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Deaths cast shadow over Faster Horses' final day

Faster Horses this weekend
Posted at 10:34 PM, Jul 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 12:28:09-04

JACKSON, Mich. — The Faster Horses Music and Camping Festival is wrapped up its third and final night Sunday. But the spirit of the event was marred after four people died Saturday in two separate incidents.

“We’re very sad to hear it. It’s very disappointing,” attendee Shelby Mellinger said.

On Saturday morning, 30-year-old Melissa Donna Havens was found dead at the festival. Michigan State Police are still investigating the cause of her death. According to police, a black male in his 30’s in a gray hoodie with short black hair and a short beard was seen with Havens 24 hours before she died. They're working to find the man to talk to him.

Then, in a separate incident on Saturday afternoon, three men in their early twenties were found dead in their camper. Two others were taken to the hospital in critical condition. Investigators believe carbon monoxide poisoning is the cause of death. A generator was found near their trailer on the festival's campground.

“Some of the people that were assisting us today are very good friends and relatives of those four individuals, and so there was a lot of somber moments today, and a lot of reflection and everybody feels really bad for those families," Heidi Bartlett, Relay for Life volunteer at the festival, said.

Faster Horses kicked off Friday, and festival-goers were excited to get back out there after the event was canceled last year because of COVID-19. More than 35 artists took the stage during the festival at Michigan International Speedway.

The annual festival draws thousands of people. This year's headliners inluded Luke Combs, Thomas Rhett and Jason Aldean.

According to a post on Facebook, a candlelight vigil will be held Monday night to commemorate the four people who lost their lives over the weekend. It's scheduled for 9:30 p.m. at the Michigan Center High School Football Field.

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