Name: Michelle Angela Yarnell
Case Classification: Endangered Missing
Missing Since: October 25, 2003
Location Last Seen: Ivy Bend, Morgan County, Missouri
Date of Birth: May 20, 1975
Age: 28 years old
Weight: 170 lbs.
Hair Color: Light brown to dark blonde.
Eye Color: Brown
Distinguishing Marks/Features: She has scars on the sides of each hip. She has a tattoo of jagged barbed wire fence in black ink around her right wrist; one of a green frog on her left shoulder blade; one of the word "obey" written in black cryptic writing; and one of a sun above her right breast, yellowish in color, possible green outlining. Her tongue and ears are pierced.
Dentals: Not Available
Fingerprints: Not Available
Jewelry: Possibly wearing a white gold or silver watch, white gold or silver bracelets worn on right wrist, emerald earrings, gold ring with M initial engraved.
Additional Personal Items: Glasses with round gold wire frames or clear contacts.
Michelle was last seen at her residence. Her husband, Michael Shane Yarnell, stated he came home after work and Michelle was gone. He said he assumed she had gone to Holts Summit, MO to visit her mother, Marianne Asher-Chapman, and would return a few days later. Asher-Chapman reported her missing seven days later after Michael came to her house to see his wife and discovered that she had never arrived.
Two weeks after Michelle went missing, Asher-Chapman received a postcard supposedly from her, which was postmarked 11/08/2003, from a small town in Arkansas. The postcard stated that Michelle was en route to Texas to visit the family of someone named "Gary." Michelle's loved ones do not know anyone by that name and do not believe she did either. Asher-Chapman stated that the handwriting appeared markedly different from her daughter's. Asher-Chapman last spoke to Michelle eight days before she went missing. She stated that their conversation was normal and Michelle did not mention that she was seeing another man.
In November 2007, Michael was named a person of interest in Michelle's disappearance. By then he had moved and authorities had lost touch with him. In May 2008, Michael was officially listed as missing, as his family and friends claimed they had not heard from him since November 2005. Michael was located in Biloxi, MS in November 2008. He was arrested and charged with felony counts of forgery and tampering with physical evidence in connection with his wife's disappearance. He admitted having written the postcard to Michelle's mother in order to disrupt the police investigation, and handwriting experts confirmed his story.
The following month, Michael was additionally charged with Michelle's murder. Authorities stated he confessed to the crime. He said during an argument that he pushed Michelle off of their home's deck and she died instantly. Michael said he dumped her body offshore from an uninhabited island in the Lake of the Ozarks, four miles from the Yarnell residence. Investigators searched the water, but didn't find any evidence. Asher-Chapman stated she didn't believe Michael's version of Michelle's death; she stated the Yarnell's deck was four feet off the ground and not ten feet as he claimed. In June 2009, Michael plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, and released in July 2013.
Michelle left her personal belongings behind when she vanished as well as two dogs which she cherished. Her marriage was troubled, but Michelle was close to her mother and her relatives do not believe she would leave without contacting them, as she has no history of such behavior. At the time Michelle disappeared, Asher-Chapman was being treated for cancer and she does not believe her daughter would have abandoned her when she was ill. Foul play is suspected in Michelle's disappearance due to the circumstances involved.
Agency Name: Morgan County Sheriff's Office
Agency Contact Person: Det. Kyle Eckhoff
Agency Phone Number: 573-378-5481
Agency E-Mail: [email protected]
Agency Case Number: MCS03-1296
NCIC Case Number: Unknown
NamUs Case Number: 1298
Missouri Missing Persons Clearinghouse
Added: 10/22/2016; Last Updated: 10/22/2016
Questions or comments? Please contact appropriate member of the Area Team
** Listed information is from the time of disappearance.