Natasha Marie Shanes

Left and Center: Natasha circa, 1985

Right: Age Progressed to age 39

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: May 8, 1985

Missing From: Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan

Classification: Non-Family Abduction

Date Of Birth: January 23, 1979

Age: 6 years old

Height and Weight: 4’0″ and 57 pounds

Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Blonde hair, Brown eyes, Natasha suffers from epilepsy and a mild intellectual disability, she also has scoliosis, she has the mental age of a 4 year old and is required to take the medication Depakote in order prevent seizures, if she does not take the medication she may slip into a coma and die, she is also allergic to some types of epilepsy medication, she is said to be emotionally disturbed and this could be due to her illnesses and the treatments she has received, Natasha may use the nicknames “Tasha” or “Tashia”, she has a small scar on her forehead, a dog bite scar on her cheek, she also has a strawberry birthmark on the back of her neck at her hairline, and Natasha has fallen arches or flat feet and wears special shoes to help fix the problem

Clothing/Jewelry Description: A large blue/white shirt with a safety pin attached to it, a pair of blue jeans, Natasha might’ve been wearing a denim skirt at the time of her disappearance

NCMEC Number: 601899

Details of Disappearance

Natasha was last seen in Jackson, Michigan on May 8th 1985. She lived with her mother, Susan Shanes and her mothers live-in boyfriend, Robert F. Forbes as well as four other siblings in their residence located in the 900 block of Maple Avenue at the time. She was last seen sleeping on the couch in the living room of her home. During the early morning hours, Susan said she woke up to the sounds of a car door slamming outside. She went back to sleep and didn’t think anything was wrong at the time.

Susan woke up at 6:00 am and discovered Natasha was missing. Upon looking around the home, she discovered that a door leading into the house was wide open. There was no sign of Natasha in her home and she hasn’t been positively seen since. Susan contacted the police and reported her daughter as missing. An extensive search of the area turned up no signs of Natasha or what happened to her.

Authorities found no signs of forced entry into the home and found no signs of a struggle either. It’s believed that Natasha vanished at some point between 1:30 am and 6:00 am. It was considered that she woke up and wandered away from her home. However, this theory doesn’t hold much weight as it’s unlikely that she could’ve gotten far away from the home before police were contacted. No one reported seeing anything strange in the area at the time.

Susan and most people involved in the case believe a stranger abducted Natasha and removed her from the home. Her case is classified as a non family abduction although no suspects have been positively identified in the case and authorities don’t know if an abduction actually occurred even though Susan is insistent that this is what occurred.

Two days after Natasha vanished, Robert was found deceased near his mothers home. He had been shot to death and his death was ruled a suicide at the time. Authorities initially felt his death could’ve been linked to the case but they found no evidence of this. Susan believes Robert’s death was not a suicide and that he had been murdered in connection to Natasha’s possible abduction.

It should be worth mentioning that Robert was a drug dealer at the time of Natasha’s disappearance and he had previously spent time in prison for trafficking heroin. He’s not considered a suspect in the child’s disappearance although details on his connection to the case remain vague.

Authorities have stated that Natasha’s disappearance is unrelated to a custody dispute and her father is not a suspect in the case. He stopped working to help search for her but passed away six days after she vanished. There was a possible sighting of her in the Twin Cities area in August 1985 but the sighting hasn’t been confirmed.

At the time of her disappearance, Natasha attended a school for children with special needs and disabilities. Although she had emotional problems and constant mood swings, Natasha was said to enjoy makeup and playing with her siblings and other children. She also liked playing with purses and shoes and could often be found singing.

Natasha’s disappearance remains unsolved. Most law enforcement officials believe Natasha is deceased due to the amount of time that has passed since her disappearance and the fact that she suffered from multiple medical issues. However, Susan remains hopeful her daughter is alive and says she worries about the child everyday due to her epilepsy.

Investigating Agency

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

Jackson Police Department 517-768-8727

Source Information

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The Charley Project

The Doe Network


Lansing State Journal 06/18/1985

Lansing State Journal 08/07/1985

The Herald-Palladium 08/09/1985

Latrobe Bulletin 03/11/1986

Stories of the Unsolved

Jackson’s News Talk

WILX News 10