2 Family Dollar employees killed

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Photo courtesy of the Dearborn Police Department
Dearborn police are asking for help in identifying this man, who is the suspect wanted for questioning for the homicide of two Family Dollar employees last week. The DPD is asking anyone with information to contact them at 313-943-2241.

Second body found near Rouge River 3 days after in-store shooting

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN – Police are still investigating to see just what happened at the Family Dollar in west Dearborn that left one employee dead inside the store and another found dead after a possible abduction.

They are seeking the help of the community is obtaining answers.

Dearborn police officers were called to the store, at 22631 Michigan Ave., the morning of July 16 by employees who found it in disarray. In their search, police discovered the body of Joseph Orlando, a 20-year-old new employee of the store who apparently had been killed by a gunshot.

They also found that a second employee, an assistant manager who was working with Orlando the previous night, could not be accounted for. A search for Brenna Kathleen Machus, 20, of Romulus, was begun immediately as police believed her to be in danger.

Machus’ body was found about 8 a.m. Thursday after a 911 call led police to the wooded area just south of Michigan Avenue and just east of the Southfield Freeway. The body was found near the Rouge River.

Surveillance footage from Family Dollar shows a man entering the store alone at 7:26 p.m. July 15. He was wearing blue jeans, white tennis shoes and a black hoodie with the hood covering his head and face. He appears to wave after entering the store but who or what he is waving at is not in the scope of the camera.

The Police Department released the video of the suspect entering the store and is asking anyone with any information to contact the department.

Police Chief Ronald Haddad said the motive for the killing is unclear, as is what may have been taken from the store.

Haddad also announced that the department has made contact with both women who were customers in the store shortly before the incident. He said the women were in the store from around 7:25 to 7:35 p.m. and may be able to help with the investigation. He added that both women reached out and contacted the police quickly after they learned that the department had an interest in talking with them.

Haddad said that the women were not suspects, but that they might able to help police establish a timetable of events for that night.

According to family members, Machus had transferred to the Dearborn store in the last few weeks after working at several different Family Dollar locations.

Orlando’s grandfather Alan Konkel said that he had only been working at the store for about a week.

“He was just ecstatic and happy about the job and he was smiling all the time,” Konkel said.

Crime Stoppers of Michigan is offering a reward of $2,500 for information leading to the arrest of the killer.

Haddad said the investigation is ongoing.

“All of our resources are currently being utilized to locate, identify and apprehend the perpetrator of this vicious crime,” Haddad said. “We’re going to make sure we do everything we can to bring the families of Joseph and Brenna some closure and some justice.”

He added that the DPD is working with the Michigan State Police and federal investigators on the case.

The DPD is urging anyone with information about the crime to call them immediately at (313) 941-2241. Callers also can contact Crime Stoppers at 800-SPEAK UP.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)

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Photo by Bob Oliver
Above, Dearborn police officers and helpers prepare to search the railroad tracks that run through the woods just south of Michigan Avenue for evidence Thursday. The body of a woman — later identified as Family Dollar employee Brenna Kathleen Machus — was discovered near the Rouge River. Below, the reflection of caution tape can be seen in the window of Family Dollar, 22631 Michigan Ave., July 16 as police investigate the killing of Joseph Orlando.

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