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Brynn Bills, Abby Hill investigation: What we know so far

Courtesy Photo Brynn Bills, of Alpena, flashes a flower at the camera in this undated photo taken from Facebook with the permission of her father, Duane Bills, of Fairview.

ALPENA — What began in early August as a search for a missing teenager has since expanded into two suspicious death investigations and an alleged armed holdup.

Here’s what we know so far:

BRYNN BILLS

Friends and family called Brynn Bills, 17, of Alpena, a smart, caring, outgoing lover of the outdoors and music.

She was last seen alive in early August. She would have turned 18 on Aug. 12.

Brad Srebnik

Police and the teen’s father, Duane Bills, of Fairview, sought the public’s help in finding the girl beginning Aug. 27. Duane Bills offered a reward that climbed to $20,000 for any information leading to a break in the case.

Acting on a tip, police searched a wooded area behind an Alpena Township home on Naylor Road on Sept. 28 and found Bills’ body, which they identified through tattoo markings.

Pending the results of an autopsy, police have not yet ruled Bills’ death a homicide, but have begun a suspicious death investigation.

They have several persons of interest, but no official suspects.

ABBY HILL

Courtesy Photo Abby Hill is seen in this undated photo provided by the Michigan State Police.

On Oct. 5, police said Abby Hill, 31, had gone missing.

On Saturday, police said they’d found a body they believe is Hill following a search of a wooded area in Alpena Township the day before. They said it appears Hill died by homicide.

Hill and Bills were Facebook friends.

Police say Hill participated in an alleged holdup on Sept. 21 with Joshua Wirgau, the owner of the Alpena Township home where police found Bills’ body.

Hill had been wanted on felony warrants related to the alleged holdup.

Joshua Wirgau

Police had arrested Hill on Sept. 15 — six days before the alleged holdup — on a warrant for failure to appear for a court matter. They released her the next day, as is typical in such cases.

THE HOLDUP

According to court records, Wirgau on Sept. 21 allegedly called a man to Naylor Road for a ride.

When the man got there, police and the Alpena County prosecutor say, Wirgau, Hill, and another man, Brad Srebnik, all armed with firearms, got into the man’s vehicle. Wirgau pointed a gun at the man’s head and demanded he drive the trio to the intersection of Lacomb and Haken roads, also in Alpena Township.

The trio then got out of the vehicle.

Little else is known about what allegedly happened that night. It’s not clear from court records whether Wirgau, Hill, or Srebnik knew their alleged victim, and police would add no further details.

Police on Oct. 6 searched the area near the Lacomb-Haken intersection with a police dog and a helicopter, but police wouldn’t confirm whether that search was related to the alleged holdup or Bills’ death.

Police arrested Wirgau on Sept. 27 and Srebnik three days later. Both face several charges related to the alleged holdup and are being held in local county jails on $500,000 bonds.

THE CONNECTIONS

Here’s what we know about the players in police’s investigation into the two deaths:

* Brynn Bills, 17, of Alpena, was last seen alive in early August. Police found her body Sept. 28 on property on Naylor Road in Alpena Township.

* Abby Hill, 31, was Facebook friends with Bills and, according to police, participated in an alleged holdup on Sept. 21 with Joshua Wirgau, owner of the Naylor Road property where police found Bills’ body. Police reported Hill missing Oct. 5 and on Oct. 15 found a body they believe to be Hill in a wooded area in Alpena Township.

* Joshua Wirgau, 34, owns the Naylor Road property where police found Bills’ body. He also allegedly participated in the Sept. 21 holdup with Hill.

* Brad Srebnik, 35. It’s unclear whether Srebnik is connected to Bills beyond the fact that police and the prosecutor accuse him of participating in the alleged Sept. 21 holdup with Wirgau and Hill.

THE TIMELINE

Check out this interactive timeline of police’s investigation into the deaths of Brynn Bills and Abby Hill. Story continues below timeline.

A timeline of major events in the investigation into Bills’ death:

* Early Aug.: Bills goes missing. The exact date isn’t clear. Her father said she was last seen alive Aug. 1, though police have indicated it may have been as late as Aug. 3.

* Aug. 27: Police first report Bills missing and seek the public’s help in finding her.

* Sept. 21: Wirgau allegedly holds a man at gunpoint to demand a ride from Naylor Road to near the intersection of Lacomb and Haken roads. Hill and Srebnik, also armed, are also in the vehicle.

* Sept. 27: Police arrest Wirgau on charges related to the alleged holdup.

* Sept. 28: Police find Bills’ body buried on Wirgau’s Naylor Road property.

* Sept. 30: Police arrest Srebnik.

* Oct. 5: Police report Hill missing.

* Oct. 6: Police search the area near the Lacomb-Haken intersection.

* Oct. 15: Police find a body they believe to be Hill in a wooded area in Alpena Township.

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