Donyelle Chrishum Johnson

Johnson, circa 1989; Cleveland Hill in 1989

  • Missing Since 04/04/1989
  • Missing From Pinellas County, Florida
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race Black
  • Date of Birth 11/14/1967 (56)
  • Age 21 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'5, 122 pounds
  • Associated Vehicle(s) 1987 Nissan Pulsar (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics African-American female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Johnson's ears are pierced.

Details of Disappearance

Johnson was last seen leaving her home to go to class at St. Petersburg Junior College in Clearwater, Florida. She never arrived. Her 1987 Nissan Pulsar was found abandoned behind a Hardee's restaurant at Belcher Road and East Bay Drive in Largo, Florida.

An African-American male who gave his name as Johnny Bailey called a towing company to report that the vehicle was having trouble and needed to be towed. The man has never been identified. The car turned out to have a loose battery connection; nothing else was wrong with it.

Two days later, Johnson's father reported her missing. That same day, he got a letter supposedly from Johnson, which stated she was involved with drugs was moving to Orlando, Florida to "straighten out her life." Handwriting experts examined the letter and concluded she did in fact write it. Johnson has never been heard from again.

Authorities believe Johnson's case may be related to the disappearances of Retha Hiers from Largo and Margaret Dash from Clearwater, Florida. All three women had been dating Cleveland Hill Jr., a married asphalt contractor, when they disappeared.

A photo of Hill is posted with this case summary. A friend of Johnson's stated Hill gave her money and expensive gifts, including a new car which her parents made her return. A few days before Johnson went missing, Hill visited her family's home and Johnson's father told him to leave her alone. Hill replied, "Well, you better enjoy your daughter, because this may be the last time you see her."

By the time of her disappearance, Johnson was frightened of Hill and wanted to end their relationship. She told her father that Hill had said he could "make people disappear" and told her mother he had threatened her. After Johnson's disappearance, Hill told police she was involved in cocaine trafficking and had possibly moved to Orlando like the letter said.

Hill shot his wife and mother-in-law in 1968. Four days after his wife left him and returned to her parents, he went to his in-laws' home and shot both victims multiple times. They survived and Hill was sentenced to five years of probation for assault, but then went to prison for a year for probation violation.

He was paroled in 1971, and his wife whom he had shot re-married him two weeks later because her Pentecostal church did not believe in divorce and church leaders urged Hill's wife to give him another chance. His wife is still alive and still has a bullet in her neck. She later said she asked Hill about the missing women and he told her, "If you keep messing with me, I will tell you what happened to those women. I can make people disappear."

In 1992, Hill was convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to 19 years in federal prison. He was released from prison in 2008 and died of of cancer in Virginia in 2018. He was never charged in connection with any of the missing women's cases and he maintained his innocence for all his life.

The missing women did not know each other and authorities have found no connection between them other than their association with Hill. Foul play is suspected in all three cases, which remain unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Pinellas County Sheriff's Office 727-582-6200

Updated 9 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated January 23, 2024; picture added, details of disappearance updated.