Details of Disappearance Michelle was last seen by her mother, Beth Prasek, at her family's residence on Valerie Lane near The Woodlands, Texas during the morning of December 17, 1997. Beth told authorities that she saw her daughter less than one hour before Michelle's school bus was scheduled to depart, when she left home to take her younger child to day care.
Michelle may have boarded her bus and been on school property that day, but she did not attend classes at Knox Junior High School. She has never been heard from again. A search of her home revealed that her six-month-old orange tabby cat, Froggy, was missing, along with some clothing, a green sleeping bag, and a handmade patchwork quilt.
Several of Michelle's friends told authorities that they were uncertain if she actually arrived on school property the day she disappeared. Another friend maintained that she saw Michelle on campus during the morning hours. Michelle did not have a prior history of running away at the time of her disappearance, but she apparently told a friend she intended to leave her residence and travel to the Conroe, Texas area in December 1997.
Michelle's parents are divorced and she had been attending counseling sessions at Montgomery County Youth Services to help her deal with family issues at the time she vanished. Beth said that Michelle was learning to deal with her anger in 1997. One of Michelle's relatives allegedly failed a polygraph test concerning her disappearance and another loved one reportedly refused to submit to the test. All maintain they know nothing about her whereabouts and continue to search for her.
Marc C. Seguin, a man who had dated Beth, is considered a person of interest in Michelle's disappearance. He failed a polygraph exam about her case. In 2005, Seguin was convicted of indecency with a child and sentenced to ten years' probation. His victim was a seven-year-old girl. He has completed his probation and now lives in Fort Davis, Texas, and is a registered sex offender. He maintains his innocence in Michelle's case.
Beth and her two daughters resided with Seguin in The Woodlands in 1997. Seguin apparently departed the residence for work at approximately 6:30 a.m. on December 19, which was his normal routine. Beth said that she left at 7:30 a.m. to drive Michelle's sister to school. Her mother stated that Michelle was in good spirits at the time. That was the last confirmed sighting of Michelle.
Beth said Michelle asked to spend the night at a friend's residence the day she disappeared. Her mother asked her to learn more about the friend's family and their home before she consented. She said that she assumed Michelle was at her friend's house when she did not return from school on December 19.
Beth called Richard the following morning and asked what he believed she should do next. Richard told authorities that he was surprised Beth did not summon law enforcement immediately after realizing that their eldest daughter had disappeared. Beth called investigators at approximately 12:30 p.m. on December 18.
Michelle and her sister planned to spend the 1997 holidays with Richard in Kingsville, Texas. Beth stated that Michelle overheard her parents arguing on the telephone the night prior to her disappearance. She and Richard were at odds over where the girls would be picked up. Michelle was also angry that Beth was too tired to take her holiday shopping that night. It is not known if these factors are involved in Michelle's disappearance.
Beth and Richard divorced in 1994 and she relocated to Lafayette, Louisiana with the girls. Beth said Michelle detested Louisiana and the family returned to Texas shortly afterwards. Beth said that she assisted with the search effort by distributing posters of her daughter.
Michelle enjoys reading horror novels. It is possible that she left Texas for an unknown destination. Some agencies have classified Michelle's case as that of an endangered runaway. No charges have been filed against anyone in connection with her case. Foul play is suspected in Michelle's disappearance.
- Montgomery County Sheriff's Office
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated June 14, 2017; picture added, details of disappearance updated.