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Family, friends, remember Brynn Bills as caring, outgoing

Courtesy Photo Brynn Bills, of Alpena, plays with leaves in this undated photo taken from Facebook with the permission of her father, Duane Bills, of Fairview.

ALPENA — The people who knew Alpena’s Brynn Bills best use words like caring, outgoing, funny, and smart to describe her.

Bills’ father, Duane Bills, said that, when he reflects on his daughter, he thinks of her curiosity, love for the Alpena area’s natural resources, and her love and compassion for others.

“She was so spontaneous and outgoing and just loved to have fun,” Duane Bills, of Fairview, said Tuesday. “She liked to hang out with her friends, play volleyball, loved to be outdoors, and was a free spirit who deeply cared about others.”

Acting on a tip, police discovered Brynn Bills’ body last week buried behind an Alpena Township home. She had been missing since early August.

The cause of and circumstances surrounding her death remain under investigation. Police have arrested the homeowner, Joshua Wirgau, and another man, Brad Srebnik, on charges unrelated to her death. Police consider Wirgau a person of interest in their investigation, but have no suspects.

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.

Police on Tuesday said another woman, Abby HIll — who is connected to Wirgau and Srebnik and apparently knew Brynn Bills — has gone missing and may be endangered. Hill also is wanted on charges in the same alleged incident that led to charges against the two men.

Brynn Bills would have turned 18 on Aug. 12.

Those close to her said she had a zest for life.

Duane Bills said that, as his daughter moved through school, she leaned toward becoming a nurse after high school so she could help those who needed it the most.

Cenia Banks, Brynn Bills’ mother, described her daughter as bubbly, caring, and witty. She said Brynn Bills had a great sense of humor and was very intelligent.

Courtesy Photo Brynn Bills, of Alpena, poses in this undated photo taken from her Facebook with the permission of her father, Duane Bills, of Fairview.

Banks said Brynn Bills was on the honor roll throughout elementary school and junior high, but admitted her grades slumped in high school.

“She was so smart,” Banks said. “Her teachers and principals always described her as intelligent and bright. She was also a lot of fun. She was the life of the party and loved to pull pranks.”

Banks said her daughter loved music of all types, especially rock and heavy metal, as well as country and rap. She said Brynn Bills also liked drama and took part in several plays in school.

Many of Brynn Bills’ friends and family have changed their social media profile pictures to photos of Brynn Bills as a tribute to her and the relationships she had with them. Thousands of people have joined a Facebook group called Justice for Brynn and posted memories, photos, condolences, and updates on the police investigation.

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Jack Peace said he’d been close friends with Brynn Bills for more than five years. He said that, when he closes his eyes and thinks about her, her smile comes to his mind first.

“I know that sounds cliche, but it’s absolutely true,” Peace said. “She always had an endless supply of happiness, no matter what was happening around her. We always hung out with friends, and she loved to walk through the woods.”

A memorial and celebration of Brynn Bills’ life is scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Lost Creek Sky Ranch. Guests will have an opportunity to share their feelings about Brynn Bills.

A 5K, silent auction, and bake sale will follow. The proceeds from those events will help cover costs associated with her funeral. Later in the night, guests will participate in a bonfire, music, and the launch of 18 lighted lanterns to represent and celebrate the girl’s 18th birthday.

Asked what he will miss most about his friend, Peace had a one-word response:

“Everything,” he said. “I will miss everything about her.”

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