Details of Disappearance Kelsey was last seen at the Western Lights Plaza in the 100 block of Velasko Road between Grand Avenue and Onondaga Boulevard in Syracuse, New York on August 22, 1984. She was shopping with her family.
Her former boyfriend, Ronald L. Tillinghast, approached her while she was in the jewelry section at K-Mart and asked her to marry him, but Kelsey refused. Afterwards, she and her Tillinghast left together on his bicycle. He later said he dropped her off at 5:30 p.m. at Fayette and North Geddes Streets. She has never been heard from again. Her loved ones filed a missing persons report the next day.
Authorities initially believed Kelsey may have left of her own accord, but as time passed without her contacting anyone, they began to suspect foul play. She does not have a prior history of leaving without warning.
Tillinghast, whom she had dated for eight years, cooperated with the investigation at first, but dropped out of sight after a few days. A month later, after he was arrested for probation violation, he said he had been camping along Onondaga Lake. Investigators searched the campsite, but turned up no evidence in Kelsey's disappearance.
A photo of Tillinghast is posted with this case summary. He still lives in Syracuse and is a registered sex offender; he was convicted of attempted rape in 1999. He also has an arrest record for theft which predates Kelsey's disappearance.
Kelsey lived in the 100 block of north Geddes Street in 1994. Her case remains unsolved.
- Syracuse Police Department
Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated May 7, 2019; distinguishing characteristics and clothing/jewelry description updated.