Family of deceased woman sues Ferndale Police after leaving her with suspected serial killer

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click to enlarge House at Mack Avenue and Mt. Elliott Street where a woman's body was found. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
House at Mack Avenue and Mt. Elliott Street where a woman's body was found.

Family members of a deceased woman have filed a wrongful death lawsuit aimed at three Ferndale Police officers, claiming the officers were negligent in transporting her with a suspected serial killer, Fox 2 reports.

Deborah Reynolds, 64, was last seen in August 2018 when she was picked up by the police along with DeAngelo Martin for public intoxication near a 7-Eleven at Nine Mile Road. Rather than book the individuals, neither of whom claimed to know each other prior to the incident, the police detained them before dropping both Reynolds and Martin off near Woodward Avenue and the State Fair Grounds in Detroit sometime around 1 a.m.

Reynolds' family reported her missing a few weeks later. Her body was found badly decomposed in an abandoned home in December, less than a mile from where the police had dropped the two off.

“They were just was so adamant about getting her out of Ferndale that they didn't care,” Deborah's sister Mattie Reynolds told Fox 2. “And it's terrible.”

Though Martin has not been charged in Reynolds' murder, as her body was too decomposed to determine a cause of death, he is currently facing murder charges for the deaths of four women, as well as kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct, and assault with intent to murder, which are linked to a separate case in which a 26-year-old victim claimed to have been stabbed and sexually assaulted by Martin before eventually escaping.

News of a rampant serial killer and rapist in Detroit broke last summer. Detroit Police Chief James Craig said he believed the murder of three women to be connected, as the killer appeared to be targeting sex workers in their 50s and luring them to vacant houses, where he raped and killed them.

The murders put pressure on the city to take action in demolishing homes in Detroit's blighted neighborhoods, to prevent future crimes such as those committed by Martin. Deadline Detroit reports the Land Bank-owned home at Mack and Mt. Elliot dubbed “The House of Horrors” is still standing, despite Mayor Mike Duggan vowing to demolish the dilapidated property. It's the same home where the body of Tammy Jones was found and where Martin allegedly abducted and strangled an unidentified woman, 51, who managed to break free.

Last year, Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor William Lawrence said Martin is “probably the most dangerous person of the community.

For Reynolds' family, all they know is that she was last seen on Aug. 3, 2018 when she was picked up with Martin by the police. The lawsuit claims Reynolds had expressed concern to the officers that she did not know Martin and did not feel comfortable traveling with him.

“At this moment in time now all we want now is closure with them,” Andre Reynolds said. “And we want them to come forward and admit to their mistakes and live up to what they did.”

According to Fox 2, the city of Ferndale has not received the paperwork and has yet to respond to the allegations.

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