MWC Police Hope Arrest Will Lead To More Answers In Disappearance Case

Tuesday, October 13th 2015, 10:43 pm
By: News 9

For 18 years, Kirsten Hatfield's family and friends have wondered what happened the night the 8-year-old disappeared from her bedroom.

Investigators believe the arrest of Anthony Palma may give police the answers they've searched for, for so long.

Before the arrest, investigators closely watched Palma at his home for weeks and finally made their move on Monday.

Investigators call their luck getting this break like finding a needle in a haystack.

10/13/2015 Related Story: Kirsten Hatfield's Family 'Is Hopeful' After Anthony Joseph Palma's Arrest

It started in June, when Midwest City police reassigned the 18-year-old cold case.

The new detective re-interviewed 10 men who were in contact with Kirsten before her disappearance.

He also collected DNA samples from them, including Palma's.

Detectives met with Palma that same month at Lake Thunderbird where he worked as a groundskeeper.

They questioned Palma about what he remembered from the night of Kirsten's abduction.

This summer, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation lab finally found a match.

“In July of this year, we received a report from OSBI that indicated the blood sample from Kirsten Hatfield's panties and also the blood on the windowsill matched Anthony Palma," Midwest City police Chief Brandon Clabes said.

For the next several weeks, investigators watched Palma from afar.

They even applied for a search warrant and a wiretap on Palma's phone.

But something changed last weekend and it caused investigators to speed up their plan.

“We've had him under surveillance. We felt very confident with our game plan. We did accelerate it this weekend for unspecified reasons,” Clabes said.

Midwest City police is continuing to hold Palma at their jail while they question him.

Kirstin's family now has faith that the nearly two decade long nightmare will soon come to an end.

“Our family is hopeful, but we are very tired, and we just want to take this opportunity to let all of our friends and family know that we are okay," said Chris Hazen, Kirsten’s stepfather.

Clabes told News 9 their investigation is still in the beginning stages and it is possible there are more suspects.