Karen Ann Penson

Karen, circa 1970 (approximately 13 years prior to her disappearance; more recent photographs are unavailable)

  • Missing Since 05/21/1983
  • Missing From Tacoma, Washington
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 05/25/1952 (71)
  • Age 30 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'2, 105 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Karen's maiden name is Marzano.

Details of Disappearance

Karen was last seen at her residence in Tacoma, Washington on May 21, 1983. Her husband of twelve years, Michael Penson, stated they argued and Karen called a friend to come get her. He left their home before she did and when he came back she was gone. She has never been heard from again. On May 26, someone found Karen's purse with her belongings, wet, on the beach.

Michael married again in 1990. In 2001, while he was living in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho he shot his second wife in the pelvis, wounding her, and police officers who responded to the scene shot him to death after he pointed his gun at them. He was 49 years old. His wife made a full recovery and the police shooting was ruled a justifiable homicide.

It's unclear whether Michael had anything to do with Karen's disappearance, but the couple did have a history of domestic problems. Authorities stated that since his death, they had no further leads to pursue in the investigation. Karen's parents are now deceased and her case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Tacoma Police Department 253-591-5506

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated July 22, 2016; details of disappearance updated.