Who Is Michelle Norris? New Details About The 31-Year Unsolved Murder Of A 7-Year-Old

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Who Is Michelle Norris? New Details About The 30-Year Unsolved Murder Of A 7-Year-Old
Entertainment And News

The subject and search for missing children spans across the country. It seems like everyday, we see photos, amber alerts, and desperate pleas for children to be returned home. Sometimes, communities are lucky to find some sort of closure when their kid is found alive, but unfortunately, not everyone can experience this.

And sometimes, the search for a missing child ends in more questions. Such is the case for Michelle Norris.

Who is Michelle Norris? In Central Falls, Rhode Island in 1988, the 7-year-old girl was abducted and murdered over Memorial Day Weekend. She was last seen running around with other kids at the playground, and seemingly vanished out of thin air.

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Two days later, her body was found in a wooded area just 1,200 feet from where she was last seen. Her body was bruised with her clothes lying next to her, and she had been sexually assaulted, beaten, and strangled. The medical examiner found that she had been suffocated.

Although authorities brought in multiple suspects for questioning, they have never charged anyone with her killing.

Detective Jeff Araujo says he still goes to the site multiple times a week. “When you keep revisiting the scene, it rejuvenates you to keep going, going, going... That’s the kitchen in the back there. The grandparents or family members could actually watch the kids playing in 1988.” Unfortunately, the multiple sets of eyes on the playground weren’t enough on that day.

And as far as the motive, Araujo believes the murderer was someone Norris knew. According to him, “She was a shy, quiet, very reserved little girl. She wouldn’t trust anyone except people she knew or were close to her. I believe she went with someone she trusted.” And though police have yet to find her killer, Araujo says they are close to finding him: “They shouldn’t be comfortable, because we’re getting closer and closer.”

Her mother, Julia Tager-Norris, seems to believe the same thing, and has said, “My mother used to say that it was like the ground just swallowed her up. She wouldn’t just go with a stranger without a fight. So I think it was someone she had to know who took her.”

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In an effort to keep her memory alive and solve her murder, her family is hopeful that getting their story out there will provide clues. The Children’s Friend and Service agency, located in Rhode Island, created the Michelle Norris Memorial award a few years after her death. The program states, “In naming the award for Michelle, we honor her memory and acknowledge the preciousness and potential of all children.”

In addition, Michelle’s story has appeared on Breaking Homicide, which appeared on Investigation Discovery. The first episode of the series featured former Central Falls police sergeant Derrick Levasseur, and forensic psychologist Kris Mohandie, who discussed theories about who killed this young girl.

And recently, Rhode Island police and investigators are hoping to generate new clues and tips. They’ve created decks of 52 playing cards, with each card representing an unsolved homicide or missing persons case. The decks are being sold to inmates in Rhode Island prisons to encourage them to share any information they may know.

For Michelle’s mom, the last almost 31 years have been rough, but she still thinks about her daughter every day. “Yes, you have to try and move on, but you never really do,” she said in an interview with Dateline. “She was such an innocent little girl, such a mama’s girl. And it not being solved is a big thing for us.”

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.