Woman’s death at Faster Horses ruled accidental


The Police rule Faster Horses death of Melissa Havens an accident.

Story and photos
By John Hummer

Melissa Havens, front, is pictured below with her daughter, Kayliee, and her sister, Theresa.

The mystery of what happened to Melissa Havens, the 30-year-old woman from Croswell who died at the Faster Horses concert at Michigan International Speedway in July, appears to have been solved. Havens, 30, was found dead at 7:30 a.m. on July 17 at the music festival in Brooklyn, Michigan. There was no foul play, according to the Michigan State Police.

“I can confirm that it’s been ruled as an accident,” said MSP Monroe Post Detective Sgt. Mike Peterson Monday afternoon. “We are no longer looking at it like it’s a homicide.”

Initial reports right after Faster Horses indicated that police were asking for help in identifying a black male with short black hair and a black beard who was seen with Havens before her death.

Melissa’s sister, Theresa Havens, spoke with the lead investigator Monday, MSP Sgt. Daniel Drewyor, and received information on the case. “Yes, they did talk to him and there was no foul play. There were no signs that he tried to hurt her – nothing like that. Honestly, it was just an accident.”

She stated that Melissa was seated in a camping chair when her accidental death occurred. “When she fell asleep or whatever, she must have went forward and all of her blood and everything went to her heart and her head, and that’s how she passed away.” (more below)

Theresa said that in addition to Melissa, their mother went to Faster Horses along with their aunt. “When my aunt and mom jumped out of the camper and went over to her, she was gone.” A couple of her cousins were at a different campsite.

“When my mom found her, it looked like the chair was kind of collapsed in a little bit,” she said. “She was either trying to get up or was falling out of it, and it looked like it cut off her circulation from the lungs up, or the neck up.”

Theresa noted that alcohol was likely a factor that contributed to her death. “Her blood level of alcohol was obviously pretty high.”

Despite knowing what happened now, it is still extremely hard for Theresa to process what happened. “I’m never going to have closure,” she said. “She left a 7-year-old – she just turned seven Oct. 1. It’s been really hard, honestly. I mean, it’s her mother.” Theresa, 25, now has full custody of Melissa’s daughter, Kayliee. (more below)

Melissa, apparently, wasn’t a shy woman. “Melissa was very, very outgoing,” Theresa says. “She was a social butterfly – she always wanted to do something, either with Kayliee or with friends. She would make that little girl happy if she only had a dollar in her name. Nothing mattered but love.”

Theresa said Melissa did not have a job at the time of death because she was on disability.

Theresa added that she lost her father, Kayliee’s grandpa, on Sept. 6, Labor Day, as well. He had progressive multiple sclerosis. “Honestly, I think it was more of a broken heart,” she stated. “His last words were, ‘Melissa, come here.’ It was hard.” (more below)

Theresa’s mother helps out some with Kayliee, as well as Kayliee’s uncle. “Nana gets her sometimes when she wants her,” Theresa noted. She also says that her boyfriend, Steven Haffner, is helping out tremendously. “He has a job and is going to work for us and keeping a house over our head right now. He didn’t ask for this, and neither did I, and we’re taking it – taking it by the horns, I guess.”

If there is anything else Theresa wishes for, it’s that Faster Horses is made a safer event. She hopes for more police presence and security to put more eyes on what goes on at the event and in the campgrounds to prevent more deaths from occurring.

A new GoFundMe page has been set up to help with Kayliee’s future home. The page states, in part, “She is still living in her grandpa’s old house but in a few months will have to move out to find a better home to live in. We’re asking for any and all to find Kayliee a new home where she can play, study, and be safe. A new home to make new and happy memories with her family and friends.”

To get to the fundraiser, visit and search for “Help Kayliee save for a home.”



Santa and Mrs. Claus are preparing their sleigh, so it’s time for you to prepare your float for Brooklyn’s Christmas Parade as well. The parade will be held Friday, November 26 in conjunction with the annual tree lighting ceremony in downtown Brooklyn. So get to work! The parade route has been extended to wind its way through town, and it is one of the great nights in the community! Stay tuned for more details coming in the weeks leading up to the event in the Exponent.


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