Details of Disappearance
Michael disappeared with his mother, Freda Denman
, and his sister, Sheri Johnson
. Denman's husband Henry Lee Harbison, also known as Henry Johnson, disappeared at the same time as his family. They were not reported missing until March 1975, five months after their disappearance. It was the family's landlord that told the police they had disappeared.
Police found Denman's clothes still in the closet of their residence. Harbison's clothes and clothes of the children were missing, however. Blood was also found on a cushion in the home, but laboratory tests on the stain were inconclusive.
It is suspected that Harbison may have murdered his family. Photographs of Harbison are shown with this case summary. He has an extensive criminal background and uses several aliases.
His affiliates at the Church of the New Song claim the entire family was murdered. Denman's family believes Denman was murdered and the children were given away.
Both the Independence police department and the FBI were involved in investigating the Denman/Johnson disappearances. The Independence police closed the file on the disappearances, thinking the FBI would follow up on it. It didn't. The case remained closed until 2004, when it was reopened.
Due to the unclear circumstances in their disappearances, the Johnson children's cases are classified as non-family abductions. Michael, Sheri, and their mother's cases are still unsolved.