On November 17, 2023, at 7:20 P.M., after days of testimony by law enforcement, ex-girlfriends, and expert witness, Daykota Dallas Handrich, 25, was found guilty by a jury in the 49th Circuit Court of Murder in the 1st Degree, an offense that carries a mandatory life sentence.
Sergeant David Flore of Big Rapids Department of Public Safety was checking an area known by Police to be frequented by transients, participating in various illegal activities near the White Pine trail on June 3, 2022, at approximately 1:30 A.M. The victim, Ashley Godfrey, 36, was discovered in a concealed location off the trail under brush and foliage and appeared to have been badly beaten and sexually assaulted.
Officers had assistance from various agencies in the initial hours and days of the crime. Handrich was identified as a person of interest in the early hours of the investigation and was subsequently questioned, arrested, and arraigned on open murder charges. During the course of this investigation and questioning officers determined Handrich to be the sole suspect in Ashley’s murder.
Officers conducted a 15-month long investigation ultimately leading up to the trial in November of 2023. Members of the Michigan Attorney General’s office were assigned to the case to assist with and try the defendant, Handrich. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
The lead investigator, Detective T. Haynes, of the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety was assisted by Big Rapids Police Department officers, Detectives and Troopers of the Michigan State Police, along with members of the Michigan State Police Crime laboratory, members of the Michigan State Police Computer Crimes Unit, and analysts from the Michigan State Police.
Chief Danielle Haynes said, “I am so proud of the diligent work of our officers, and the incredible teamwork between all agencies.”