Shelva Jean Rafte

Rafte, circa 2006

  • Missing Since 05/29/2006
  • Missing From Pittston, Pennsylvania
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 05/24/1962 (62)
  • Age 44 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'1 - 5'3, 110 - 115 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A powder-blue cotton t-shirt, blue denim capri pants with rhinestones on the back pockets, sneakers or brown leather sandals, a watch on her left wrist, and lots of 14k gold jewelry, including hoop earrings, gold bracelets and gold chain necklaces. Carrying a pink purse.
  • Medical Conditions Rafte was taking prescription medication at the time of her disappearance for unspecified reasons. She does not have her medicine with her.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Blonde hair, brown/green eyes. Rafte has an appendectomy scar on her abdomen, and her ears and navel are pierced. She has cowlicks in her hair at the crown and in the front, in her bangs. Her nickname is Shelly and her maiden name is Conrad. Rafte wears heavy makeup, particularly to emphasize her eyes; she wears eyeliner, thick mascara and green or brown eyeshadow. She wears long acrylic fingernails in a French manicure style and keeps her toenails cut short and square, but paints them to match her fingernails. She also wears eyeglasses for reading.

Details of Disappearance

Rafte attended her daughter's graduation party at her oldest sister's residence in Nicholson Borough, Pennsylvania on May 28, 2006. She was accompanied by her sometime boyfriend, John Para. Other guests saw them arguing in front of the house shortly before they left together at 10:30 p.m.

Para stated that after the party, he and Rafte went to his residence on Market Street in Pittston, Pennsylvania. According to him, they had argument there and she left to walk home sometime after 1:00 a.m. on May 29. Rafte was last seen in the area of Market and River Streets. She has never been heard from again.

Rafte resided alone on Cleveland Street in Pittston, Pennsylvania in 2006. Her home is about a mile from her boyfriend's residence. When authorities checked her residence, nothing appeared to be amiss. The television was on, the doors were locked, Rafte's car was parked in the driveway, and her tax refund check was in the mailbox.

She frequented the areas of Jenkins Township in Luzerne County, Nicholson Borough in Wyoming County, and the city of Harrisburg in Dauphin County; she has relatives living in all of those places. Rafte's loved ones stated she was under stress at the time of her disappearance due to her life circumstances. She was, however, very close to her family, which includes six older siblings.

Her oldest sister stated Rafte's relationship with Para was rocky. According to Rafte's sister, shortly before the graduation party, Rafte told her, "If anything happens to me, look at John. Because I know too much." Rafte's sister thought Rafte had broken up with Para, and she was surprised when Rafte took him to the party that night. She doesn't believe Rafte would have walked home alone, as she was afraid of the dark.

Prior to her disappearance, Rafte worked as a waitress at the Scott 60 truck stop on Interstate 81 in Scott, Pennsylvania. She knew many truck drivers as a result of her job. Rafte's daughter believes her mother may have gotten a ride with a truck driver on the night of her disappearance and possibly traveled out of state.

Rafte left behind four children. The purse she had with her on the night of her disappearance has never been found. She is believed to be missing under suspicious circumstances, but there is no hard evidence of foul play in her case. Para is not being called a suspect in her disappearance. Her case remains unsolved.

Updated 7 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 24, 2019; details of disappearance updated.