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      Missing Mt. Pleasant woman found dead, suspect arraigned

      John Douglas White of Mt. Pleasant is accused of murdering Rebekah Jane Gay.

      A 55-year-old Deerfield Township man is accused of killing 24-year-old Rebekah Gay of Mt. Pleasant, who was reported missing Wednesday.

      The Isabella County Sheriff's department says Gay's body was found in a wooded area near Pickard and Coldwater roads in Mt. Pleasant, just a mile north of her home. Investigators believe John Douglas White, an acquaintance of Gay's, killed Gay at her home between 2 and 4 a.m. Wednesday, then hid her body. Authorities say it appears Gay was hit over the head several times with a rubber mallet, then strangled with a zip-tie. Investigators found a mallet and some bloodied towels near Pickard and Woodruff roads. Gay's cell phone was found in a dumpster near Gay's home.

      Gay was reported missing on Wednesday. Family members said they hadn't seen Gay since 6:50 a.m., and never showed up to work that morning.

      White was arraigned Thursday in Isabella County Trial court on first-degree and open murder charges. He is currently in Isabella County Jail. A preliminary examination is scheduled for Nov. 8 at 8:15 a.m. in Judge Willam Rush's courtroom.

      Investigators also tell NBC25, Gay's 3-year-old son was in the home when the homicide occurred. The boy is with his father.