Stacy DeGrandchamp was not the kind of person to get into physical fights.
The 18-year-old who died from stab wounds Aug. 15, 2002, “never went anywhere looking for a fight,” said her cousin Jamie McMillen, who was as close as a sister to DeGrandchamp and lived three blocks away on the same street.
On Wednesday, after nearly 18 years, Holly Boisvert, 33, was arrested in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and charged with murder in DeGrandchamp's death. She will be extradited to Allen County, Fort Wayne police say.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Boisvert, 15 at the time, burst into a home in the 1300 block of Guthrie Street, threatening to beat up DeGrandchamp. Boisvert changed into sweatpants and pulled back her hair, but apparently no one at the party of about 20 people saw her with a knife. She admitted last year to detectives that she took a knife to the party, according to court records.
DeGrandchamp went to the party to see a boy, McMillen said. Her cousin was going into her senior year at Wayne High School and had started to focus more seriously on academics and volleyball.
“She was somebody who was passionate about her future. She wanted to be a computer technologist, wanted to attend Ball State University,” McMillen said. “Our mothers are twins, so we practically did everything together growing up.”
Over the years, to help Rita Schroeder, DeGrandchamp's mother, get through the pain and suffering of losing her only child, people from this large, close-knit Catholic family contacted the Allen County prosecutor's office and the FWPD Detective Bureau to ask for updates on the case. For weeks this year, they were in contact with Brian Martin, the FWPD homicide detective assigned to new and cold cases.
On Wednesday, Martin and homicide Detective Ben MacDonald drove to Fond du Lac to make the arrest with the help of local police.
“Finally to hear 'yes, we're going to arrest her' was the most amazing thing to hear. We're beyond happy right now,” McMillen said Thursday.
Martin told The Journal Gazette on Wednesday that he reopened the case after speaking with DeGrandchamp's family and realizing that witnesses were still willing to cooperate.
If there's one question McMillen would put to Boisvert, it would be this: “How could you live with yourself almost 18 years after you did this?”
Boisvert willingly turned over the knife she used to detectives in April 2019, police said, surprising McMillen and the family that she had it.
Boisvert also tearfully suggested that DeGrandchamp was “her best friend,” something McMillen said wasn't true although the two knew each other, according to a Fond du Lac detective sent to interview Boisvert on behalf of the FWPD.
In Boisvert's version of the evening, DeGrandchamp disparaged one of Boisvert's friends and that “set her off,” the probable cause affidavit said. They got “in each other faces” until one friend/witness separated the two girls.
Then Boisvert claims that DeGrandchamp attacked her from behind and the fight continued over to the recycling bins, court records said.
One of the witnesses said Boisvert started arguing with DeGrandchamp. The argument escalated into a fight with kicking and hair pulling before the witness pulled them apart, court records said.
DeGrandchamp got up to leave but collapsed and fell to the ground. The witness noticed blood on DeGrandchamp's shirt, the affidavit said.
DeGrandchamp died due to a stab wound in the chest, the Allen County coroner ruled the day after the incident. She was also stabbed in the abdomen, the coroner's report said.
“Stacy was brought up in a religious Catholic family, very loving. We all have been very close, so this hit home for a lot of us. Her grandparents were all still alive,” McMillen said.
In the next few months, “the family expects to be reliving everyone's worst nightmare, and it's losing Stacy,” McMillen said.
They expect to get justice for DeGrandchamp, but it's not enough, McMillen said. “Stacy didn't get to live. She didn't have a life.”
They are thankful for Martin and the Fort Wayne police.
“I can't say enough praise to the Fort Wayne Police Department and the detectives who worked this case. (Martin's) full efforts to make the arrest and bring our families closer to justice is something that you can never repay someone for,” she said.