Left and Center: Kirsten circa, 1997
Right: Age Progressed to age 24
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: May 14, 1997
Missing From: Midwest City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: February 12, 1989
Age: 8 years old
Height and Weight: 4’2″ and 55 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: White Female, Brown hair, Brown eyes, Kirsten has a discoloration on her neck and a mole on the bridge of her nose near her left eye, her two upper front teeth are permanent and she had pierced ears, Kirsten stuttered when she spoke at the time of her disappearance and she is known to be left handed, her nickname is “Kurdle Burdle”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: An adult sized white t-shirt with the printed phrase of “Bud Bowl” on the front
NCMEC Number: 832698
Details of Disappearance
Kirsten Hatfield was allegedly kidnapped from her home in Midwest City, Oklahoma on May 14th 1997. She was last seen at 11:30 pm on May 13th when her mother, Shannon Haze put the child to bed along with her 3 year old sister. Kirsten shared a room with her sister at the time.
Shannon went to their bedroom to check on them at some point between 6:00 am and 6:30 am and discovered that Kirsten was missing. It was discovered that there were small amounts of blood on the rooms window sill and was also present on the backyards 6 foot tall cyclone fence. Investigators also found Kirstens ripped and bloodied underwear in the backyard.
Investigators have found no trace of Kirsten since and there was no evidence as to her whereabouts at the time. They initially believed someone close to Kirsten was responsible for her disappearance. They didn’t think a stranger could get into the room and take Kirsten through the yard without a noise or struggle.
Investigators questioned several persons whom were close to Kirsten at the time of her abduction. They were all said to have failed their polygraph exams but there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone in relation to her disappearance at the time. Shannon was involved with drugs at the time of her daughters disappearance, she believed someone whom she knew and had ties to drug culture had taken her child.
Shannon hopes her daughter was still alive until some time after her disappearance. She has never given up hope of knowing what happened to her daughter and where she is. On October 12th 2015, authorities made an arrest in Kirstens 18 year old disappearance.
Anthony Joseph Palma was the suspect arrested. He was charged with 1st degree murder and kidnapping in relation to her disappearance after DNA evidence linked him to the crime. It was his DNA that matched the blood found on Kirstens window sill and on her underwear.
Anthony lived two houses away from Kirsten at the time of her abduction and was still living there when police arrested him. Investigators believe he stayed at the home after he committed the crime to conceal evidence of it and possibly even the location of Kirstens body.
Investigators believe that Palma abducted Kirsten with intentions of sexually assaulting her, they believe she was killed shortly after her abduction. He was previously convicted of breaking into a woman’s house and assaulting her in 1982. It’s also possible that in the late 1970s or early 1980s that he sexually assaulted another young girl.
The girl was the same age as Kirsten and the crime was committed in a very similar fashion to Kirstens abduction. He allegedly broke into the girls home through her bedroom window and molested her. Police who were in the scene noticed his truck was near the home of the victim and knew the child. He was dating her older sister at the time of the attack.
He was not charged in relation to that case due to lack of evidence. In 1998, a year after Kirsten went missing, a woman accused Palma of drugging and raping her. She allegedly lived with him at time of the supposed crime, he hasn’t been charged in that case either.
He went on trial for Kirstens murder in October of 2017. Multiple witnesses testified against him and described how he sexually abused them when they were children. He maintained his innocence in Kirstens case but was convicted of kidnapping and killing her. He received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He initially attempted suicide in 2015 by slashing his wrists but was unsuccessful in doing so.
On January 14th 2019, Palma was strangled to death by his cell mate. His death has stalled the investigation since investigators hoped he would give them the location of Kirstens body. Investigators searched his home and backyard for any sign of Kirsten but there was no trace of her there. Her mother has asked investigators to search a lake that Palma previously worked at for any signs of her missing daughter. It’s unclear if this location has been searched.
At the time of her disappearance, Kirsten resides with her family in the 1100 block of Jet Drive. Her body hasn’t been recovered but foul play is suspected.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Midwest City Police Department 405-739-1330