‘Justice for Brittany’ rally set for Saturday in Centreville

A rally will be held on Saturday, March 11 at the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department for Brittany Wallace Shank of Sturgis, who has been missing since 2018. 

The 23-year old woman was last seen after emerging from a car crash in the area of Fawn River Road near Workman Road around 9 p.m. on November 30, 2018. Wallace reportedly walked to nearby homes for help, noticeably bleeding from her arms and feet and without a coat or shoes. When a homeowner attempted to find better cell phone reception in order to call police, Wallace vanished and her cellphone pinged for the last time near the intersection of Watt Road and Fawn River Road in Sturgis. Wallace has not been heard from since and her case remains unsolved.

The cold case gathered national attention after true crime podcast “Hide and Seek” dedicated a third season of the show to Wallace’s disappearance. Host and creator James Basinger’s coverage of the case includes information and interviews from over 200 people, which Baysinger and his team of podcast researchers have shared with detectives.  

Advocates for Wallace in the Sturgis community organized the “Justice for Brittany” rally and hope to achieve two goals. They want to remind the public Wallace is more than just the subject of a true crime podcast or a missing person. An organizer for the event, who requested anonymity, said, “She was a granddaughter, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a friend, a mother, a wife, she’s all these things. That’s the first goal of the rally: to remember her.” The organizer also hopes the rally allows Wallace’s family a space to share memories and their own stories of what their missing family member means to them. 

The second goal of the rally is to support and encourage law enforcement to continue moving forward in Wallace’s case. Organizers say new details in the case have been discovered over the course of the investigation, and they want the sheriff’s department to pursue those new leads. A coordinator for the rally said, “They have done many ground searches, searches with canines, aerial searches, dive team searches…They have been doing their job. We just want to compel them to move forward with this case, and to act on what’s coming to light.”

Wallace’s mother Jessica Rolphe will be in attendance for the event on Saturday morning as well as other family members, and a representative from the Hide and Seek podcast. Undersheriff Jason Bingaman told Watershed Voice, “We’re going to have a deputy there just for security purposes, but we’ve already told the organizers that we are not going to make any kind of official statement or anything like that.”

Those involved in the event want the Justice for Brittany rally to remind the public of certain details in her case, like the male who was with her on the night she disappeared is still unidentified. “We also want the public to know that her social media accounts have been continually tampered with, and with that you’re losing valuable information,” they said. 

Advocates for Wallace said her family has not had much public or community support, and it’s time for the community to step up and encourage her loved ones. “Please come and show this family that our community cares, that Brittany’s life has value, and that Brittany’s life matters. We may not know her, but let’s support this family. They need us desperately at this time,” the organizer said.

The Justice for Brittany rally will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 11 at the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department located at 650 E Main St. in Centreville. 

Beca Welty is a staff writer and columnist for Watershed Voice.