Jillian Dee Cutshall

Left: Jillian circa 1987 Right: Age Progressed to age 34

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: August 13, 1987 from Norfolk, Madison County, Nebraska

Classification: Non-Family Abduction

Date Of Birth: February 19, 1978

Age: 9 years old

Height and Weight: 4’6″; 65 pounds

Distinguishing Characteristics: White Female, Blonde hair, Blue eyes, Jillian has a two inch vertical scar on the crown of her head, a horizontal scar on her right upper lip, Jillian has crooked teeth, she may use the nickname “Jill”

Clothing/Jewelry Description: A purple shirt, a pair of blue jeans, and white Nike sneakers

Circumstances of Disappearance

Jillian was last seen in Norfolk, Nebraska on August 13th 1987. She was visiting her father, Roger Cutshall, and her stepmother at the time of her disappearance. Her parents had been divorced at the time. She lived in Kansas with her mother, Joyce Cutshall, and her brother at the time of her disappearance.

Roger and his wife resided in the McNeely Apartments at the time. Jillian was known to not like staying in the apartment alone when they were at work. Jillian started to walk to a babysitters residence which was located 4 blocks away from her residence. Jillian never arrived at the babysitters residence.

Jillian’s disappearance was not noticed until 3:00 pm of that day. Her babysitter naturally assumed that Jillian had decided to stay home that day. Her stepmother drove to the sitters home to find that Jillian never came to residence. Her disappearance was reported immediately after.

Authorities suspect that Jillian was abducted while walking to her babysitters home. Three months after she vanished, her clothing and other items were found at the Wood Duck Wildlife refuge located in Stanton, Nebraska. This was a considerable 10 miles away from where Jillian vanished.

Authorities believe that Jillian was taken by David C. Phelps, a man who lived in Rogers apartment building and had previously met Jillian. He had been molesting young children since he was in his teens. He preferred blonde girls with blue eyes in the ages of 4-6 years. He stated he did like Jillian’s blue eyes but stated she was too old for his preference/liking. Phelps became a suspect after a tip in 1988 led Joyce Cutshall to him.

In 1989, Phelps confessed to assisting another man, Kermit Baumgartner, in molesting Cutshall. He stated that he and Kermit took Jillian to wildlife refuge where he held Jillian down while Baumgartner molested her. Phelps stated he got nervous and left Jillian with Kermit while he drove back home. He stated he never saw Jillian again.

Kermit has a record for sexual assault. Phelps was able to perfectly describe Jillian’s clothing. Kermit denied being involved in Jillian’s abduction. He has never been charged in her disappearance and Phelps later recanted the statement and stated that it was coerced by a P.I.

Phelps and Baumgartner left the state soon after and moved to different states. Phelps was later indicted for kidnapping Jillian with intent to defile. He was convicted in the spring of 1991 and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. This came after Joyce started a petition drive that would force a jury to do this.

Jillian remains missing and although she was declared legally deceased, no one has been charged with killing her. Her case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

Norfolk Police Department 402-644-8700

NCMEC Number: 600904

Source Information:

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The Charley Project

The Doe Network

NamUs