Left and Center: Kelly circa, 1984
Right: Age Progressed to age 42
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: August 10, 1984
Missing From: Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: April 29, 1971
Age: 13 years old
Height and Weight: 5’5″ and 100 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Biracial Female; Kelly is African American and Caucasian, Black hair, Brown eyes, Kelly has a gap between her two upper front teeth and occasionally wears glasses
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A pink/orange/gray colored shirt and black striped shorts
NCMEC Number: 603337
Details of Disappearance
Kelly Jean Harris was last seen in Jackson, Michigan on August 10th 1984. She was last seen as she rode her bicycle near her family’s home in the 100 block of Lincoln Court. She disappeared and was never seen or heard from again. Her family reported her missing later that evening when she never returned home.
Kelly’s bike which is described as a red three speed bicycle was later found at the entrance of Ella Sharp Park which is located quite a distance away from her home. Her family later learned that Kelly had purchased a bus ticket to Detroit, Michigan and was observed boarding a bus to Detroit at the local bus station.
Authorities initially classified Kelly’s disappearance as that of a runaway. She was upset on the day of her disappearance because she was not allowed to attend the local fair. Her family maintained that she would not leave and authorities now suspect that Kelly met with foul play.
Authorities always believed that Kelly’s stepfather, Leonard Victor Hugall, was responsible for Kelly’s disappearance. He has a history of violent behavior and child molestation. Most of this occurred before he met Kelly and had her as his stepdaughter. Hugall and Kelly’s mother, Carol Hugall, divorced in 1994.
Hugall would later be convicted for robbery and sexual battery in Florida in 1993. In that same year, he also raped and murdered a mother and her daughter in Micanopy, Florida.
Carols stated that Hugall and Kelly’s relationship was strained in 1984. She believed that Hugall had killed Kelly in 1984. She confronted him about Kelly’s disappearance which is what caused their divorce. He originally told authorities that he believed Kelly ran away from home and refused to cooperate with authorities regarding Kelly’s disappearance for more than 2 decades.
In 2006, Hugall confessed to raping and killing Kelly on the day of her disappearance. He confessed to investigator, Mel Hartman with the Jackson County Prosecutors Office who visited him in Florida.
Hugall told the investigator that he told Kelly he would take her to the local fair but instead he took her to the St. John School where he worked. He then said that he sexually assaulted Kelly there and then took her to the Jackson Community College where the stabbed her to death. Blood evidence was recovered to concur his statements.
Hugall said that he buried Kelly in a shallow grave. He was taken to Michigan in 2006 to lead investigators to the location of Harris’ remains. Her remains were never found. It possible that Kelly’s remains were disinterred and scattered by animals.
Hugall cannot be charged with Kelly’s murder until 2033 when he finishes his Florida sentence. By then, he will be well over 90 years of age.
In 2009, Carol held a remembrance for her daughter and spoke about her life prior to her alleged murder. She was described as a feisty but loving girl. She loved her younger sister, Kristen, and was close to Carol.
Kelly Jean has never been recovered and foul play is suspected in her case which remains classified as a non family abduction.
Some agencies may list August 11th or 14th as her date of disappearance.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Jackson County Sheriffs Office 517-788-4200
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children