20-year mystery solved, loved ones speak out

Janet and Mark Davies disappeared almost 21 years ago. (WEYI)

Authorities said they found the wreckage of a Howell couple's small plane near Saint Ignace in the upper peninsula Thursday.

The mystery of what happened to Janet and Mark Davies remained unsolved for more than 20 years, until now, giving closure to a family.

"Pretty much everyone had given up hope that they'd be found in our lifetimes." Michael Smith, of Linden, said.

For two decades, Smith has wondered what happened to his sister Janet and her husband Mark.

"I found out yesterday," he said. "I got a phone call."

Officials said a surveyor found the plane in a wooded area up north.

They said they believed the plane belonged to Mark and Janet based on the tail number.

Smith said Janet and Mark were headed home to Howell from Drummond Island in Lake Huron in 1997.

He said Mark was the pilot.

"He was not that experienced and I would not fly with him," he added.

Smith said the plane was seen on a radar flying south when suddenly it turned around, flying in the opposite direction and disappeared.

"I know it bothered my parents," Smith said. "It really bothered my mother. She died two years ago."

Smith said his father died in February, before he had a chance to get some closure of his own.

He said his father was in the U.S. Air Force and truly believed if he was on the plane with them, things would've been different.

Janet's sister-in-law said there's no doubt in her mind that her father-in-law had a hand in this discovery.

"I look at his face and I think, 'Oh, he found her,'" she said. "He's the one that found her."

On his parents' grave markers, Smith said they put his sister's name and the words, "lost at sea".

He said they will finally be able to put "laid to rest".

He said he will be giving police his DNA sample to confirm the remains are his sisters and then they will have a small ceremony for Janet and Mark.

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