Michelle Kelly Pulsifer
Missing since July 1969 from Huntington Beach, Orange County, California.
Classification: Endangered Missing
Circumstances of Disappearance
Pulsifer was last seen in California in 1969. The exact date of her disappearance is unknown, however, she is missing under suspicious circumstances.
She was living with her mom, Donna Prentice, her mom's boyfriend and her 6-year-old brother in a house on Tigerfish Circle in July 1969 when she vanished. Sometime during the next two or three days the family suddenly moved to Illinois. Michelle's brother said he last saw his sister when he was 6 and she asked him to hide her. He hid Michelle under the bed covers, but their mother came and got her. When the family moved to Illinois, the brother was told there was not enough room in the car for Michelle.
No one filed a missing-person report.
In August 2004 her mother was taken into custody on an arrest warrant charging her with the murder of her daughter in 1969. Investigators also arrested her former boyfriend on the same charge.
The arrests ended a year-long investigation. Detectives couldn't find a single public record about Michelle after 1969. Prosecutors concluded that the girl was killed by her mother and the boyfriend, and that they moved so no one would notice that she was missing.
Investigators do not know exactly how Michelle died or where or how her body was disposed of. The arrested man told authorities he buried the body in Silverado Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains before the family moved out of state. He did not admit to killing Michelle but admitted burying the girl.
Michelle's mother went to trial twice since 2007 on murder charges. Both ended in mistrials, the most recent with the jury deadlocking 11 to 1 for acquittal of second-degree murder and 7 to 5 for guilt on involuntary manslaughter. The judge ruled that there won't be a third trial, saying the evidence isn't there to get a conviction. Aside from the difficulty inherent in trying a 39-year-old case and the absence of a body, the boyfriend of the girl's mother -- who also had been charged in the case -- died in custody in 2005. He denied killing the girl, indirectly pointed the finger at her mother, Donna Prentice, but said he buried Michelle in an Orange County canyon. Prentice's attorney argued that the boyfriend was probably the killer. The case wasn't prosecuted years ago because Prentice told people that she had left Michelle with others when she and her boyfriend abruptly left Orange County for the Midwest.
Michelle's biological father says that because Prentice had full custody, he was stymied in learning of her whereabouts.
Investigators Orange County District Attorney's Office
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Orange County District Attorney's Office
Agency Case Number: SA03138
NCMEC #: NCMC973335
NCIC Number: M-523887890
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
The Orange County Register