Michele, circa 1981; Age-progression at age 51 (circa 2015)
- Missing Since 10/06/1981
- Missing From Zelienople, Pennsylvania
- Classification Non-Family Abduction
- Sex Female
- Race White
- Date of Birth 12/29/1964 (58)
- Age 16 years old
- Height and Weight 5'0 - 5'4, 110 - 120 pounds
- Clothing/Jewelry Description A wine-colored v-neck sweater, blue jeans and a gold necklace with a knot pendant.
- 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.
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, Pennsylvania 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 sick. It was established that she 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.
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, including $100 she was saving for a class ring, 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.
- Zelienople Police Department 412-452-6320
Updated 8 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 8, 2016; details of disappearance updated.