Kristina Joanne Porco

Left and Center: Kristina circa, 1986

Right: Age Progressed to age 33

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: November 29, 1986

Missing From: Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina

Classification: Non-Family Abduction

Date Of Birth: June 30, 1970

Age: 16 years old

Height and Weight: 5’8″ and 140 pounds

Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Brown hair, Brown eyes, Kristina’s ears are pierced, she was known to wear artificial nails at the time of her 1986 disappearance, she might use the nickname “Krissi”

Clothing/Jewelry Description: An orange sweatshirt, a red sweater, a pair of light colored blue jeans, and a pair of white sneakers

NCMEC Number: 601866

Details of Disappearance

Kristina was last seen in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina on November 29th 1986. According to her mother, Merrill Inzerra, tempers were flaring inside of the family residence located in the Woodlake Villas Condominium Complex. The two were arguing about Kristina’s curfew and they shouted at each other as Kristina made a turkey sandwich and she then proceeded to leave the villa and walk around the condo. Merrill says that she watched Kristina from behind a sliding glass door and when she noticed her watching, she threw the sandwich at the door and stormed off.

A few hours later, Kristina called her mother from a friends home and returned home at 9:30 pm. When she came home, she went straight to her bedroom. Merrill went up to her room and said she told her daughter she was happy that she was home and proceeded to tell her that there had to be rules in place and that Kristina couldn’t always come and go as she wanted. This made her angry again and she put on some clothes and walked past her mother down the stairs and out the door at approximately 10:30 pm.

Kristina apparently walked out of the villa and to a phone booth across the street. She called a friend and asked if she could spend the night at their house. The friends mother said no to this and Kristina heard this. She said she would “sleep by the pool of her apartment complex.” Kristina’s friend and the friends brother prepared a sandwich for her and went to the pool, but upon reaching the pool area, she was nowhere to be found. They only found her red sweater lying near the pool.

They got scared and began looking for Kristina but were unable to locate her anywhere in the area. Kristina’s mother and father, Joe Porco, became worried for their daughters safety in the damp and cold outside area so they went out looking for her but initially assumed she had called and gone to stay with a friend. The next morning, Kristina’s parents panicked when they also found her sweater by the pool. They contacted the police and reported her as missing.

Investigators initially considered that Kristina was a runaway but her mother didn’t believe she had run off. There were no indications made by her that she intended to leave on her own and she didn’t appear to have any serious issues with her life at the time. In fact, Kristina had just finished a book report that was due the week after her disappearance and was auditioning for a solo in a performance with the “Showstoppers,” a Hilton Head High School musical group. Her costume for her part was found hanging in her bedroom. She was known to hate doing book reports so it would be unusual for her to do it and then leave.

Kristina’s mother also stated that if Kristina were to run away, she could’ve done it earlier during the day when she and her husband weren’t at home. She could’ve packed up and left but she didn’t and she also had no extra possessions with her at the time. She left her purse which contained her money and identification cards on her nightstand and during the phone call with her friend, she mentioned that she had only 11 cents with her.

While authorities did initially list Kristina as a runaway, they have since revised their opinion and believe Kristina was the victim of foul play. Investigators and Merrill believe Kristina was forcibly abducted by a non family member. When she was on the phone with her friend, she mentioned how a taxi kept passing her, slowly. It’s unclear if this is connected to her disappearance in any way. All of Kristina’s friends passed polygraph exams about her disappearance.

Following the disappearance of her daughter, Merrill actively investigating any and all information that came in about Kristina. She traveled to various places hoping to find her missing daughter. Whenever she got a call, she would drop everything and go. Through her journey, she was bombarded with false leads and tips that only led to disappointment and unfulfilled hope.

On September 10th 1990, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children located in Arlington, Virginia received a telephone call from an individual who claimed Kristina was staying in a safe house in Appleton, Wisconsin and was going by the alias “Mary Joanne Morris.” The woman said she believed her companion was in fact the missing girl in the call. A background voice in the call told the caller to tell the operator “I’m in Appleton in a safe house. That I’m in trouble and that I need help. I gotta go.” It was feared that Kristina was being held against her will in Appleton by a motorcycle gang.

Merrill borrowed $1,200 from her employer in Hilton Head and she traveled by bus for two days to Appleton. She recruited two newspaper reporters and a helpful police officer who helped to try and locate the woman who was purported to be Kristina, who was missing for four years by then. For a week, she visited various halfway houses, runaway shelters, social services agencies, hospitals, and the residences of possible suspects in the case but none could be located and there was no evidence of Kristina’s whereabouts. Investigators hoped they could receive tapes of the call but unfortunately, the call was made to the administrative line of the Center and those are not recorded or taped.

Merrill was packing to return back home in South Carolina when she received another lead which caused her to postpone the train ride back home. The tip led her to a group home where she was able to locate the woman who made the anonymous call. She was also able to find the woman who was supposedly Kristina. Merrill said the woman somewhat resembled her long lost daughter and that she appeared to have been using drugs for a long time and her mental state seemed deteriorated from it.

The woman said “It’s me…It’s me. I am her…I am her.” The woman began to cry and reporters had to drag Merrill out of the premises. Merrill later stated that she was not ungrateful for the leads she received in Wisconsin and was appreciative towards those who tried to help locate her daughter. In fact, she also got a possible lead which stated Kristina resembled a former Cablevision employee. The tip came from four employees who worked at Cablevision of the Fox Cities on S. Lawrence Street in Appleton.

The name of their former coworker was “Kristine” and her last name started with a “P.” Merrill hoped this lead might end her search for Kristina but the hopes were dashed after a check of the woman personal file showed she was six years older than Kristina and her handwriting did not match samples of Kristina’s. Even after these two leads failed, police in Appleton got various leads and sightings of Kristina. The sightings occurred in grocery stores, automobiles, and taverns. They took place in areas such as Little Chute, Menasha, Chilton, Appleton, and Mountain, Wisconsin.

Merrill stated she was extremely grateful for all the support she received in her daughters case and continued to hold out hope that she would find her daughter someday.

On April 10th 1991, a letter purportedly from a satanic cult known as “Finders of the Magic Circle” was delivered to an Orlando, Florida television station and was an apparent threat. The letter stated that “people will get killed everywhere in Florida” if there demands were not met. The letter also stated “We have Kristina Joanne Porco from Hilton Head, S.C. She is still alive but not for long. She has sold her soul to Satan and will be the next to sacrifice.” The letter was turned over to authorities who took the threats seriously.

The next day, they learned of yet another letter from this cult. The letter stated that Kristina would be sacrificed at midnight on April 30th 1991. Investigators in South Carolina were informed about the letter and Merrill was also told about them. She hoped it was a hoax and believed that the individual(s) behind the letter were possibly playing a cruel hoax on her. She believed they got Kristina’s information off of a missing children’s website or somewhere else. Several individuals contacted the police and placed Kristina the Orlando area at the time.

When April 30th came, investigators still hadn’t found any proof that the letters were credible or not and Merrill was left in a state of hope and not knowing. She said that without evidence of the sacrifice taking place, she would possibly never know if her daughter was killed or not as the letter indicated that the sacrifice would take place with no traces of evidence being left behind from it. The letter stated that the sacrifice of Kristina would be celebrated on Wednesday of that week.

According to a spokesman for the Kissimmee Police Department, May 1st 1991 on the cults calendar is reserved for sacrificing a white female in between the ages of 1 and 25. The demands that this cult stated were the release of two men who were being held for the murders of five college students in Gainesville, Florida as well as the release of a man who allegedly robbed skulls from a Florida cemetery. These demands were not met, however.

At 4:00 pm on April 30th, the Osceola County Sheriffs Office arrested a 22 year old man after FBI agents tracked him down and identified him as the writer of these letters. Kristina was not with him and it was determined that the man falsified the letters and the story about her being held by the cult. He was charged with making written death threats. He had no connections to any Satanic cult and worked at a McDonald’s (his job application was used in comparison to the letters and the handwriting matched).

The man was under suspicion for writing threatening letters to public officials since September of 1990. He admitted to writing the letters and said he got Kristina’s information off of newspapers and fliers with their information. He had nothing to do with Kristina’s presumed abduction and is not a suspect in the case. There were still sightings of Kristina all over the United States and there were even leads that she had fled to Canada with an escaped drug dealer from Hilton Head.

In November of 2004, investigators began looking at Christopher J. Below as a possible suspect in Kristina’s case. Below is a suspected serial killer with several possible victims, all of whom physically resemble Kristina and one another.

Below was born in Lorain, Ohio on and raised in Kentucky as a child. He was said to be the product of an unhappy marriage which his father, James Below, calls “one of the biggest mistakes of his life.” While in boot camp, James was served divorce papers from his former wife and Christopher’s mother, Doris. This occurred while he was preparing to be shipped off to Vietnam. Christopher was just a year old when this occurred.

Doris told Christopher that his father had been killed until years later when James showed up on their doorstep. He wanted to visit and get to know his five year old son he hasn’t seen in years. It was a moment that Christopher once described as an experience that scarred him. Doris remarried to a man named Thomas McDaniel whom Christopher didn’t get along with whatsoever. As a teenager, Christopher was sent to live with his mother’s uncle, William “Jellybean” Oglesby.

Christopher had issues adjusting to the large high school in Henderson, Kentucky and the farm he lived on in nearby Dawson Springs. The farm was situated in the western reaches of the state where the Ohio River separates Kentucky from Indiana. Family members recall Christopher’s love for roaming that rural countryside. Despite the issues he faced, he seemed to have a really good relationship with William and told detectives that he was the only one who ever loved him.

By age twelve, Christopher began smoking marijuana and would later experience various issues with drugs and alcohol abuse. In 1985, Below graduated from Union County High School and enlisted in the army. He only stayed for two months due to him developing an inflammation beneath the skin. It was an ailment called cellulitis. Below was known to use false stories from the Military as ways of swaying women to like him and go out with him.

Below’s stepfather recalls how he would call home during his Army days and report about injuries he sustained while in basic training. This was odd because whenever his stepfather and mother visited him, they found that the only wound he had was a blister on his foot. After the Army, Below jumped from job to job. He worked at factories and drove trucks. He at one point tried to rejoin the military, this time the Marines. However, records indicate he failed and didn’t even make it to boot camp.

He would present himself as a “Southern gentleman” and would charm many women with fake stories of military heroism and charisma that he knew would attract women. The false pretenses became much more tenuous and his drinking grew into a serious problem. According to one of his former girlfriends, he once lost two jobs because he didn’t show up for work and was frequently drinking while driving.

According to several of the women whom Below charmed, he would promise to pay bills, buy cars, and in general care for them but he would eventually abandon them, leaving them emotionally and financially drained. He had a habit of running up thousands of dollars in bills for calls to sex lines. He appeared to have a very big sexual appetite that these things went along with. Various people claimed that his appetite did not stop with women.

He appeared to have a thing for threesomes with one woman and another man. One woman once recounted how Below brought another man home from a bar so they could have a threesome. In 1991, Below resided in Medina, Ohio and was having and extramarital affair with a woman, Kathern Fetzer. She was 26 years old at the time and was married to her husband of five years at the time. Below was married to his third wife at the time as well.

The affair was described as summer long and extremely secretive. It was so secretive to the point that neither of their spouses suspected anything. They spent time together in the parking lot of PlastiKote, they met here as temporary employees. When Kathern left for another assignment, Below would show up at her new workplace on his motorcycle and offer her a ride. The two even worked out a signal for after hours when he wanted her, he would drive past her residence on Lafayette Road in his old white postal jeep and the loud muffler sounded the alarm.

Fetzer would make a quick excuse to her husband and would then leave with Below to be together in the parking lot of the Super K store in Medina. This continued on for months and months with Below arousing Kathern with his falsehoods of adventure.

On November 26th 1991, Kathern Fetzer disappeared without an absolute trace from her residence in Medina. She left behind a note for her husband, Michael, which stated she was feeling “restless” and was going to the mall. She never returned home and was never seen or heard from again afterwards. Authorities later discovered her locked vehicle a day later and 20 miles away from where she was last seen. It was found in a gravel truck turnaround on State Route 83 near the Wayne County line.

The car was analyzed but no evidence pointing towards what happened to Kathern was found inside of it. Eventually, however, Michael discovered a box that she stashed away which had a registered letter from Below which he sent to her. He wrote in it “I want you to know that I really do miss you and hoping to see you again real soon …”. The letter was said to contain many misspellings and tales of heroism and adventure from his fake military career.

The original detective who worked on the Kathern Fetzer case was convinced from the start that she was dead and that Christopher had murdered her. But he lacked the actual proof that any crime in relation to her disappearance was committed. Two weeks after Kathern disappeared, Below went to a pawnshop in Barberton and sold a .380 semiautomatic pistol for $40. It was the same gun he had purchased at a gun show about 17 days before Kathern went missing.

In April of 1992, Below’s marriage to his third wife was crumbling and she had something to tell detectives about Below and his link to the disappearance of Kathern. She says that on the same day Fetzer disappeared, Below had a friend help him move a vehicle that looked just like the one Fetzer drove when she disappeared. The detective who investigated Kathern’s disappearance went to speak with the friend, Richard A. Lawrence. Lawrence was able to recall everything from that day and the key to solving the case came closer with every word.

According to Lawrence, Below showed up at his Lodi home on November 26th 1991 driving his white postal jeep which appeared to be covered in mud at the time. He reportedly asked Lawrence if he would be around later in the day because he needed help moving a vehicle. He agreed to help and later during that same day, he followed Below to a set of railroad tracks in southern Medina County near Burbank. There, he observed Below park and leave a blue Ford Tempo.

Lawrence stated he was well aware of the fact that Below was having an affair with another woman but he didn’t know it was Fetzer at the time. He then realized it was Fetzer when Below’s wife told him that the car belonging to the missing Medina woman was found on the same place that he saw his friend leave the vehicle. Below told Lawrence he had to move the car away from his apartment so his wife would not get suspicious. He claimed he was repairing it to earn money so he could purchase her a gift.

Lawrence said that before Below exited Fetzer’s vehicle, he appeared to be wiping down the steering wheel and the door as he sat inside the vehicle alone for some time. Below explained he had grease on his hands which is why he was seen wiping. Lawrence also noticed that the blue tarp Below used to cover his motorcycle was in the back of the jeep. This was odd because Below never left the motorcycle uncovered.

Before anything could happen to Below with this new information about the case, he drove his white jeep back to his childhood residence in Kentucky. The jeep and the tarp disappeared after that. Afterwards, Below seemed to show a very dark side with a nasty resentment towards women. In the late 1990s, he got a tattoo on his chest which depicted two women, one with pretty, long hair and the other with horns. He would later state in a police interrogation “This is the way women are. When you meet her, she’s all nice and sweet. Later she turns into a bloodsucking whore.”

Below’s half sister, Melinda Bass, would later recount how her brother usually zeroed in on women who were considered not the best looking. She explained that he could not deal with rejection and remembers him saying “I can’t handle being turned away.” 

It would take years for Below to admit to his involvement in the presumed death of Kathern Fetzer. In November of 2003, Below resided in Evansville when he was taken downtown by authorities so they could question him regarding an accusation that he molested his niece. When they were done questioning him, the detective currently assigned to the Fetzer investigation walked into the interrogation room. Below did not know that he was a detective from Medina but the detective advised him of this.

The detective stated he was there to charge Below with the aggravated murder of Kathern Fetzer and that “the game was over.” Below nearly fell out of his chair after hearing this. After four hours of interrogation, Below finally admitted that he killed Fetzer by shooting her in his apartment in Medina. He kept saying he was screwed in the head. Below was asked about where he put her body and stated he left her in a dumpster. Detectives believe he is likely lying about this story.

Due to the nature of the crime, Below could’ve been sentenced to life in prison for Fetzer’s death but he avoided trial and that by agreeing to plead guilty to a charge of attempted involuntary manslaughter. He was convicted in September of 2004 and was sentenced to serve between 11 and 18 years in prison. He’s currently at the Marion Correctional Institution.

Investigators also suspect he was possible involved in the abduction of Heather Danyelle Teague from Spottsville, Kentucky. Teague was grabbed by an unidentified gunman while she sunbathed on Newburgh Beach and he dragged her into the woods by the hair at gunpoint. She hasn’t been seen since then. A composite sketch made of the abductor appeared to match another suspect in the case who later committed suicide but the eyewitness to Teague’s kidnapping now says it’s possible Below was the one who took Heather.

Below was in Kentucky at the time of Teague’s disappearance and he left the area on the same day that the original suspect committed suicide. He has denied any involvement in Heathers case but investigators consider him to be a person of interest in the case and it’s possible he and the other suspect in the case worked together in order to take and kill her. Heather shared friends and acquaintances with Below at the time of her abduction.

Investigators also believe he might’ve been responsible for the disappearance of Shaylene Marie Farrell who went missing from Piqua, Ohio on August 8th 1994. She was last seen leaving her families residence to run a quick errand but she never returned home and hasn’t been seen since. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance.

Christopher has also been mentioned in the case of Mary Teresa Kushto. She disappeared from St. Cloud, Florida on May 5th 1998. She was last seen leaving a local bar following an argument she had with her estranged husband at approximately 1:30 am. She has never been seen or heard from since. Investigators have noted that Christopher Below was in the St. Cloud area at the time of Mary’s disappearance.

Investigators began to look at Below in Kristina’s case because investigators found a missing persons flier of her in his residence in Lodi, Ohio during 1992. In fact, Melissa told investigators when her brother came to stay with her in her Evansville in 2000, Christopher had a shoe box of treasures that he always kept with him. He once told her that if anything were too happen to him, she would keep the box with her.

Melissa went through the box and stated that inside were an assortment of letters, nude photographs of his ex-wife in Georgia, some jewelry and a ring he said he got from his uncle. But, perhaps the most disturbing thing inside this box were the five or six fliers of missing women. They all had long, dark colored hair and were petite in size. When Below found out about Melissa’s snooping, he put the box in a larger box with a lock and put it somewhere. Investigators hope to locate it at some point.

Investigators have also noted how in some pictures of Below over the years, he appeared to be wearing women’s jewelry since they were small on him. They suspect he may have kept souvenirs from his victims.

In November of 2004, a detective from South Carolina went to the Ohio correctional facility where Below was serving his sentence for the murder of Kathern Fetzer so that he could question him about the Porco case. The detective stated he had received more background information on Below and hopes to either eliminate him as a suspect or pursue him in the case. Below was known to be living in South Carolina during the late 1980s and they are trying to pinpoint his whereabouts at the time of Kristina’s disappearance.

It’s should be noted that Below has not been criminally charged with any of the cases besides the case of Kathern Fetzer and only speculation and theories link him to the other cases.

At the time of her disappearance, Kristina was described as an average student at Hilton Head High School. She was looking forward to visiting Upstate New York for Christmas with her family and she would also get to see some of her old friends. She was originally from Johnsburgh, New York. Her mother remembers her singing with the Hilton Head High School choir and how she would teach Christmas carols in French to second graders. She also loved to swim in Lake George.

Kristina had owned a golden retriever at the time of her disappearance and the dog would sleep next to her bed in her bedroom for six years after her disappearance. It passed away while sleeping in there. It should be noted that Kristina’s savings account, which contained between $100 and $200 hasn’t been utilized for any purpose since 1986.

Merrill continued to search for her daughter for many years. She theorizes that Kristina’s remains are possibly in the North Forest Beach area. She held out hope for years that her daughter would be found alive and received help form many people during her fight for answers. John Walsh was one of many people to help Merrill. He is very well known for the television series “America’s Most Wanted.” His own son, Adam Walsh, was abducted and murdered in 1981.

Frustrated by the lack of action and help when he was still missing, John and his wife, Reve, helped to establish The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 1984. During the centers early years, John offered his assistance to Merrill. He offered a cash reward for any information leading to the whereabouts of Kristina. Her disappearance was also featured in a six minute segment on “A Current Affair” in April of 1991.

In 1989, Merrill started the Parents of Runaways or Missing Children in the southeast program. Through her work, the organization helped the FBI and police in photographing, fingerprinting, and making voice audio recordings of children. She once made the records of over 5,100 children in one day. She and Kristina’s father, Joe, divorced in 1988 and she moved back to Johnsburg in the years following her daughters disappearance. She passed away in 2009. In her obituary, she listed Kristina as surviving her.

Kristina has never been found and her disappearance remains unsolved. A memorial service for her was held in Hilton Head in April of 1993. She once had a brother but he was killed in a vehicle accident when she was a month old. Foul play is suspected in her case.

Investigating Agency

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

Beaufort County Sheriffs Office 843-689-4300

Source Information

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The Charley Project

The Doe Network


The Oshkosh Northwestern 09/30/1990

The Post Crescent 10/01/1990

Daily Citizen 10/04/1990

The Post Crescent 04/30/1991

The Post Crescent 05/01/1991

The Akron Beacon Journal 02/15/2005

Dark Secrets of Christopher Below – Part 1

Part II: Vanishing Point

Part III: The Terrible Silence


The Island Packet

The Post Star

14 NBC News

14 NBC News