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HOUGHTON COUNTY — Local 3 has covered the case of Leah Harding since the Houghton County woman went missing four years ago. To begin with part one of Leah’s story, click here. Today, we continue with part three of the report.

“Every place I look and I don’t find her is a place closer to finding her,” says Camie Harding, Leah’s mom.

It’s been four years since Leah Harding disappeared without a trace. Her cell phone found on the bank of a river, wiped clean, bank accounts untouched. For four years, Leah’s family has not given up their search.

Camie continues, “I never realized what a mass it is to look for a body and that’s what we were looking for.”

But what happened to Leah?

“Oh…that’s the million dollar question,” answer Pat Butler, Retired Michigan State Trooper, who unofficially worked on the case. 

Leah’s family and retired Butler believe that she is dead: killed by her abusive boyfriend, Camiel VanHaecke before she could turn him over to police for breaking in to cabins. But Camiel denies it and he was never charged with her disappearance. So now, all the family can do is hope.

“It’s time she comes home. She needs peace too,” says Brandi Cote, Leah’s cousin.

Four years since Leah went missing a new tip…Leah might not have been so far away from home as originally thought. In fact, just nearly 20 minutes from home at Emily Lake.

“I didn’t think of checking under the lakes and we fished out there this summer. We camped at Emily Lake,” says Camie Harding.

But until the ice melts, there is little the family can do but wait and remember the good times and enjoy their time raising Leah’s daughter, Carly, now ten years old.

“She’s a tough cookie just like Leah,” says Camie.

“She’s a spitting image of Leah,” adds Brandi.

Camie continues, “She is. I just hope there’s a Heaven and Leah’s looking down because Leah was such a tomboy and climbed trees and did everything…wheelies…Carly’s doing wheelies and everything but she’s doing it with makeup on and skirts.”

But the search will continue to find Leah.

“I never did find her in my years of trying. He’s not that good. He probably made a major mistake, we just haven’t found it,” says Pat Butler.

Reporter Korinne Griffith asks the family, “Where are you guys going to go from here? We’re at four years that she’s been gone.”

Brandi quickly responds, “Forward. Only way we can go is forward.”

You can keep up to date with information and future searches for Leah on the “Help Find Leah Harding” facebook page. If you have any information on this case contact the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office at (906)482-0055 or submit an anonymous tip online at

Local 3 News has reached out to the Houghton County Sheriff’s Department multiple times and is waiting to schedule an interview.

See PART ONE of this story HERE.

See PART TWO of this story HERE.

Click here to go to the “Help Find Leah Harding” Facebook page.