or the phone could be in an area with no service. After looking through her apartment, the investigators stepped outside and began looking at her Jeep. It was quickly noticed that her purse, credit cards, ID and wallet were inside the vehicle. Authorities would later speculate that they considered it a possibility that Danielle had not been the one to drive her Jeep home, though they would not expand on what led them to believe this.
Police made the decision to brief the media and released information regarding Danielle. Lietenant Jeff King of the Farmington Hills Police Department explained that Danielle’s family described her at the type of person to always maintain contact with friends and family and that her being out of contact was out of character. When asked about a possible crime, King responded “No evidence found at this time to lead us to believe that foul play is involved, but the investigation continues. The reason she is missing is not the issue, our concern is for the welfare and safe return of Danielle at this time.” According to the release, Danielle was last seen wearing jeans, burgundy boots, a black zip up shirt and a blue Eddie Bauer coat.
Rather quickly the police along with Danielle’s friends, family and volunteers initiated a search of the area and any locations Danielle may have been known to frequent. Kristi Holme later said about the search “Her apartment complex is kind of sprawling, so there’s lots of ditches and swampy areas everywhere, and dumpsters. It’s terrifying. Every car that you peek in, right, to think, ‘What if I find something?’ but to think, what if I don’t?” While the search was being conducted, other officers were canvassing the area for possible witnesses who may have seen Danielle arriving home the previous evening. Almost immediately the media jumped on the story and in their haste often reported contradictory details or cryptic statements which would later be corrected, but at the time, these statements caused a great deal of speculation about Danielle’s state of mind with the rumor mill churning out suggestions of drug abuse, anorexia or even bi-polar disorder. Much of this was later cleared up, but at the time, it only added confusion to an already perplexing mystery. The body of a Caucasian female was found not far away two days after Danielle disappeared, and while authorities stated from the outside that they did not believe it to be Danielle, several papers ran articles suggesting that it may in fact be her, but the decedent was later identified as a different woman.
While investigators fail to gain much information from potential witnesses in the area, other witnesses come forward who claim to have seen Danielle on the night she disappeared. Several people from the MetLife building spotted Danielle that night, and according to Richard “It has been reported by some people that work at the building that there was a car out there with its hood up.” According to the witnesses, there was a man looking at the engine and he was seen talking to Danielle. Further investigation provides a name to the man beneath the hood: Floyd Galloway. Galloway worked as a security guard at the building, and according to Ann, may have had a crush on Danielle. In an interview she stated “The frequency in which he would seek her out, you know, walking around the office, particularly showing up by her cubicle. Danielle was friendly with Floyd, and that was it.”
According to Ann, Danielle had no interest in Floyd beyond friendship. Her kind and welcoming nature opened her up frequently to conversations with men, and the fact that she was young and attractive typically brought them around a little more frequently. According to Ann, Danielle became even more determined to ensure there was no flirting between she and Galloway when she learned that not only was he married, but that he had a wife at home who had been diagnosed with cancer. Authorities became suspicious of Galloway rather quickly, but he hires a lawyer and refuses to speak to authorities without his presence. Livonia Police Chief Curtis would later state “Mr. Galloway was the last person seen with Danielle Stislicki. It raises serious questions.” Galloway’s lawyer, Jim Williams, responded “He was represented by counsel and he was made well aware of the constitutional protections of the fifth amendment, the right against self-incrimination and the right to remain silent.”
Without more information than a sighting of Danielle near Galloway the night she vanished, authorities didn’t have much to work with, and so they continued their searching. Fliers were printed up showing Danielle, her cell phone, a Samsung galaxy core prime in a rose gold case, jacket and a charm which was attached to her keychain and described as a yellow figure with a green body and yellow legs. The flyer also shows Danielle’s 2015 black jeep renegade with Michigan license plate DGH 8957 in hopes that someone may have seen Danielle driving the night she disappeared. The Independence Green Apartment Complex, along with MetLife, contributed money to a reward for information leading to Danielle’s whereabouts, or an arrest in connection with her disappearance. By December 7th, just five days after Danielle was last seen, the reward totaled $125,000.
On December 7th, authorities and Danielle’s family held a press conference. I will now play an excerpt from that Press conference: [Insert Audio]
Three days later, on December 10th, with no new leads and a growing frustration amongst investigators, friends and family organized a candlelight vigil. The vigil draws a little over 100 supporters, made up of friends, family and total strangers. The Stislicki family speaks strongly about their dedication to finding Danielle and bringing her home. Ann also shares her feelings about the outpouring of support they have received from the community. During the vigil she states “You become weak and you feel like you can’t push any further and there’s someone there and there’s a Facebook post and there’s someone saying ‘I’m getting you this, I’m finding you the opportunity to go ahead and put her face and information on a bulletin board’ That is the support that, although you may not know it, that has been what has kept us going.”
Several more days would pass before there would be further information publically released. For the most part, friends and family continued papering the area with fliers and using social media to promote their hunt for Danielle. Facebook became extremely active in the investigation with Danielle’s sisters posting about her disappearance, which garnered attention from people all throughout the area. The entire community seemed to come together in hopes of bringing in answers and finding Danielle. While, for the most part, all those involved, including investigators, tried to remain positive in their briefings to the media, things took a turn on December 19th. In a briefing to the press, a Farmington Hills Police Department spokesperson stated “All available information and evidence leads investigators to believe Danielle Stislicki was the victim of a crime. Investigators have worked tirelessly since Danielle was reported missing. Farmington Hills detectives and evidence technicians have received extensive assistance and resources from Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.”
The spokesperson reiterated that the Police Department was determined to solve the case and bring answers to the family but that it was important they keep information secured. Later in the statement, the spokesperson said “All of the investigating agencies want the Stislicki family and the public to know that the law enforcement community is determined and committed to finding Danielle and solving this case. Investigators have collected evidence currently under analysis and examination. No information will be released regarding the specifics of the case in order to maintain the integrity of an active investigation. Investigators continue to follow leads in this case.”
On December 22nd, news reports began flooding out that authorities were in the process of searching a home in the Berkley suburb of Detroit in connection with Danielle’s disappearance. The home, located on Oxford Street, was searched by a joint team of the Farmington Hills Police Department and an Oakland County Sheriff’s Department forensics team. While authorities remained tight lipped about what exactly they were looking for, it was reported that among other items removed from the house, they had taken a mattress in for analysis and examination. Farmington Hills Police Chief Nebus stated “Detectives, evidence technicians and crime lab personnel from several law enforcement agencies have been working tirelessly and remain committed to finding Danielle and solving this case.”
As it turned out, the home was a place that Floyd Galloway had been staying previously. Floyd had last been witnessed speaking to Danielle as she was leaving her office the day she vanished. Elizabeth Newton, Galloway’s sister-in-law, spoke to the media regarding the search and her brother in law. According to Newton, her family would not discuss the case and after several emails which she send to Galloway, without a response, she found it important to speak to police. Newton told the media about her conversations with authorities, stating “When I met with them, they told me there were eyewitnesses of Galloway and Danielle going into the Berkley home together on December 2nd and her Jeep being parked outside.”
She also told reporters that a portion of the floor and floorboards at the house and his car and family’s cars were taken as evidence. Police Chief Nebus, when asked about items removed from the home stated “We’re moving in the right direction of positive developments. It’s like putting together the pieces of a puzzle, and every day it seems like there is another piece that goes into the puzzle.” According to neighbors, Floyd Galloway didn’t return to the home after police searched it. According to reports of the time, Galloway and his wife moved in with her family around this time.
Christmas and New Years came and went. For Danielle’s family it was a difficult task, to try to balance the holiday season with the absence of their daughter, their sister. It was a hard time of year for them, but they kept their spirits up and never looked away from their devotion to finding Danielle and solving her case. They still believed, somewhere, that there was hope that she may return home safely. Ann Stislicki stated publically several times that the possibility of abduction was a reality, and while it was difficult to think about, it had to be considered. She also made it clear that, in her mind, Floyd Galloway was a likely suspect and the more she thought about his flirtation with Danielle in the past, the more she felt something was wrong when it came to his possible connection to her disappearance.
On January 12th, 2017, a month and ten days after Danielle was last seen, a second candlelight vigil was held, this time at VFW Post 345 in Redford township. Hundreds attended the vigil, and even though it had been over a month, it was clear that public support for the family was continuing to grow. At the vigil, Ann spoke once again, stating “We don’t know what happened to Danielle. What we do know is there is an incredible base of wonderful people like you.” At the vigil, the community created burgundy ribbons for others to wear as an awareness of Danielle’s disappearance. Burgundy was specifically chosen as it was the color of a dress Danielle had worn to a wedding and family members said that they hoped the ribbons would be conversation starters, that strangers might ask why someone was wearing a ribbon and it would be another opportunity to spread Danielle’s story and hopefully garner more information or leads.
In Plymouth Michigan, on January 28th, Second Nature Self Defense, a women self defense instructional class, held a fundraiser from 11am to 12:30pm. The class was taught in two parts, with a $20 minimum was required to take the course that day. All proceeds from the fundraiser went towards helping the Stislicki family. It became clear that, unlike many other missing persons case which often create a great deal of attention that begins to wane over time, Danielle’s case continued to build up, drawing more and more people into it. While authorities continued working the evidence, and processing materials taken from the Berkley home, the community continued to rally around the family in hopes of assisting in any way that they might be able to.
On February 2nd, two months after Danielle vanished, her parents sat down with Local 4 Defender’s Karen Drew to discuss the case, and Danielle herself. When asked about how they were holding up and how they manage to keep hope alive, Ann responded “It’s that lighthearted smile, the silliness. We talk about her as if she’s still living in the apartment. Having that hope is why you have the energy to work at the pace, to only get a couple hours of a sleep because we want to make it happen as fast as we can. We want to be able to get Danielle back.” According to Ann, they maintain direct contact with the investigators, often texting back and forth about details of the case or any new information that comes along. When asked about whether or not they believed Danielle was still alive, Richard responded “My logical mind would be predisposed to think that it was not going to turn out well. Until you tell me you have evidence differently, she is alive. So in my mind, the need to be able to protect ourselves is center focus.”
Chief Nebus was also asked about the case and have several pieces of information to relay. Interestingly, despite previous public statements to the contrary, Nebus revealed that they considered it a case of foul play from day one. According to Nebus, they had several new developments but “The bottom line is we have to think of what’s best for Danielle Stislicki in this case. Sometimes in this particular case, it’s been not to release information too early. It would be to no advantage to us. Part of the investigation right now is dependent on a lot of the lab results coming back in.”
Weeks began passing, and then months, with no new information. The family continued advocating for Danielle, creating the social media hashtag FINDDANI as well has conducting a car wash in hopes of raising additional funds for continues search efforts, flier production and other necessities related to the search. A former neighbor of the Stislicki family, Rich Hoffman, posted the missing flyer on his front door. When asked about Danielle he responded “I just remember Danielle as being so bubbly and just such a sweet kid. As the days, and now the weeks and months drag on it’s just so disheartening to not know and to just wonder where is she and what happened.”
The more time passed, the more likely it seemed to become that Danielle was unlikely to be coming home alive. Although this was hinted about in media of the time, authorities wouldn’t make a comment on it. Danielle’s family did several more interviews, specifically about the torment of not knowing what had become of Danielle, their struggled in coping with the pain of her disappearance and their beliefs about what may have happened to her. During this time, investigators continued processing evidence from the Berkley home and awaiting results from a crime lab in regard to possible DNA. Though it wasn’t publicly stated, it seemed apparent that authorities felt there was likely a connection between Danielle’s disappearance and Floyd Galloway, the man whose home they searched and who last been seen with her. Six months after she vanished, authorities would have much more to say about the man and his alleged connection to Danielle.
On June 27th, Floyd Galloway Jr. was arrested by Livonia Police on suspicion of his part in a sexual assault which had taken place in Hines Park in September of 2016. According to police reports, a twenty-eight year old woman informed police that while she was jogging in the park, a man wrapped his arms around her neck and struck her on the side of the face. The woman fought bravely against her attacker who began dragging her toward the Rouge River, and then, attempted to remove her clothing. According to the victim, her attacker blatantly told her that his intention was to rape her. The woman managed to fight her way free and ran from the man, flagging down a passing driver who used his cell phone to call police.
Galloway Jr., thirty at the time of his arrest, was arraigned the next day and charged with kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct with intent to commit penetration and assault with intent to do great bodily harm by strangulation and assault with intent to murder. Prosecutors requested a bail cost of $1 Million, though it was ultimately set at $750,000. After his arrest, Allen Park police stated that they were working with the Livonia police to determine whether or not Galloway Jr. matched a composite drawing they had of a suspect in a different sexual assault case. At this time, the Farmington Hills police stated publicly for the first time that Galloway Jr. was in fact a person of interested in the disappearance of Danielle Stislicki.
It was also at this time that they explained Galloway Jr. had been previously linked to Danielle as the result of a DNA test though details were not fully disclosed, leading many to speculate that Danielle’s DNA must have been found on items removed from the Berkley home in which Galloway Jr. was staying at the time Danielle vanished. Reporters spoke to the Stislicki family after the arrest and asked them what they thought about Galloway Jr’s possible connection. Ann responded “My initial reaction is scared. The outcome of the description of the jogger could be the fate of my daughter, and my daughter didn’t get a chance to get out and get help. It’s also a reality, the bravery of this person, to be strong enough to fight him off and come forward.”
The next month, on July 19th, Police in conjunction with the FBI began a search of Hines Park, the site of the attempted sexual assault for which Galloway Jr. was arrested, for any evidence which may have created a link to Danielle’s disappearance. A total of 155 law enforcement officials along with fourteen K-9 units, cadaver dogs and metal detectors were brought in for the search. Hines Park covers a large area, boasting a 17.2 mile trail and is a popular place for locals to seek out recreational activites. Among the items being searched for were Danielle’s blue Eddie Bauer jacket, her car keys and cell phone. Authorities also stated they could possibly be looking for human remains, and interestingly, a tan and brown striped comforter which they believe could have been used to wrap Danielle’s body.
Discussion of human remains and body transportation caused the media to begin asking questions about whether or not they believe Danielle was still alive or if they in fact thought she was murdered. Chief Nebus responded “Law enforcement authorities have expressed since day one that Danielle Stislicki was the victim of a crime. The facts of the case lead us to believe that she is not alive. Several land, air and water searches have been conducted at various places throughout the investigation. Hines Park is being searched as the result of a recent Livonia and Farmington Hills joint investigation. This investigation has lead to criminal charges in Livonia against Floyd Galloway Jr, a thirty year old resident of Berkley. Because the Livonia incident occurred in Hines Park, it is a location that requires searching. There is no specific information or evidence that leads us to believe Danielle’s remains are in the park.”
The next day, after searching the park, authorities expressed that they had found nothing of evidenciary value in Hines Park. However, fairly rapidly, they returned to the Berkley home with a search warrant in hand to execute a second search of the home and property. Sadly, upon arrival, authorities found the home had been cleaned out since their first search and all which had been left behind was a surveillance camera system. As a result of the vacant house, authorities obtained a warrant and went to a home in Royal Oak, where Galloway Jr. had been staying with his wife and in-laws. They spoke to Galloway Jr’s wife in regard to what they called “items of potential interest” and she handed over the items. Authorities described Galloway Jr’s wife as being pretty uncooperative, and they further explained that when they arrived at the Berkley house, she had been contacted and refused to unlock the door. They explained that they could simply knock the door in, at which point she did allow them access and then led them to the Royal Oak home.
Several months would again pass with little movement on Danielle’s case, though investigators assured the family and community that they were continuing to process evidence and follow up on information they had been receiving. On November 21st, Galloway Jr. accepted a plea deal offered by the District Attorney in regard to the September attempted sexual assault. In exchange for pleading guilty to kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct, assault to do great bodily harm by strangulation, the charge of assault with intent to commit murder was dropped. Galloway Jr. faced a possible sentence of sixteen to thirty-five years in prison and would have to register as a sex offender for life. This plea deal had been offered to Galloway Jr. twice before, but he had rejected it both times. For whatever reason, he accepted on the third pass and prosecutors stated that the trial would have involved between forty and fifty witnesses testifying and had been expected to last three weeks. At that time, Galloway Jr. was still considered a person of interest in Danielle’s disappearance.
The Stislicki family appeared in court that day to watch Galloway Jr. plead guilty to the charges. When asked about it later, Anne stated “We will not give up, we are here and we will not give up. It was for us the opportunity to go ahead and let him know we are still here.” Anne was asked how she felt when Galloway Jr. spoke in court that morning, to which she responded “It was unnerving. That is the Floyd Galloway I know, so I was glad he was advised to admit the guilt. We are grateful that the results of today’s hearing means the Hines Park survivor does not have to go through and testify to a jury and relive that situation. Now it will give us an opportunity, for all the resources that have been on Dani’s case, too, to go ahead. An opportunity to spend time on what we need to do.”
On November 30th, just two days before the one year anniversary of Danielle’s disappearance, Farmington Hills Police Chief Nebus spoke to the media about the progress of the case. He explained that a year later, authorities had made great strides in the advancement of the case and the collection of evidence. He told reporters that they had executed 74 search warrants throughout the year, though he would not disclose anything which have been found stating “We have to keep that confidential. I don’t want to give the perpetrator any advantage of knowing all the things we are gaining.” Nebus went on to explain that Galloway Jr’s guilty plea could affect the case though it was too soon to know in what way and that in the previous three weeks they had conducted multiple searches, under the radar, in southern Michigan based on tips they had received. He also expressed his concern for Danielle’s family, saying “We want to give the Stislicki family closure in the case and get someone charged. There’s not a day that goes by we don’t think about them and think about Danielle.” When asked if he believed the case would be solved, Nebus said the department felt very strongly they were going to solve the case and that they were very optimistic about its probable outcome.
On December 8th, one year and six days since Danielle had vanished, Floyd Galloway Jr. was sentenced to sixteen to thirty five years for his attack on the Hines Park jogger. The Stislicki’s were again in court to witness the sentencing and rejoiced at the result, feeling that Galloway Jr. had gotten what he deserved. The victim of his attack spoke out at his sentencing, saying that she hoped he would live each day of his life knowing that she was out in the world, happy and free while he was imprisoned for trying to take advantage of her. Richard Stislicki stated, about the survivor, “It was almost like Dani’s spirit was in her. She carries the same kind of spirit as Danielle. I was totally blown away. I’m relieved that this victim was able to survive and doesn’t have to go through the ongoing court situation of being grilled, of being reminded of that terrible experience.”
Danielle’s best friend, Sarah Pollack was also present that day. She was glad to see Galloway Jr face justice for the attack he’d launched against the jogger, but also felt a sense of pain knowing that the answers to Danielle’s story were still unknown. In an interview she stated “I’m so happy he’s finally behind bars. I just want him to talk and tell us where Danielle is. It’s not enough yet. To have her home would be closure. The constant wonder of where she is and when we’re going to be able to say goodbye.” Galloway Jr. is currently serving his sentence and has not yet responded to our spoken out in any way in regard to Danielle’s disappearance, only telling investigators that he was not involved and has no idea what could have happened to her.
The Disappearance of Danielle Stislicki is still a very new case, with her disappearance having been just over a year ago. The conviction of Floyd Galloway in connection to a different attack has led many to believe he is the person responsible for Danielle’s disappearance, but of course, in a case without answers, that is but one theory of several. In Danielle’s case, unlike so many others I have covered, there are truly only two theories about what may have happened to her.
The first theory is that Danielle was the victim of a random crime by a yet unknown assailant who police are either aware of, but have not named, or whose name has yet to enter into the investigation.
The second theory is that Danielle was abducted and murdered by the security guard from the MetLife building where she worked, and the man who was last seen with her, Floyd Galloway Jr. A great deal of evidence exists connection Floyd to Danielle in multiple ways, and while authorities have not fully released all of the information they possess, for many, no more is needed to convict him in the court of public opinion.
On February 28th, 2018, Danielle Stislicki would have turned thirty years old. A tradition with her family was to celebrate her birthday, and her uncle Chris’ at the same time, since their birthdays were so close. For the second time in as many years, the family celebrated both of their birthdays, but again, Danielle wasn’t there for the festivities. Her uncle Chris posted on Facebook, saying “There’s a big hole. We all have stuck together to cover that empty space, but it’s still there. You can’t avoid it, but what you can do is fill it with all the great memories Danielle gave to us.”
Chief Nebus has continued to name Galloway Jr as a person of interest, though he will not name an official suspect in the case explaining that they do not name anyone as a suspect unless charges have been filed. Nebus believes there are others who have information about Danielle who need to come forward stating “Sometimes the person does not know the information they have is important, sometimes the person is afraid to come forward, and sometimes the person does not come forward because they choose to protect a killer or because they believe the person is innocent. I still believe the case will be solved, but I can’t say when.”
When Danielle was last seen she was described as being a caucasian female standing 5’5” inches tall and weighing approximately 125 pounds. Danielle had brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black shirt, blue jeans, burgundy boots and a blue eddie bauer jacket. She has a tattoo of a constellation on her right shoulder and upper arm, often mistaken as being cheetah spots, as well as a tattoo of candy, peanuts and popcorn on the top of her right foot. She was last seen at Telegraph and Ten Mile in Southfield, Michigan, at the Raleigh Office Center. Her vehicle, a 2015 Jeep Renegade was discovered at her apartment complex 25 hours after she failed to be in contact.
For Danielle’s parents, the pain is still present everyday. Danielle vanished from their lives a year and three months ago, and each day has been a challenge. However, they are supported by friends and a community which has never given up hope that the answers are coming. The family maintains a close relationship with authorities who have never stopped investigating and have continued to dedicate themselves to finding the truth. Though perspectives have turned grim, and it is unlikely that Danielle is still alive, the door remains open for justice to be served and closure to be granted. While the loss of a child is a pain no closure can ever assuage, the Stislicki family would like to have a place to mourn Danielle, and to moreso celebrate her life, rather than having to wonder every day where she is and what became of her. On Mother’s Day, Anne Stislicki wrote a poem to Danielle, and in part it reads
“I wish on the stars I see so bright at night,
We will find out who did this with all of our might.
I wish we could hold you just one more time,
and that they didn’t have to say you were a victim of a crime.
I wish and pray for you each day,
and hope we find the truth before the end of May.
We will not give up the search for you,
With all my love and hugs to you Danielle, Olive juice."
[Thoughts and Theories]
The disappearance of Danielle Stislicki is a little different from the cases I typically select to cover. It’s been on my list, almost since the beginning, because of listeners suggesting it and my own personal interest in the case itself. When I select a case, there’s a certain set of criteria that must be met. First and foremost, there must be enough information for me to construct a coherent episode that digs in and explores in great detail. While Danielle’s case itself has detail, it’s somewhat limited and background on Danielle herself is also in short supply. I tend to want to introduce you to the victim, discuss her upbringing, give you a clear portrait of who the person is, before going into what happened. In Danielle’s case, while I was able to find some information, for the most part, there is a large void between her early years and the time in which she vanished.
Danielle was a bright and beautiful young woman who had a world of potential ahead of her. All of that was taken away one evening when she left work early, planning to meet a friend for dinner, and someone took the opportunity to abduct her. All evidence seems to indicate that this abduction likely resulted in murder, and Danielle’s life was more than likely prematurely ended by someone in a meaningless act of violence. The shockwaves that emerged from her disappearance continue to radiate today, and while this is a case which has garnered great interest, especially in her local community, the spotlight of national media attention has fluctuated. In some moments, this case is covered extensively and at other times it’s breezed over in short articles or comment. That in and of itself makes the case a little more difficult to cover than what I usually go for. I like to be very detail oriented.
Another detail of this case which has made it challenging to cover is the fact that Danielle disappeared just over a year ago. What was surprising to me was how much progress had been made on her case in that time, and the openness of her family when it came to discuss their feelings about Danielle and what they thought may have happened to her. This is a very difficult case to cover and her family has been very direct about their struggles with it, and the pain they feel every day that Danielle’s fate goes unknown. The more I researched it, the more notes I took, the more clear it became that this was a case I had to do. I don’t know that the answers are coming any faster now than they were a few months ago, but just seeing the way the community rallied around the family, and the growing supporters they’ve found through social media, I hoped that by covering Danielle’s story I could, in some way, contribute to that movement.
As a result of how fresh this case is, the theories are severely limited. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact, a lack of theories allows for a stronger focus on what are considered the two most likely possibilities about what may have become of Danielle. This is also one of the very few times I will discuss the disappearance of an adult and the “chose to run off” theory will not be included. Typically that theory is included because law enforcement mentions it, or there are details that make it a likely possibility, but in Danielle’s case, no one has ever considered this a probable outcome of the investigation. Danielle was close with her family, worked with her mother, had strong friendships and connections and had plans the night she disappeared. She appears to have arrived home, although there is some debate about that which I’ll get into in just a minute.
The first theory about the disappearance of Danielle Stislicki is that she was abducted, and likely murdered, by Floyd Galloway Jr. Almost since the beginning, Galloway Jr. was considered a person of interest. When investigators were looking for anyone who may have wanted to harm Danielle, or who showed an unnatural interest in her, Ann Stislicki recalled Galloway Jr’s behavior in their work place. According to Ann, Galloway Jr used to frequently visit Danielle’s desk and flirt with her, or find ways to hang around long enough to be able to engage her in conversation. At the time, she didn’t think much of it, assuming that Galloway Jr simply had an interest in Danielle, and that wasn’t uncommon. Danielle was hit on often, but in this case, it was obviously a little out of place. Typically, jobs don’t like it when men are hanging around hitting on you while you’re trying to get work done.
According to Ann, Danielle didn’t have the slightest interest in Galloway Jr in terms of a romantic relationship. She thought he was nice, she treated him politely, but there was little else beyond that. Danielle was known as being a polite and welcoming woman, and it appears that this situation was no different. We don’t exactly know the details of how she found out, but at some point, Danielle learned that Galloway Jr was not only married, but that his wife was sick. Several articles have pointed out that Galloway Jr’s wife was suffering from leukemia. According to Ann, even though Danielle didn’t have an interest prior, when she learned that information she was rather disgusted by the fact that Galloway Jr continued to try and hit on her.
Galloway Jr. is currently serving time for his attack on the jogger in Hines Park in September of 2016. It’s important to pay attention to the timeline here as this was just four months before Danielle disappeared. He is also considered a suspect in another sexual assault case where the composite drawing created from the victim’s description closely resembles Galloway Jr. This means that, in the four months prior to Danielle’s disappearance, Galloway Jr. was on the prowl and likely stalking women. Since both women survived, and were able to give descriptions of him, it isn’t hard to imagine that he may have become concerned about this and made the choice that the only way to ensure he wasn’t identified was to kill his next victim. I can’t exactly get into the psychology of it, but that is one possibility. Another is, if indeed he abducted Danielle, that she fought against him and her alleged death may have been as a result of a struggle between them.
Speculation is well and good, but it comes down to facts when you’re trying to figure out what happened to someone. Obviously many have theorized that Galloway Jr was in fact the one who abducted Danielle, but what do we have to lend credence to it? Well, outside of the flirting he had been known to do with her, which is circumstantial at best, there were witnesses who identified Galloway Jr. as being in the parking garage of the building, with the hood of his car up, and they saw him speaking to Danielle the night she vanished. Many have theorized that Galloway Jr either had car trouble, or was simply pretending to, in order to create a context to ask Danielle for a ride home or to catch her off guard. While some believe he used engine trouble to get a ride from Danielle, others think it’s possible he told her he was afraid he wouldn’t make him home and asked if she could follow him to his place just in case.
Both of these are possibilities, and both would result in getting Danielle onto his territory. What I do find odd about it is that, witnesses would later say they saw Danielle at Galloway Jr’s Berkley house the day she disappeared. While murder may have been on his mind, along with, sadly, the likelihood of sexual assault considered his past actions, it seems a bit odd to do this at his home. He had a sick wife, although she was in and out of the hospital so it’s certainly possible she wasn’t home at the time. It’s also very brazen to go from attacking complete strangers to attacking someone you are personally linked to. The prior attack in the park appeared to be something more at random while, if Galloway Jr is the man responsible for Danielle’s abduction, this would be more methodical and planned out. Perhaps this is why, to this day, Galloway Jr has never been charged and Danielle has never been located. It’s obviously something he thought about and executed with care.
In terms of evidence, we can’t know for sure exactly what authorities have. We know that pieces of the floor, a mattress and a few other items were removed from the Berkley home, and other items were later collected from Galloway Jr’s wife. We also know that police were looking for a comforter, which they believe was used to wrap up and transport Danielle’s body. They have said they have DNA evidence linking Danielle to the Berkley house, though they have never specified the source of that DNA nor the method by which they believe Danielle may have been murdered. Although they have been cryptic with a lot of the information they’ve released publicly there has been some discussion of Danielle’s jeep.
Although we don’t know why, investigators have suggested there is a possibility that Danielle did not drive it to her apartment that night. This would imply that Galloway Jr, or someone he knew, drove it and left it there in order to stage the scene as if Danielle had gotten home that night. That makes it even more disturbing to imagine, but it also calls into question whether or not Galloway Jr may have had an accomplice. He couldn’t have driven her jeep and had his car waiting for him, so likely someone else would have given him a ride back or he would have taken public transportation, though that’s never been revealed.
In the great deal of speculation which has revolved around this case, I’ve seen Galloway Jr’s wife mentioned multiple times. Some have suggested that she, at a minimum, suspected he was involved in Danielle’s disappearance while other have gone so far as to allege she was involved in the crime as well. There doesn’t appear to be any evidence to support that, and even if she was uncooperative with police, that may simply have been a wife defending a husband she believed to be innocent. Either way, I find it highly unlikely that if she had known that he had done something that she’d have kept her mouth shut about it, especially after Galloway Jr was convicted of the Hines Park attack.
According to several articles, Galloway Jr’s wife passed away as a result of Leukemia not long after he was convicted, which essentially puts an end to the possibility of finding out whether or not she knew anything. That being said, I don’t think there’s anything to indicate that she did. It has also been stated that his wife and her sister, Galloway Jr’s sister-in-law, did not speak again after she spoke out against him as possibly having information about Danielle’s disappearance. Considering the weight of the evidence what with witnesses, DNA and Galloway Jr’s other charges, why would authorities have not yet charged Galloway Jr?
For starters, the absence of a body often makes police and prosecutors hesistant to pursue charges. While it’s possible he could be tried and convicted based on what they have, it would be much more likely that they’d succeed if they had Danielle’s remains. They don’t want to bring him to trial, have him found innocent and then get stuck on double jeopardy. In addition to that, Galloway Jr. has been very uncooperative with police and a great deal of their evidence is, essentially, circumstantial. As far as we are aware, they are not in possession of a murder weapon and we know they haven’t yet found Danielle. While they continue building their case, I do believe at some point we are going to see Galloway Jr charged with Danielle’s murder. It simply cannot currently be done under the cirumstances and they have many years with which to work, knowing that Galloway Jr isn’t going anywhere since he is in prison.
For her family, it has to be incredibly difficult. It’s like those moments when you have a thought on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t get it out. Most of the evidence that exists points to Galloway Jr, he was found guilty of attempting to do something similar to another woman. Authorities have him listed as the only person of interest. They very much would like to see justice done, but even moreso than that, they would like to have Danielle so that they might put her to rest and truly be allowed the space and the time to mourn her loss. In the case of a disappearance, that mourning process is essentially stolen away. How can you mourn when you don’t truly know what happened?
While there are only two real theories in regard to this case, I tend to fall into the camp where I consider the Galloway Jr theory to be the most likely. While the evidence doesn’t yet support prosecution, or authorities are waiting for just one more piece to make the puzzle complete, he’s certainly the prime suspect that needs to be looked into as closely as possible. Investigators have done a great job of building a case against him, and while we may still be waiting for one more piece of evidence to completely prove it and eliminate the possibility of reasonable doubt, to me, this is the most likely theory.
Galloway Jr, though, is not the only possibility and that brings us to our second theory. That Danielle Stislicki may have been abducted by someone who is yet unknown to investigators, or possibly a name in one of their files that they have elected not to release publicly. Many of those who support this theory do so under the belief that if Galloway Jr had in fact commited this crime than he would have been charged by now. The process of charging someone with a crime of this veracity isn’t as simple as it often appears on television shows and in crime novels. There’s a lot that goes into it and I consider it highly possible that Galloway Jr hasn’t been charged because authorities would like to work out some kind of a deal by which he reveals the location of her remains, but that’s besides the point.
So is it possible that someone else committed this crime? Certainly. While there appears to be evidence and even DNA pointing to Galloway Jr, that doesn’t mean someone else couldn’t have been involved or even solely responsible. If Danielle left her job that night and began the drive home, she could have come across any number of people who may have been able to get her out of her vehicle or have taken her by some method. We can’t even completely rule out the possibility that someone could have been at her apartment waiting on her. The possibility of a yet unknown suspect could go a long way towards explaining why her body has yet to be discovered.
There are rivers and large areas of wilderness not far from where Danielle vanished. Hines park in and of itself is a massive area which encompases and connects to many other smaller parks and rivers do run through and near it. Some have even suggested that Danielle could have been abducted by someone who still has her and that she was not in fact murdered. At this point, it’s all very speculative and hard to say for sure. We don’t know all of the people that the police have looked at, and while Galloway Jr stands out as the only person of interest they’ve mentioned publicly, this doesn’t mean they don’t have others they’re looking at more privately. In a case where a beautiful young woman goes missing, you have to consider everyone. Ex-boyfriends, co-workers, friends and even family.
One detail that continues to fascinate me is the suggestion that Danielle did not park her Jeep at her apartment that night. Some have suggested that this means that whoever abducted her knew where she lived, but authorities did say her ID was found in the jeep. The perpetrator could have simply driven to the address listed there. It’s a possibility, as are so many things in this case. Being that this case is not yet closed, and we don’t appear to be directly on the precipice of that happening, there is a possibility that someone else was involved. There’s even the possibility that Galloway Jr was involved, but with the assistance of somebody else. While this is a theory which cannot be dismissed, and is certainly possible, I do believe that regardless of what we ultimately see happening here, a total stranger abduction is probably less likely than that of Floyd Galloway Jr being involved in Danielle’s disappearance.
The Disappearance of Danielle Stislicki is a very disturbing story. A young woman leaves work early and disappears from the face of the earth. None of the items Danielle was known to be in possession of that day have ever been found. Her cell phone, keys and jacket have never been located. No remains have been found and the one big piece of evidence that could finally provide a resolution has never been discovered. This is probably the most solvable case I’ve ever covered, but it’s still early. We have seen cases solved twenty or thirty years later, I don’t believe Danielle’s case will go unsolved for that long. For the sake of her family, I hope the answers are quick in coming. While nothing can ever return the light to their life that Danielle provided, hopefully, sooner than later, they can find some comfort in justice being served and the possibility of closure. Until then, the disappearance of Danielle Stislicki remains open and unsolved.