Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Michael Henley

Real Name: Michael Paul Henley, Jr.
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Zuni Mountains, New Mexico
Date: April 21, 1988


Occupation: None
Date of Birth: circa 1979
Height: 4'6"
Weight: 65 pounds
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Caucasian male. Blond hair, brown eyes. Raspberry birth mark on his right eyelid.

The photograph


Details: On April 21, 1988, nine-year-old Michael Henley Jr. went on a camping trip with his father and a family friend in the Zuni Mountains of New Mexico. The three of them had been at the campsite for less than twenty minutes when Michael disappeared. When they noticed that he was missing, they searched around the camp but found no trace of him. They figured that he had wandered off into the wilderness. His family, as well as the police and the National Guard, conducted a month-long search. They found no trace of him. A snowstorm hit the area around that time, making the search difficult.
On June 15, 1989, Michael's case took a bizarre turn. A woman in Port St. Joe, Florida, 1200 miles from where he vanished, made a routine trip to her neighborhood convenience store. As she left her car to go inside, she noticed a white van in the next parking space. When she walked out of the store, she saw a Polaroid photograph lying face-down where the van had been parked. It showed a teenaged girl and a young boy, apparently bound with their hands behind their backs. Their mouths were sealed with black tape. It appeared to have been taken inside a white van. The woman took the photograph to the police.
The national media ran hundreds of stories about the grim photograph. Michael's parents saw one of the stories and got in touch with the Florida police. They recognized him as the boy in the photograph. The parents of Tara Calico recognized her as the girl in the photograph. She had vanished from Belen, seventy-five miles from the Zuni Mountains, while going on a bike ride on the morning of September 20, 1988.
Factory analysis determined that the photo was recently taken. The FBI has not been able to determine if the children in the photo are Tara and Michael. However, a forensic artist compared pictures of the missing teenagers to the photo and was 85% sure that they were the ones depicted.
Suspects: It is believed that Tara and Michael may have been abducted by the same person. Authorities are looking for the white cargo van that was parked at the Junior Food Store in Port St. Joe, Florida, on June 15, 1989. It had no windows and a sliding door at the side.
Extra Notes:

Results: Solved. In June 1990, Michael's remains were found just a few miles from the campsite where he was last seen. They were identified through dental records. The cause of death was believed to be hypothermia and foul play was ruled out. His case is no longer believed to be related to Tara's; she remains missing and the children in the photograph remain unidentified.