Michele Reidenbach

1 2 AP
Left and Center: Michele, circa 1981;
Right: Age-progression at age 51 (circa 2015)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: October 6, 1981 from Zelienople, Pennsylvania
  • Classification: Non-Family Abduction
  • Date Of Birth: December 29, 1964
  • Age: 16 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'0 - 5'4, 110 - 120 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Dark blonde hair, blue eyes. Some agencies spell Michele's name "Michelle." Her nickname is Shelly. She was a chain smoker in 1981. Michele wears eyeglasses.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A wine-colored v-neck sweater, blue jeans and a gold necklace with a knot pendant.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Michele attended her classes at Seneca Valley High School on October 6, 1981, had her senior class picture taken, and went to Zelienople, Pennyslvania afterwards. She had an after-school job at an appliance store, Mel Den's, in the 200 block of south Main Street. She usually worked there with a classmate, but her co-worker was sick and did not report to work.

    At 4:30 p.m., Michele left the store and walked approximately one block to a pharmacy to buy cold medicine, as she was feeling ill. It was established that Michele did arrive in the store and purchased the medicine. Her boss was the last person known to have seen her; she was standing in the parking lot of the Super Duper supermarket on south Main Street, talking to someone who was sitting in a red car. She never went back to her job and has never been heard from again. She left her purse, schoolbooks, and cigarettes behind at Mel Den's when she vanished. She also left $100 in cash in her dresser at home, money she was saving for a class ring.

    Michele's disappearance was discovered at 4:55 p.m. when her mother came to Mel Den to see her. One of Michele's six older siblings had suffered a stroke several months before and was paralyzed and in the hospital at the time and her mother wanted to know if Michele wished to visit her. She ended up going to the hospital without her. Michele's brother later came to the store as usual to drive her home, but he never saw her. Her mother called police later that evening after Michele did not arrive home.

    Investigators do not believe Michele ran away. She left all her belongings behind and was not having any personal problems at the time of her disappearance. Her family describes her as a streetwise person who would not be likely to go anywhere with a stranger; they believe she was abducted by someone she knew and trusted.

    Police questioned several people in Michele's disappearance, including her boyfriend, who has passed a polygraph and was ruled out as a suspect in her case. Michele's family has also been ruled out as suspects in the investigation. She is described as a responsible teenager who was devoted to her hospitalized older sister. Her case remains unsolved.

    Some agencies state that Michele vanished from Evans City, Pennsylvania.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Zelienople Police Department
    412-452-6320

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    Source Information
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    WPXI
    NewsLibrary
    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    The Doe Network
    NamUs
    Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers

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    Updated 8 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated March 8, 2016; details of disappearance updated.

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