Left and Center: Grace circa, 1978
Right: Age Progressed to age 44
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: June 6, 1978
Missing From: Jericho, Chittenden County, Vermont
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: February 10, 1973
Age: 5 years old
Height and Weight: 3’0″ and 30 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Brown hair, Brown eyes, Grace was known to go by her nickname “Gracie” at the time of her 1978 disappearance
NCMEC Number: 1149724
Details of Disappearance
Grace or more commonly known as Gracie Reapp was last seen with her mother, Grace Marie Canto Reapp, in Jericho, Vermont on June 6th 1978. They disappeared from their home which was located on Hanley Lane in a rural area, their property was a 10-acre plot. Grace allegedly left a note behind which said that she and Gracie were leaving and had no plans of returning. They were never seen or heard from again after 1978.
The pair were reported as missing by Michael Eugene Reapp on June 11th 1978, 5 days after they went missing. Michael was Graces husband and Gracies father. He then filed for divorce from Grace on June 16th 1978, only 10 days after their disappearance. He stated his reasons for divorce were desertion and intolerable severity. They had been married since 1965 when Michael was 20 years old and Grace was 19 years old.
When questioned about his wife and daughters disappearance, Michael admitted that he had several affairs with women during his marriage to Grace and was actually having one at the time of their disappearances. There have also been reports that he was physically abusive towards his wife. He held onto his story that the pair left on their own accord.
The couple also had two sons aged 7 and 11 years old. Graces loved ones said it would have been uncharacteristic for her to leave the children behind. In December of 1978, Michael wrote to his wife’s family and told them that he believed Grace had left because she herself was having an affair and left her two sons behind since they knew about it.
The divorce was finalized in July of 1979, one year after Gracie and her mother disappeared. He married the children’s former babysitter in November of that year. He lost his job as an air traffic controller and moved his family to Florida afterwards. He and his second wife got a divorce in 1985.
In the years after Grace and Gracie disappeared, Michael continued to tell authorities that he believed the pair left voluntarily and that they were living with relatives. He also said he hoped that Gracie would contact him one day. Graces family continues to look for the pair and hasn’t heard from either since 1978.
Their case grew cold and became harder to solve. The investigation into the disappearance was reopened during the summer of 1987 and investigators started to believe foul play was involved in the case. They’ve been conducting searches of the Reapp property since Grace and Gracie went missing in 1978, they have not found any trace of them on the property, however.
By the mid 1990s, Michael had remarried a third time but in May of 1996, one of his sons that he had with Grace passed away in Germany due to natural causes and afterwards, investigators reinterviewed Michael about his former wife and daughter but he have the same story about the voluntary disappearance scenario.
On October 26th 1996, Michael left his home in Jupiter, Florida and drove away in his gray 1994 Isuzu pickup truck with with the Florida State license plate number JJZ55G. He then apparently drove to New Orleans, Louisiana where he made a withdrawal at an ATM there. He was reported as a missing person by his and graces surviving son. His disappearance was reported to authorities in Florida.
His truck was discovered at a New Orleans airport in December of 1996 but there was no sign of him there. He only took two belongings which included his toothbrush and cigarettes.
In 1996, the disappearance of Grace and Gracie was declared a homicide investigation. Michael was named as the primary suspect in their case. In June of 2006, he was charged with 1st degree murder in relation to Grace’s death and 2nd degree murder in relation to Gracie’s death. Investigators believe Michael killed Grace because she found out about his affair and that he killed Gracie because she witnessed her mothers murder.
Investigators attempted to locate him so he could be properly prosecuted for their murders but he remained at large. In June of 2010, investigators stated they had positively identified Michael as being a John Doe killed in Yuma, Arizona. On January 10th of 1997, Michael kidnapped a man at gunpoint and stole his vehicle. The victim was able to escape from him and Michael was forced to pull over on the highway in a police chase.
Michael killed himself by shooting himself in the head with the gun before police could properly arrest him. He remained unidentified for 13 years. He was identified through means of his fingerprint.
Investigators believe that Michael buried the bodies of Grace and Gracie somewhere on the property they lived on. Investigators have conducted a total of 25 digs on the property without success but continue to believe they are still buried there. They hope to recover their bodies someday.
Foul play is suspected in Gracie’s disappearance and she’s never been located.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Vermont State Police 802-524-5993