Michelle Norris was the only daughter of 4 children born to Julie Tager and William Darrell Norris. Her parents had married and divorced young, a marriage riddled with alcoholism and abuse allegations. Michelle was the custodial parent but at the time this case takes place, 7 year old Michelle Norris was living in an unstable home. Her mother’s chronic illness had made it impossible for her to care for her 4 children. Michelle’s mother lost custody of her children on 05/27/1988 and her grandmother took custody but just one day later Michelle would go missing.
Michelle went missing 5/28/1988 from a playground in Central Falls, RI, that was visible from her grandmother’s window, and an extensive search was started.
4 days after she went missing, a firefighter recruit assisting in the search located her nude and battered body on a wooded hill behind a local club known as the “Bug Club”. She was naked and face up under brush. She has been beaten, raped and suffocated face down. Her pink t-shirt and purple shorts were noted to be folded beside her.
Several people remain persons of interest in this case and they are still hoping to find resolution to this case. The debris in Michelle’s lungs was insulation, fiberglass and botanical material the police felt indicated that she was suffocated face down in a building and not at the dump site. Her father and her best friend’s stepfather are among the persons of interest in this case. Besides indicating Michelle had been raped, the ME indicated that Michelle’s body had evidence of long term sexual abuse.
Police collected sample of the soil in the building where her father lived, so that it could be tested to see if it matched. I don’t have any record received as to the results of that testing. Her father moved to Florida shortly after Michelle’s body was found and reportedly is aware he is a person of interest in this case.
Her best friend’s stepfather was later convicted of molesting Michelle’s best friend.
The playground where she went missing from was later named for Michelle, in her memory.
Any tips or information on this case can be called into the Rhode Island State Police 401-444-1046.