Details of Disappearance Kimberly's husband, Michael Jim Medina, told authorities that his wife was last seen walking to a convenience store in Aurora, Colorado at approximately 10:30 p.m. on October 29, 1996. The store was located at the corner of Buckley Road and Mississippi Avenue near her family's Tower Road residence.
Her husband said Kimberly never arrived home that evening and has not been seen again. He did not report his wife as a missing person until October 31, 1996, two days after Kimberly disappeared.
Michael stated that Kimberly told him she was going out to buy cigarettes, and he also suspected she walked to the store to place a phone call, although the couple had telephone service inside their residence. He said he believed Kimberly was having an affair with a coworker and had left of her own accord.
Kimberly's family told authorities it was extremely uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning. She was employed as a dispatcher at SuperShuttle in the Denver International Airport at the time of her disappearance.
Kimberly never retrieved her last paycheck, which was for over $800. She didn't take any personal belongings with her, but her purse has never been located.
A police bloodhound tracked Kimberly's scent west on Mississippi Avenue from Tower Road near her home. The trail then led the dog north on Buckley Road, west on east Colfax Avenue and ended at Interstate 225. The search was called off at that time due to concern for the hound's safety near the highway.
In 1998, authorities announced that they may have discovered traces of Kimberly's remains in a gully in rural Elbert County, Colorado, and evidence that her body was buried there after she disappeared. Nothing conclusive was found, however.
Kimberly married Michael, who was then 21, in 1993 when she 15 years old and pregnant with their first child. A photograph of Michael is posted with this case summary. Her family learned after her disappearance that Michael had been arrested twice for domestic violence during their marriage.
The couple was living in Phoenix, Arizona in June 1995 when Kimberly told authorities Michael hit her several times while they were riding in a car. She returned to Colorado and obtained a restraining order against him afterwards, but the couple reconciled and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Michael was arrested again for domestic abuse in September 1995. Kimberly told authorities that her husband threatened to kill her if she pressed charges against him.
Kimberly told her father that she was leaving her husband on October 27, 1996. She disappeared two days later. Michael has denied any involvement in his wife's case and received custody of their two daughters after her disappearance.
Authorities focused their investigation on an area of farm land along the Arapahoe and Elbert County lines in eastern Colorado in 1998, two years after Kimberly disappeared. A farmer believed he located a possible gravesite on his land and saw a maroon truck driving away from the area. Michael owned a similar vehicle at the time.
A search of the location produced no evidence, although the farmer said he saw some items, including a perfume bottle, at the site prior to the search. The objects had vanished before investigators arrived.
In May 2005, Michael was charged with first-degree murder in the death of his sixteen-month-old son, Degan Tao Medina. Degan is the child of Michael's second wife, Becky Garel. They were separated at the time and Garel had filed for divorce, claiming her husband abused her.
After Michael's arrest, Garel subsequently testified that, the day before Degan's May 21 death, Michael told her he had murdered Kimberly. He allegedly said he'd beaten her with a bat and buried her alive in a field in east Aurora after he found out she had been unfaithful to him.
Michael stated he'd left items at the burial site, including clothing belonging to Kimberly and himself. He threatened to harm himself and Degan if she disclosed this to anyone, and would not let her out of his sight until the following day, when Garel had to keep a scheduled appointment.
While Garel was gone, Michael told her two daughters to go to Pizza Hut in Monte Vista with a list of telephone numbers to call, and to kiss Degan goodbye because he and Michael would have to go away for awhile.
Later that day he drowned his son in a sewage treatment facility and left the body there, with some toys and shoes lying next to it. He was arrested as he was walking away from the crime scene. Michael pleaded guilty to child abuse and recklessly causing his son's death in July 2006, and was sentenced to 48 years in prison. He maintains that Degan's death was accidental.
In October 2011, a grand jury indicted Michael for Kimberly's kidnapping and murder. The indictment remained a secret for the next several months.
Authorities stated they hadn't uncovered any new evidence that Michael had murdered his wife, but believed they could prove the charges against him in part because of the passage of time since Kimberly went missing. Michael was convicted of murder in November 2013.
There hasn't been any activity within Kimberly's bank accounts or on her Social Security number since she was last seen. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance due to the circumstances involved.
- Aurora Police Department
Updated 8 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 18, 2013; details of disappearance updated.