WESTLAND, Mich (wxyz) - Two decomposing bodies found in a vacant Detroit field Friday appeared to have been shot and are believed to be two suburban teens reported missing after visiting a relative on the city's east side, according to an official close to the investigation.
Detroit Police sources say they believe they are Jacob Kudla and Jourdan Bobbish, missing since last Sunday night. Autopsies are expected to be performed Saturday. Both families have provided the necessary dental records.
"We're hoping ... maybe the bodies belong to somebody else," said Reba Jacobs, Kudla's cousin, who said police told the family that no positive identification had been made.
She said Kudla, a Schoolcraft College student known as "Jake," and Bobbish, a high school senior, "are like brothers" and often go to Detroit. "We have a grandma and uncles who live on Detroit's east side, and it's normal for them to visit," Jacobs said.
Jake and Jourdan were last seen Sunday night when they went to visit an Uncle in Detroit. The car they were driving was found Monday behind a rundown Detroit apartment, Two men were arrested at the apartment and told police they were just stealing parts from it. They are still being held and are being called persons of interest in the case of the two Westland teens, Jake is 18, Jourdan is 17.
Both families searched all week long for the two good friends, putting up flyers and knocking on doors at and near the apartment where the car was found.
Bobbish family friend Jeff Nicholoff of Brighton, who searched earlier in the week, called it a "tragic situation."
"It's a lesson to all of us that if you don't belong down here you've got no business being down here or anywhere near this situation," Nicholoff said Friday, about a block from where the bodies were found. "Especially those young guys. Those guys were about as sheltered as you can be."
The area where the bodies were found is mostly obscured by 3- to 5-foot-high vegetation, littered with car tires, moldering furniture and other trash. The few remaining occupied homes are spaced out, while vacant structures teeter over crumbling concrete foundations.
The area is one to avoid, said 46-year-old Hazel Walker, one of the few people who live nearby.
"There is just too much going on and no one seems to care," Walker said.
Walker, who was holding binoculars that she used to survey the neighborhood, said crews had just been in the area Thursday to cut grass on vacant lots. They only trimmed grass within several feet of the street and stopped near where the bodies were found.
"There's no street lights down there," said Danyele Hardin, 36, who grew up on the street and whose father still lives there. "There's no telling what you'd find down there."
She said the neighborhood went into decline in the 1980s when drug activity increased and now there only are two other occupied homes on her father's block.
"This block was so beautiful," she said. "Just like a neighborhood you would want to live in and raise your children in."
About 20 miles to the west at Kudla's home, family and friends gathered Friday afternoon to console each other. Strangers dropped off pizza, sandwiches, hugs and well-wishes.
"There are good people out there with compassion," said Rhonda Ruiz, one of Kudla's relatives.
Now both families hold on to a thread of hope, waiting for word from the medical examiner and knowing it doesn't look good.
Virgie Kudla said "I've got alot of support, that's all I can say now, we are too distraught."
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