The Disappearance of Mitchell Owens

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*Sources vary regarding the name of Mitchell’s mother. This article will refer to her as “Ora Owens”, in accordance with the majority of websites that have covered this case.*


On February 3, 1983, an unidentified man broke into the Owens family’s apartment in the middle of night. He entered through a window while Ora Owens and her three sons slept. The intruder attacked and beat Ora, an assault during which Mitchell awoke. When he entered his mother’s room, she yelled for him to run away. The attacker then attempted to strangle Ora with a telephone cord, leaving her for dead once she was unconscious.

The Owens’ neighbours discovered Ora the next day. She was taken to hospital, where she steadily regained consciousness. It was then she learnt Mitchell was missing from the apartment. She spent two weeks in hospital recovering from her injuries.


According to Ora, it took the authorities three days to begin searching for her son. When they first learnt of Mitchell’s disappearance, they listed him as a runaway juvenile and refused to take action, despite the fact he was just four years old.

Unfortunately, Ora was only able to catch a brief glimpse of her attacker. He has never been identified, but she believes he may have been someone she met at the Enlisted Men’s Cub at Moffett Field Naval Air Station in Mountain View, California. He’d offered to buy her a drink, but she declined and went home. She thinks he may have followed her home and driven away when she reached her front door. According to Ora, he was approximately 25 years old and stood at 6’0″, with brown hair, a moustache, blue eyes and tattoos on his arms.

Another suspect is an unidentified man who knocked on the Owens’ door just a few hours before the attack. He was in uniform, identified himself as a police officer and asked about a report she’d filed about a stolen purse the previous month. However, the Menlo Park Police Department has no record of an officer stopping by the apartment on that date.

In the years following Mitchell’s disappearance, Ora received telephone calls from an unidentified male, who repeatedly threatened to abduct her other two sons. It’s currently unknown if the calls are related to the case.

Ora has criticized the police investigation, stating police didn’t look enough into the case because Mitchell is African-American and from a poor family. She’s even gone so far as to allege that one investigator told her she had “one less mouth to feed” with Mitchell missing.

Recently, the authorities have stated they hope to use new forensic technology to solve the case, as Mitchell’s DNA is available for comparison.


Mitchell Deon Owens was abducted from his family’s apartment in Menlo Park, San Mateo County, California on February 3, 1983. He was four years old when he went missing, and what he was last seen wearing is currently unknown. At the time of the disappearance, he stood at 3’0″ and weighed 40 pounds. He has black hair, brown eyes and a lazy right eyelid. He has a scar on the upper portion of his nose and a surgical scar on the area of his left rib.

He may be using the first name Michael, and some agencies state his middle name as “Deshaun” or “Deshon”.

Currently, the case is classified as a non-family abduction. If alive, he would be 42 years old.

Those with information are asked to contact the Menlo Park Police Department at either 650-858-3308, 650-330-6300 or 650-858-3300. Tips can also be called into the Department of Public Safety at 617-754-3208 or 617-754-3209.

Image Credit: The Doe Network

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