Freda Loretta Denman

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Above: Denman, circa 1974


Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: November 1974 from Independence, Missouri
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: November 7, 1947
  • Age: 27 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'7, 130 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Denman has a slight build. She wears a dental plate.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Denman disappeared with her son, Michael Johnson, and daughter Sheri Johnson. Denman's husband, Henry Lee Harbison, also known as Henry Johnson, disappeared at the same time as his family. They were not reported missing until March 1975, five months after their disappearance. It was the family's landlord that told the police they had disappeared.

    Police found Denman's clothes still in the closet of their residence. Harbison's clothes and clothes of the children were missing, however. Blood was also found on a cushion in the home, but laboratory tests on the stain were inconclusive.

    It is suspected that Harbison may have murdered his family. Photographs of Harbison are shown below this case summary. He has an extensive criminal background and uses several aliases. His affiliates at the Church of the New Song claim the entire family was murdered. Denman's family believes Denman was murdered and the children were given away.

    Both the Independence police department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were involved in the Denman/Johnson disappearances. The Independence police closed the file on the disappearances, thinking the FBI would follow up on it. It didn't. The case remained closed until 2004, when it was reopened. Investigators are testing the DNA of a prison inmate in Arkansas as a possible match for Michael.

    Due to the unclear circumstances in their disappearances, the Johnson children's cases are classified as non-family abductions. Michael, Sheri, and their mother's cases are still unsolved.

    Harbison 1 Harbison 2 Harbison 3
    Harbison 4 Harbison 5 Harbison 6 Harbison AP
    Top Row and Bottom Three from Left: Henry Lee Harbison, aka Henry Johnson;
    Bottom Right: Age progression of Harbison to an unknown age


    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Independence Police Department


    Source Information
    The Doe Network
    WDAF-TV Fox 4 News


    Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated December 2, 2004.

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