Seventeen-year-old Kellie was last seen on May 20, 1982 in Novi, Michigan. She and her boyfriend, Mark Graves took the bus together to their high school. Kellie skipped her classes that day and hitchhiked to the Twelve Oaks Mall where she she proceeded to apply for jobs at several stores.
A friend's mother saw Kellie at the mall and offered her a ride, but Kellie turned her down and said that she was planning to place more applications before going home. This was the last confirmed sighting of Kellie.
Kellie was staying with Mark and his family in their apartment in Walled Lake, Michigan in May of 1982. She left her family's home in West Bloomfield, Michigan after telling her friends that her stepfather, Paul Brownlee had abused her. Kellie's friends stated that they had seen bruises on Kellie's body before she disappeared.
Paul Brownlee had pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual misconduct in 1977 after Kellie's older sister Kim filed charges against him; Kim then moved to California, where the girls' biological father resided.
Kellie remained in Michigan where she had a good relationship with their mother, Loretta. She had occasionally moved out of the family's home after problems with Paul came to the forefront.
Loretta stated that Kellie was planning to move back to West Bloomfield once Paul left the residence, but Loretta did not divorce Paul until 1985 (three years after Kellie disappeared) and there were apparently ongoing discussions about the plan at the time.
When Kellie didn't return to the Graves' apartment or call Mark by 9:00 p.m., Mark called the police. A search was initiated soon after, but little evidence was located; Mark was ruled out as a suspect early on in the investigation.
Speculation began to center around Paul Brownlee, who claimed that he was visiting his father-in-law's grave and going to the gym the day Kellie disappeared. Paul also denied that he had abused Kellie in any way and maintained he had nothing to do with her disappearance.
In June of 1982, Paul placed a $1,000 reward for information about his stepdaughter's disappearance. He agreed to a police interview in July of 1982 and again stated he was innocent. He retained an attorney and refused to submit to a polygraph test the same month.
Having little evidence to implicate Paul other than the rumors of abuse towards Kellie, investigators began to look elsewhere for clues. They suspected that counterfeiting operator James Mitchell DeBardeleben may have had a connection to Kellie's case.
In November of 1983, DeBardeleben's residence in northern Virginia was searched by United States Secret Service agents where they discovered numerous journals, audio tapes and photographs of various women in sadomasochistic activities against their will.
DeBardeleben was suspected of attacking and murdering many women, as well as conducting his counterfeiting ring; he apparently liked brunette females and hitchhikers, both of which fit Kellie's mold. The photographs were given to Loretta for purposes of attempting to identify Kellie, but there was no connection.
DeBardeleben has since been ruled out as a suspect in Kellie's case. It is worth noting that he did not cooperate with authorities in their investigation of another young brunette's disappearance, Judith Chartier; DeBardeleben remains as a suspect in that case.
Paul Brownlee continues to maintain that he is innocent and not connected to Kellie's disappearance. He occasionally hands what he considers to be leads over to authorities in West Bloomfield, who still want to re-interview him about the case. He continues to refuse their requests.
Ream was convicted of rape in the 1970s. In 1986, he raped and murdered Cindy Zarzycki, a thirteen-year-old girl who was dating his son. He was convicted of Cindy's murder and in 2008, he lead authorities to her body, which was buried on a 24-acre property that he owned 30 miles from Detroit, Michigan. While in prison, Ream reportedly told cellmates he was a serial killer with four to six victims.
In May of 2018, police began digging at the same property where Cindy had been buried, expecting to find the bodies of other missing girls there, but no human remains were found and the digging stopped after a week.
As of 2020, Kellie's case remains unsolved.
Description[edit | edit source]
Kellie is described as a Caucasian female with brown hair & brown eyes, is 5'7 and weighs between 125-135 pounds. Her upper left front tooth is capped and her ears are double-pierced. She also has a slight heart murmur.
She was last seen wearing a long-sleeved peach-colored blouse, white painter's pants and burgundy Nina pumps. She was also carrying a wine-colored purse the day she went missing.