Karen Elizabeth Knechtel Mero

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Above Images: Mero, circa 1997


Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: February 15, 1997 from McCloud, California
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: May 21, 1969
  • Age: 27 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'8, 170 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, green eyes. Mero has a scar on her face near her nose and a surgical scar on her lower abdomen from a liver transplant. Her upper front row of teeth are capped. Some agencies give her name as "Karen Knichtel Mero" or "Karin Elizabeth Mero."
  • Medical Conditions: Mero had a liver transplant in 1994 and must take anti-rejection drugs regularly to survive. She takes other prescription medications as well. Mero is classified as disabled.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Mero was last seen in McCloud, California on February 15, 1997. She was apparently last seen on the front porch the residence of Ed Henline Sr. and his wife Deborah. The couple lived on east Minnesota Avenue in McCloud at the time and Mero formerly lived at their home with her boyfriend, Ed Henline Jr. She has never been seen again.

    Mero was not reported as a missing person to law enforcement until October 1997, eight months after she disappeared. Authorities and her parents initially believed she had left of her own accord, as she had a warrant out for her arrest. But as months passed with no indication of Mero's whereabouts, the police and her family became concerned for her welfare. She was separated from her husband at the time of her disappearance, and her only income was $700 a month in disability payments.

    Another young woman, Hannah Zaccaglini, also vanished from the same locale as Mero in February 1997, four months after Mero's disappearance. The Henlines were questioned in both cases and their home was searched by law enforcement, and in 2012, both Ed Henline Sr. and his son Ed Jr. were charged with Hannah's murder. The charges were dropped for lack of evidence in May 2013. Authorities maintain that the Henlines remain possible suspects in both cases, however. Ed and Deborah were accused of writing fraudulent checks on Mero's bank account after she disappeared. They were also arrested on drug charges in 1999.

    Another possible suspect in both Zaccaglini and Mero's cases is Wesley Howard Shermantine. A photo of Shermantine is posted below this case summary. It is not known if Shermantine is involved in either Zaccaglini or Mero's disappearances. Both cases remain unsolved.

    Above: Shermatine, circa 2001


    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office

    Federal Bureau Of Investigation
    Redding, California Office

    Siskiyou County Secret Witness


    Source Information
    The Siskiyou Daily News
    The Redding Record Searchlight
    The Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Foundation
    California Attorney General's Office
    The Mount Shasta Herald, Weed Press, and Dunsmuir News
    The Doe Network


    Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated October 20, 2007; picture added.

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