Next week, on December 20, Brian and Jen Woehlke would have celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary, but Brian, a Wayne-Westland firefighter, was killed in the line of duty over the summer and now Jen is desperate for anyone with information about the arson to give investigators the tip they need to solve the case.
Jen Woehlke, an elementary school teacher, talked to 7 Action News about her heartache and wanting answers for Brian's loved ones including the daughter who was everything to her husband.
Ava was just 13 months old when Brian died while battling the blaze that destroyed Marvaso's Italian Grille and the Electric Stick pool hall next door. George Marvaso is the owner of the two businesses on North Wayne Road in Westland that were destroyed.
When the businesses caught fire on May 8, Woehlke was part of the team of firefighters from the Wayne-Westland Fire Department battling the blaze, but Woehlke, who grew up wanting to be a firefighter like his grandfather, was the only one who didn't make it out alive.
"He was just an amazing person," said Jen Woehlke as she tried fighting back tears that only scratch the surface of her pain and the heartache she feels when she thinks of Ava growing up without her father. "He lived for that girl...she was everything to him."
"She's going to know from us how great of a man he was, but to not hold his hand.. to not have him be there," said Jen through her tears. "It's not fair. It's not fair to her."
When arson investigators determined that the fire had been intentionally set, Woehlke's death was ruled a homicide and Michigan State Police began investigating it as a crime. Anyone with information on who set the fire or the motive is urged to call the MSP Special Investigations Section at (877)616-4677.
Jen said when her daughter is old enough to know that her dad died from "something so senseless", she's going to want "some clarity" and that is why she is pleading to anyone with information to tell investigators what they know. "Someone knows something.. and we just need some answers."