Kathleen was last seen on May 22, 1981. That day she went to the Ches-A-Rena skating rink in Cheswick, Pennsylvania with her brother-in-law and her nieces and nephews, who were close to Kathleen's age. Kathleen's brother-in-law and her sister, Judy Stanko, who was over twenty years older than Kathleen, both worked at the rink.
At some point during the day, Kathleen got bored, left the Ches-A-Rena and walked eight blocks to her sister's home, where Stanko was home alone with her infant daughter. They spoke for about an hour, then Kathleen decided to walk the six blocks to own home in Springdale, Pennsylvania.
Stanko asked if she was sure she wanted to walk, but Kathleen said she would be fine, and left. Stanko felt her sister was being evasive and may have had plans to do something else that evening. Kathleen never arrived home and has never been heard from again.
Kathleen's niece Kimberly Robertson was about four years older than Kathleen, and the girls were good friends. Robertson believe Kathleen was not abducted but left on purpose and did not plan to return. She said there were unspecified problems in Kathleen's home at the time, and she thought her aunt had run away to avoid them. The police also treated the case as a runaway from the onset and did not seriously investigate at the time.
About nine or ten years after Kathleen's disappearance, Robertson got a strange phone call at her Springdale home from someone who simply said, "You know who I am and I'm fine" before the line went dead. She got other calls where she would pick up the phone but no one would speak. Robertson would ask if the caller as Kathleen, and the caller would hang up.
Robertson also believes Kathleen actually disappeared in 1980, not 1981, which is her aunt's listed date of disappearance. Kathleen's case remains unsolved and her family remains hopeful that she is alive.