The Michelle McMullen story has been running at least 3 times now in the last week on ID. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but after watching the story again just about an hour ago, I once again got to thinking about it.
The show depicts her as a hard working, studious young mother, who doesn’t do a thing wrong, etc. Yet, weeks after she turned up missing, it was discovered that she was wanted by more than just her family and friends- there was an arrest warrant issued for her through Susquehanna Township police.
The following was found on America’s Most Wanted site:
Pennsylvania Mother Missing Or Maligned?
Michelle McMullen, 27, disappeared on Sept. 28, 2008 and police are reaching out to the public for information on this missing mom.
Michael and Rev. Lillie McMullen are desperately trying to hold on to hope that their daughter, Michelle McMullen, is alive somewhere in the world.
Their daughter went missing on Sept. 28, 2008 after dropping off her six-year-old son, Jayden, to a friend in Harrisburg, Pa.
Her family says after Michelle dropped off her son, she got back in her car and started the 17-hour drive back to school in Louisiana.
But speculation regarding Michelle’s disappearance has cast a shadow over the search – sometimes putting the family at odds with law enforcement who believe Michelle may be running from the law.
Few Clues in Case of Missing Pa. Mom
Relatives say Michelle McMullen would never abandon her six-year-old son.
According to the family, in Aug. 2008, Michelle and her six-year-old son, Jayden, moved to Ruston, La., a small town next to Grambling University where Michelle was a student.
Though Michelle was trying to better her life, her parents say the transition was not without complications. Michelle had a difficult time finding a job and daycare for her son, so she made the decision to return Jayden to Harrisburg, Pa. where he would stay with relatives.
On Sept. 27, relatives say Michelle attended a school fair with friends in the afternoon. The family says no one noted anything out of the ordinary in her behavior. In fact, Michelle was said to be in good spirits and having a wonderful time with Jayden.
Her parents think Michelle made the drive from Ruston Saturday afternoon and arrived in Harrisburg on Sunday evening around 8:30 p.m. at which point Michelle dropped her son and his things off at a friend’s house. Her parents say Michelle spoke to one person via phone and then got back on the highway to return to Ruston.
They say Michelle called her friend around 9:30 p.m. from the road to check on Jayden and then ended the call — telling her friend she would call her back later. According to relatives, cell phone records confirm that that was the last call Michelle made and no one has spoken to her since.
On Oct. 7, 2008, cops say Michelle’s car was found abandoned near an exit near Hagerstown, Md. According to her parents, Michelle’s vehicle had been parked across from the Mack Truck Plant security check point entrance 10 days earlier. Security staff reported the abandoned car to the Washington County Sheriff’s office who confirmed that the 2002, black Honda Accord belonged to Michelle.
The car was found unlocked with the driver’s seat leaned back. Inside, police retrieved Michelle’s cell phone, purse, a pillow and additional personal items.
A team of investigators, air scent, tracking and cadaver dogs were brought in to search the area. According to relatives, the dogs were only able to track Michelle’s scent for about 50 feet.
Police say they found nothing at the scene to suggest foul play.
Far from giving up, Michelle’s family is working with private investigators combing through Michelle’s phone records, checking with her friends on MySpace and Facebook as well as going through her e-mail accounts.
Cops: Missing, Yet Wanted
Susquehanna Township police say they are also looking for Michelle McMullen, the fugitive, not the missing person.
Before her sudden disappearance, detectives say Michelle was the focus of a police investigation — an investigation of which she was aware.
A warrant for her arrest alleges forgery, theft by deception and theft by unlawful taking. Michelle allegedly stole over $19,000 from a Harrisburg church in Susquehanna Township, where she worked as an administrator.
Detectives were in the process of making contact with Michelle to discuss the accusations when they learned that her parents had reported her missing to Harrisburg, Pa. police.
Walking a precarious line, Susquehanna Township police cops say Michelle is missing, yet wanted.
Pressing Forward Despite The Doubt
Despite police suspicions, Michelle’s father, Michael, makes a compelling case for his missing daughter.
While Michael realizes that Michelle is the focus of an investigation by Susquehanna Township police, he is sure that it was not enough to make his daughter abandon her son.
He believes something unexpected happened, but for the life of him he can’t imagine what. He believes that Michelle was probably tired after making the long drive down from Louisiana and probably pulled over to get some shut eye before heading out again. Michael says, if Michelle were fleeing from authorities then she would have taken her belongings. He says, “How far can a person get without any money?”
Michael McMullen says Michelle’s car sat parked across the way from a 24-hour manned-security office in a well lighted area at the entrance to the facility, yet its presence didn’t evoke any concern from security personnel. It would be another eight days before anyone reported the abandoned vehicle to police. Why? What took so long?
Air scent dogs were called to the scene and were only able to track Michelle’s scent for about 50 feet. “The length of a tractor trailer,” her father says. A massive vehicle which could have hidden the car from view long enough for someone to commit their deeds and be gone before anyone noticed a thing.
With each day that Michelle is missing, his fear grows.
In order to combat the frustration, the sense of helplessness and to keep the case in the public eye, on Nov. 8, 2008, Michael headed down to Hagerstown with volunteers to conduct a search for his daughter — a search that was organized by Black and Missing, Inc. (BAM) — a non-proft organization based in Washington, D.C.
BAM’s CEO, Derrica Williams, says, “When it comes to missing minorities, they don’t really get the publicity and they like to associate our disappearance relating it to crime.”
Michael McMullen believes that even though police may want to jump to the most convenient conclusion regarding his daughter and her disappearance, for him there are still too many unanswered questions.
Michael says, “Something has happened here. We need to focus less on a person’s situation and more on finding her.”
Harrisburg police detectives emphasize that since Michelle was reported missing on Oct. 1, 2008 by her parents, they continue to investigate her disappearance as a missing person’s case. Susquehanna Township police are looking into the accusations against Michelle, therefore they consider Michelle a fugitive.
Michael McMullen doesn’t care as long as the police stay focused on finding his daughter.
Missing Woman Spotted At Martinsburg, West Va. Hotel
Pennsylvania cops say Michelle McMullen was spotted at the Knights Inn hotel working at the front desk on Dec. 15, 2008.
According to detectives, someone recognized the missing mom and alerted authorities. But when officers arrived at the hotel, McMullen was gone.
Witnesses told police that when Michelle saw that she was being observed by the person who eventually called police, she quickly excused herself from her front desk duties saying she was going on a cigarette break. Co-workers say she never came back.
Investigators tell AMW their preliminary investigation revealed that McMullen had been working and living at the hotel and was using two aliases: Monique Watson and Monique Witson.
Investigators say they are currently canvassing the immediate area for the missing woman after she fled the hotel on foot.
Cops Closing in on Fugitive Mom
Cops say the gig was up for McMullen on Dec. 15, 2008 when someone recognized her at a hotel in Martinsburg, West Va.
Witnesses say McMullen suddenly became “skittish” and moved to a back office to avoid the person.
Susquehanna Township and Harrisburg, Pa. authorities were made aware of this sighting and contacted Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department. Armed with photos from AMW.com, Pennsylvania detectives went to the Knights Inn at 1997 Edwin Miller Blvd, in Martinsburg.
Investigators say shortly before the authorities arrived, McMullen received a phone call, left the front desk, crossed the parking lot to her room and never returned.
Detectives say Berkeley County officers missed her by 5 to 10 minutes.
Detectives from Harrisburg, Pa. traveled to the Martinsburg, WV. where they showed hotel workers pictures taken from AMW.com of the fugitive. Co-workers confirmed the woman pictured on AMW.com was the woman they had come to know as Monique Watson. They told officers that McMullen had been staying in RM 236. There, cops found printed out website pages on fake ids.
After extensive interviews with the hotel staff, officials were able to put together a timeline of events.
Detectives say McMullen’s car was found abandoned in Hagerstown, Md. on Oct 7, 2008.
Shortly thereafter, investigators say McMullen made the acquaintance of a man with whom she spent a week at the Knights Inn in Hagerstown. When the man told her she had to leave, she asked the Hagerstown hotel manager about work at the hotel. While the manager had no openings at the hotel, through contacts, he was able to secure her a front desk position at the Knights Inn in Martinsburg.
Workers tell AMW, McMullen was working at the hotel for less than two months. McMullen allegedly told co-workers that she was from Louisiana and that she had come to the area because she was fleeing an abusive ex-boyfriend and needed a fresh start. They said McMullen told them she left Louisiana and stayed in Hagerstown for a time where she had a female friend with whom she lived, but when that didn’t work out she moved on to Martinsburg.
One woman who worked closely with McMullen told AMW, McMullen avoided talking about her past — only that she was fleeing an abusive ex-boyfriend. She also told the woman she had no children. The woman said she was shocked to read on the AMW.com that McMullen did in fact have a child and wondered out loud how someone, no matter what they have done, could abandon and deny their own child.
According to Harrisburg investigators McMullen is now no longer officially a missing person, she is a fugitive.
by Denni Michael Wagner, AMW Staff
I guess one of my other issues with this case are the links to her photo bucket page I found via Web Sleuths.
The page is here, at least for the time being. I’m sure it will be pulled after this blog goes up. But if you want to see some of the pictures, here they are:
There are others, but I really did not feel comfortable posting those on here, as this is a family friendly site. These aren’t exactly wholesome, and I apologize for that ahead of time. To note, there is only 1 picture of her son Joshua on there, that I saw. It is his school picture apparently, and it also looks like there is a scan of one of the sheets with multiple pictures on it as well.
To me, these photos are rather disturbing. Do they suggest that Michelle was into other things more than what her family was aware of?
December 16, 2008
Harrisburg, PA – Mayor Stephen R. Reed today said Harrisburg Police have closed an investigation into a missing person case that was initially reported to police on October 1, 2008. He said the individual’s location has been confirmed by authorities in West Virginia.
Michelle Orphalee McMullen, 27, of the 2900 block of Green Street, was positively identified by law enforcement officers in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on Monday December 15, 2008.Harrisburg Police detectives received a tip yesterday that Michelle McMullen was seen working at a hotel in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Officers immediately contacted authorities in Martinsburg who investigated the claim and learned that McMullen had been working at the hotel under the alias of Monique Watson. McMullen fled the area prior to police arrival and has not been seen since, said Reed.
Reed said McMullen’s Family originally reported her missing on October 1, 2008. The family indicated she had last been seen on Sunday September 28, 2008, at around 9:30PM after she dropped her daughter off at a babysitter’s prior to leaving town to head to Grambling State University in Gramling, Louisiana. Just a week later, McMullen;s vehicle was found parked along a road in Hagerstown, Maryland. A search of the area by local authorities was inconclusive. Two days later, on October 9, 2008, it was learned that McMullen was considered a wanted person out of Susquehanna Township, having been charged with forgery, theft by receiving and theft by deception.
Reed said Harrisburg Police continued to follow leads over the course of the past two months, resulting in yesterday’s confirmation that McMullen has been living and working in West Virginia. Because of the confirmation of her whereabouts, Harrisburg Police have now closed their investigation into the case. However, McMullen is still wanted by the Susquehanna Township Police Department on the aforementioned charges.
“Our detectives should be lauded for their efforts in locating Michelle McMullen,” said Reed. “These officers exhausted every means available to gather information and didn’t relent until she was found.”