Details of Disappearance Michael was last seen in the Kansas River near Maple Hill, Kansas during the early afternoon on August 15, 2007. He was on an outing with his father, three of his brothers, and four friends. The river's current at the time was somewhat faster than normal, about twelve to fifteen miles per hour. Michael and two other children were wading in about two feet of water on a sand bar by the river's edge, about 250 yards west of the Maple Hill Bridge. The sand bar collapsed just before everyone was about to return to shore. All of the children were rescued with the exception of Michael; he disappeared from sight in the water and has never been heard from again. He is assumed to have drowned. An extensive search of the river, lasting several days, turned up no sign of him.
Michael, one of five boys in his family, was an altar boy at Saint John Vianney Catholic Church in the 14600 block of Waterman Crossing Road south of Maple Hill. The Zapletal family had begun attending the church in 2004; it's one of only about 160 in the country where Mass is still conducted in Latin. Michael was supposed to begin the fourth grade at the parish school, where his father taught fifth and sixth grades, on August 22; the start of the school year was delayed by one day because of his disappearance. His family held a funeral service for him in September 2007, but his body has never been never found.
- Shawnee County Sheriff's Office
Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 18, 2016; picture added, distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.