Details of Disappearance An unidentified man broke into the Owens family's apartment in eastern Menlo Park, California late in the night on February 3, 1983. The intruder entered through a window and attacked and severely beat Mitchell's mother, Ora Owens. Her three sons were at home with her at the time.
Two of the boys slept through the assault, but Mitchell woke up and walked into the room while the beating was taking place. Ora screamed at him to run away. The attacker than attempted to strangle Ora with a telephone cord and she passed out and was apparently left for dead.
Neighbors found her the next day and she was taken to the hospital, where she regained consciousness. She had to spend weeks in the hospital recovering from her ordeal. Mitchell has never been heard from again.
Ora only caught a glimpse of her son's abductor. She believes her attacker may have been a man she'd met the previous night at the Enlisted Men's Club at Moffett Field Naval Air Station in Mountain View, California. He offered to buy her a drink, but she declined and walked away. She thinks the man followed her home and then drove away when she reached her door.
The man has never been identified. He is described as 6'0 tall with brown hair, blue eyes, a mustache and tattoos on his arms. He was approximately 25 years old in 1983.
Another possible suspect is a man who knocked on Ora's door just a few hours before the break-in. He identified himself as a police officer and was in uniform, and asked about a report she'd made about a stolen purse the month before. The Menlo Park Police Department has no record of any of their officers stopping by the Owens home on that date.
Ora received telephone calls for years following his disappearance from an unidentified male. The caller repeatedly threatened to abduct her other two sons. It is not known if the calls are related to Mitchell's disappearance.
Authorities stated that they hoped current forensic technology which was unavailable in 1983 could help solve Mitchell's abduction and the assault on Ora. She has criticized the police investigation, stating investigators did not look hard enough for Mitchell because the family is African-American and poor. Inexplicably, the local police at first listed Mitchell as a runaway juvenile and refused to take action to find him.
Ora's attacker has never been identified and Mitchell has never been located.
- Menlo Park Police Department
Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated August 5, 2012; age-progression updated.