Mistie May Micheletti was an 11-year-old girl from Vancouver, Washington. The fifth-grader had been through a lot in her short life. Her father, Don Micheletti, died by suicide when she was eight. He had jumped off the I-205 bridge. Around the same time, Mistie’s stepfather was convicted of se*xually abu*sing her.
Despite the hardships, Mistie was a happy child who liked make-up and fairy books. Her grandmother recalled,
“That little thing loved fairy tales, anything that was sweet and kind. She always wanted to just be a princess and be happy.”
Shellie May Prichard, Mistie’s mother, was employed at a care facility. Due to her financial difficulties, the single mother was unable to hire a babysitter for Mistie and her brothers, Joshua Young and John Gleave, while she was at work.
January 14, 1994, was a night shift for Shellie. Mistie and her brothers were asleep when she left the house at around ten o’clock in the evening.
The age of 14 Around 5:30 AM, John noticed a man in the bedroom. He remained silent and eventually went back to sleep because he was afraid and didn’t know what to do. Three hours later, the boy realized Mistie was gone when he woke up.
John hurried outside to a payphone to call his grandmother because the family couldn’t afford a phone at home. As stated by Yvonne Sluder,
“He said, ‘Grandma, Mistie is gone and I heard somebody talking. Somebody has taken her.’”
The intruder was characterized by John as a “hairy armed man” donning Adidas sneakers. According to the family, the man used the bathroom window to enter the apartment, and there was a sizable shoeprint in the bathtub. It is thought that he departed via a sliding glass door.
Mistie’s family started looking for her right away. In spite of John’s grave accusations, the official line of thinking was that she had fled. Sergeant Bruce Hall of the Vancouver Police Department stated that there was no proof that she was taken.
“We don’t have anything to indicate there was an abduction, but we’re keeping our mind open. We want to find her pretty bad.”
A day after Mistie disappeared, on January 16, two fishermen discovered a small girl’s body in the Columbia River close to the I-205 bridge.
Medical examiners determined that Mistie had drowned and that there were no physical injuries or indications of se*xual abu*se. Reluctant to accept that she had been ki*dnapped and ki*lled, the authorities considered the possibility that she had committed suicide, just as her father had on that same bridge.
This theory, however, has a major flaw in that Mistie had forgotten to bring shoes and a jacket, and the bridge was five miles from the apartment. There was no indication that her bare feet had travelled many miles. Although they searched the area, they were unable to locate the bicycle that the authorities claimed she had taken to the bridge.
A few weeks later, sperm were discovered through laboratory testing using body swabs from Mistie. Having to concede that foul play had played a role in the girl’s disappearance, Captain Bob Kanekoa of the Vancouver Police Department said,
“With the presence of the sperm and/or semen, that leads us to believe more on the other side of the coin, that there might have been some foul play involved. It’s still a mystery.
We’re still not sure she was abducted. Until we get that missing piece, I hate to speculate on what occured. The main change now is that we are treating it as if it is a homicide.”
Numerous DNA tests were conducted in response to this discovery, but regrettably no suspects were found.
The mu*rder of Mistie May Micheletti remains unsolved after 28 years. The family was devastated by her passing. Yvonne clarified,
“It broke [her mother], she basically turned into a shell. John and Josh, my grandsons, are just shut away after almost losing their minds.”
The now-deceased grandmother once said that Mistie was at peace and that her faith had kept her going.
“I think she’s at peace, I get that feeling. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed that she’s at peace and I feel she is, and to me that’s really important.”