Details of Disappearance Renkoski was a substitute teacher from DeWitt Township, Michigan near Okemos in 1990. She dropped her mother off at Detroit Metro Airport on May 24, 1990, then turned around to go home.
Renkoski apparently stopped on the westbound shoulder of Interstate 96 one-half mile from the Fowlerville, Michigan exit at 3:30 p.m. She was last seen speaking with two unidentified African-American males on May 24, 1990. They were standing near a maroon or burgundy minivan. A photo of a similar van is posted with this case summary. There may have been a third man in or near the van. Renkoski was seen gesturing, throwing her hands up in the air, and one of the men put his hand on her shoulder.
A motorist who saw Renkoski and the individual at approximately 3:30 p.m. became concerned when he passed Renkoski's vehicle at the same location four hours later at approximately 7:30 p.m. Investigators were summoned to the scene at that time and found Renkoski's silver 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais abandoned.
The keys were in the ignition, the lights and radio were on, the doors were unlocked and the engine was idling. The driver's side door was unlocked and Renkoski's purse, wallet and shoes were found inside the vehicle, as well as an open bottle of beer. There was no damage to the vehicle. Renkoski has never been seen again.
Authorities are not sure why Renkoski was speaking to the unidentified men and they do not know if they were connected in any way to her disappearance, but her family says she would have stopped if she saw someone she knew.
Renkoski was close with her mother and was also engaged to be married in November 1990. Family members told investigators that Renkoski may have been having problems with her fiance in May 1990, but it is not believed she chose to voluntarily leave the area for that reason, and her fiance has been ruled out as a suspect. She had recently deposited a large sum of money in her bank account at the time she vanished, which was untouched following her disappearance. She did not have any travel plans.
Three unsolved abduction/murders of young women occurred in the 1980s in the general area where Renkoski vanished. At around the same time, there were multiple incidents of people impersonating police officers and showing fake badges to motorists to get them to stop. It is not known if these murders and other incidents are related to Renkoski's disappearance.
Authorities reopened Renkoski's case in the late 1990s. An unidentified inmate in a Michigan prison was named as a suspect in Renkoski's case in May 2001. The man was in prison for carjacking; his victim was a young woman and the crime occurred only weeks after Renkoski disappeared. Police interviewed the suspect several times and believed he had been one of the men Renkoski spoke to shortly before she went missing, but when the individual took a lie detector test, he passed and investigators eliminated him from their inquiry.
Sketches of six suspects in Renkoski's disappearance are posted with this case summary. They have never been identified. Foul play is now suspected in her case.
- Livingston County Sheriff's Department
- Michigan State Police
Updated 9 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated May 16, 2020; distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.