Daughter finally tracks down her mother's grave

Updated: Saturday, February 28, 2015
Daughter finally tracks down her mother's grave story image

FLINT, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The story made headlines in Kalamazoo County in the early eighties.  Jeanne Henkels and Adam Modelski were newlyweds, when Henkels disappeared.

Modelski was charged with her murder--and convicted of manslaughter--even before her remains were eventually found in 1987 in Indiana.

Henkel’s daughter Amber Harville was given up for adoption at birth, all she knew about her mother was the tragic story of how she died.

And for years she has searched, unable to track down where her mother was buried.

"I just wanted to know I didn't fall out of the sky, I know I belonged to somebody and I didn't know who," says Harville.

As Amber researched her mother she found there were no relatives still alive who knew anything about where she was buried.

"I knew she was buried, I just didn't know where, I wrote a list of every cemetery in Kalamazoo, just started from the top."

When that didn't work and she couldn’t get any answers she turned to Newschannel Three for help. 

We researched death records in Kalamazoo County, which led us to more records from Noble County, Indiana, where Henkel’s remains were found.  Those records then led us to Flint and the Calvary Cemetery.

And we went along as Amber saw her mom’s headstone for the first time.

"I'm happy, it may not seem like it but I am, I'm happy, I'm beyond happy, I feel relief a little, I finally found her."

Amber, who now lives in Flint says she'll be back for regular visits.

"It's one of the last pieces of my puzzle, my life's always been a puzzle, I've had to put the pieces together as I go.  This is one of the last pieces into place."

She says she always felt cheated knowing she would never meet her mother but says this is now the next best thing.

"I have an extra angel watching over me now and the kids, a beautiful angel at that."


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