"The Doe Network" : International Center for Unidentified & Missing Persons'
Case File: Melissa Suzanne Highsmith 1902DFTX

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Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo
Highsmith, circa 1971. Far Right: Progressed to age 36 years and 42 years.

Composite of Suspect

Melissa Suzanne Highsmith

  • Case Classification: Non-Family Abduction
  • Missing Since: August 23, 1971
  • Location Last Seen: Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas
  • Physical Description
    ** Listed information is from the time of disappearance.

  • Date of Birth: November 6, 1969
  • Age at Time of Disappearance: 21 months old
  • Race: White
  • Gender: Female
  • Height at Time of Disappearance: 2'8" (81 cm)
  • Weight at Time of Disappearance: 27 lbs (12 kg)
  • Hair Color: Brown
  • Eye Color: Brown or hazel
  • Alias(s) / Nickname(s): Unknown
  • Distinguishing Marks/Features: A red, three inch birthmark on her back just below her neck.
  • Dentals: Not available.
  • Fingerprints: Not available.
  • DNA: Available in CODIS.
  • Clothing & Personal Items
  • Clothing: Unknown description.
  • Jewelry: Unknown.
  • Additional Personal Items: Unknown.
  • Circumstances of Disappearance

    Melissa Highsmith was last seen in Fort Worth on August 23, 1971. She may be in the company of an adult female.

    A few months before, Melissa's mother, Alta, then 22, had returned to Fort Worth after separating from her husband. Alta placed an ad in the Star-Telegram seeking a baby sitter for her daughter while She worked as a waitress at a downtown restaurant. A woman who gave the name "Ruth Johnson" answered the ad. She told Alta that she had a large house and back yard, as well as other children to watch. The two made plans to meet at Alta's job, but Johnson never showed up.

    "Ruth Johnson" called Alta again and convinced the young mother that she really wanted the job. Alta agreed that Johnson could pick up the girl that Monday morning. When Johnson arrived at the Spanish Gate apartments on East Seminary Drive, Alta was already at work. Alta’s roommate would later tell police that the woman seemed nice, was wearing white gloves and appeared dressed to impress. The roommate handed the woman a pink dress, a pair of white sandals and some diapers for Melissa, and the woman and child left. Alta returned home from work and waited for her daughter to be brought back. By 8 p.m. and with no way to reach the woman, Alta called police. Within days the FBI joined in the search for Melissa.

    The case was re-opened in 2005 at the request of Melissa's sister. Melissa was born at Harris Hospital in Fort Worth.

    Investigating Agency(s)
    If you have any information about this case please contact;

  • Agency Name: Fort Worth Police Department (TX)
  • Agency Contact Person: Detective Bryan Jamison
  • Agency Phone Number: 817-335-4222
  • Agency Name: Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Agency Contact Person: Missing Persons Clearinghouse
  • Agency Phone Number: 512-424-5074 or 800-346-3243

  • Agency Case Number: LE: 06014589; TXDPS A0602001; NCMEC: NCMC1037093
  • NCIC Case Number: M775526913
  • NamUs Case Number: MP/UP #5505
  • Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.

    Information Source(s)
  • Texas Department of Public Safety
  • NamUs
  • Star-Telegram News Archive
  • The Odessa American News Archive

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    Questions or comments? Please contact appropriate member of the Area Team

    Last Updated: 6/10/12 - By: DD / TX AD

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