A Michigan state rep is seeking answers after a home she rehabbed for a family in need was completely destroyed without warning.

According to The Washington Post, Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo paid $1,000 for the home in July 2018 and had plans to gift it this Christmas. Instead, last Thursday she was told by a contact at Detroit Blight Busters, an organization that works to rebuild struggling neighborhoods, that the house was completely gone. What now stood in its place was a pile of dirt.  

“It’s just a mystery. The house disappeared,” the Democratic rep told The Detroit News on Monday. “It’s like they dug around (the house) with a spatula and lifted the basement out. There’s nothing there.”

14567 Minock St. shows signs of fire damage. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo was working to rehab it.
14567 Minock St. on Detroit’s west side was damaged in a fire that occurred next door. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo was working to rehab it for a family in need. (Sherry Gay-Dagnogo Twitter)

The story is a true case of “whodunit.” Since finding out about the home’s disappearance, Gay-Dagnogo says she has been unable to pin down exactly who did it or why. A rep from the Detroit Building Authority said in a statement to The Detroit News that the demolition was not ordered. And the city’s data portal was void of any information about plans to demolish 14567 Minock St. on the city’s west side.

“I have a lot of questions,” she said in an interview with the Detroit Free Press. “There’s no record at all at the city, from what they can find so far, that has anything about my house being torn down. They have no idea. It’s a mystery. I’m just taken aback and trying to process this. How could this happen?”

Since purchasing the home last year, the founder of the Coalition to Integrate Technology and Education says she invested $42,000 into the structure, fixing the house’s roof, windows, siding, and addressing other miscellaneous issues. The property which was purchased from the Detroit Land Bank Authority was supposed to be transformed into an affordable housing unit for a deserving family.

State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) speaks at podium
State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) 
Photo courtesy of Michigan House Democrats

As the lawmaker works to find answers, she’s offered a $1,000 reward for anyone who can help identify the company that took down her property. She’s also hoping to create legislation that will help prevent this situation from happening to anybody else, ever again.

“To me it raises a question of what could we do better?” Gay-Dagnogo told The Washington Post. “I just believe that you should have certain protocols in place to make sure that, number one, we’re safeguarding citizens’ rights, [and] two, we’re being mindful of the funding that’s being used, which is our tax dollars.” 

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