Kirsten Renee Hatfield

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3 4 AP
Top Row and Bottom Left and Center: Kirsten, circa 1997;
Bottom Right: Age-progression to age 24 (circa 2013)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: May 14, 1997 from Midwest City, Oklahoma
  • Classification: Non-Family Abduction
  • Date Of Birth: February 12, 1989
  • Age: 8 years old
  • Height and Weight: 4'2, 55 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Kirsten has a mole on the bridge of her nose near her left eye, and a discoloration on her neck. Her two upper front teeth are permanent and her ears are pierced. Kirsten stuttered when she spoke at the time of her 1997 disappearance, and she is left-handed. Her nickname is Kurdle Burdle.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: An adult-size white t-shirt with the phrase "Bud Bowl" imprinted on the front.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Kirsten was last seen inside her family's residence in the 1100 block of Jet Drive in Midwest City, Oklahoma on May 13, 1997. She was in her bedroom with her three-year-old sister at approximately 11:30 p.m. when her mother put her to bed. Her mother checked the bedroom again between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m. on May 14 and discovered that Kirsten was missing. Small amounts of blood were discovered on the room's window sill and on the backyard's six-foot cyclone fence. The bedroom window was cracked open and Kirsten's ripped, bloodstained underpants were located in the backyard. There was no sign of her and she has not been seen again.

    Authorities have stated they think Kirsten was harmed by someone close to her, possibly a relative, as they don't believe a stranger would have been able to carry her out the window and over the fence without a struggle or any noise. Several individuals close to her failed polygraphs after her disappearance, but there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone. Kirsten's mother was involved with drugs at the time of Kirsten's disappearance and said she believed someone she knows, possibly someone connected to the drug culture, abducted the child.

    In October 2015, Anthony Joseph Palma was arrested and charged with Kirsten's abduction and murder. A photo of Palma is posted below this case summary. He lived two doors down from Kirsten's home at the time of her disappearance, and was still living there at the time of his arrest. Authorities matched his DNA to the blood found on Kirsten's bedroom windowsill and on her underwear. They believe Kirsten was kidnapped for the purpose of sexual assault and murdered shortly after her abduction. In the month following his murder arrest in 2015, while in jail, he unsuccessfully attempted suicide by slashing his wrists.

    Palma was convicted of breaking into a woman's home and assaulting her in 1982. In 1979 or 1980, he may have sexually abused an eight-year-old girl in a crime similar to Kirsten's disappearance: he allegedly broke into the girl's bedroom through her window one night and molested her. Police who responded to the scene noticed his truck parked near the girl's residence, and he knew the victim; he was dating her older sister. He was not charged in the case due to lack of evidence. In 1998, a woman who lived with Palma accused him of drugging her and raping her; he wasn't charged in that case either, however. The prosecution is hoping to be able to tell the jury about Palma's criminal conviction and the other sex crime accusations during his upcoming trial in Kirsten's case.

    Palma is awaiting trial for the murder. If convicted, he could possibly be sentenced to death. Foul play is suspected in Kirsten's disappearance due to the circumstances involved.

    Palma
    Above: Anthony Palma

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Midwest City Police Department
    405-739-1330

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    Source Information
    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
    Child Protection Education Of America
    The Polly Klaas Foundation
    Nation's Missing Children Organization
    Child Watch
    NewsLibrary
    Unsolved in the News
    KFOR 4
    NamUs
    Child Quest International Inc.
    HLNTV
    News 9
    KFSM
    News on 6
    KOCO Oklahoma City

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    Updated 10 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated May 13, 2016; details of disappearance updated.

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