Authorities Search Property Of Man Arrested In 1997 Missing Girl Case

Wednesday, October 14th 2015, 6:07 pm
By: News 9

The search continues Wednesday in a case that has haunted the metro for years.

Back in 1997, Kirsten Hatfield was taken from her Midwest City home. Wednesday afternoon, Anthony Palma, a man who lived nearby, sits in the Oklahoma County jail.  The search continues for Hatfield's remains.

10/14/2015 Related Story: Investigators Digging, Searching At Palma Property In MWC

It has been nearly two decades since little Kirsten Hatfield was kidnapped from her bedroom. Now authorities are focused on the backyard of a neighbor who lives just two houses down from where Hatfield disappeared.

“You’re grown up, and you’re on TV,” someone can be heard saying to Hatfield in a home video.

Kirsten Hatfield would be a grown up if she were here today. Her high-pitched voice is captured in home video. It’s the voice of a little girl the nation has been searching for since 1997. She was kidnapped from her own bedroom window.

"911. What's your emergency?"

"My daughter. I woke up this morning and she's not in her bed. She's missing. She's eight years old."

"So has she ever left before?"

"No. Never, never."

"Was there any sign of entry or anything?"

"No. Her door daughter cried at three and their door shut."

"You said was crying?"

"My three year old was crying. Their door was shut. I just went and opened it. I didn't even look and see if she was there."

Fast forward years later, investigators are looking to see what's there, and what's in the backyard of Anthony Palma, a man who's lived two doors down from Hatfield, and he still lives here.

But before Hatfield's 1997 disappearance, Palma served prison time for "breaking an outer side door" of a woman's home. He was charged in 1982 with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He used a "soft drink bottle" and struck, clubbed and beat the woman. It is a violent history that investigators are trying to link together.

“Obviously what we’re looking for is anything buried in the ground,” Midwest City Chief Brandon Clabes said.

They are using ground penetrating ex-ray equipment. Just like the search for a potential suspect all these years, it takes time.

“This is a very time consuming, tedious process,” said Clabes. “It could be weeks before we are complete out here, before we actually do a complete search of the property.”