Overview of Michelle Hart
Michelle Hart was a 20 year old woman who was taken far too soon.
Michelle was a daughter, a girlfriend, and was known to enjoy shooting pool. At the time of her death, Michelle was living in a van parked on Main Street in Fort Myers Beach, FL with her boyfriend. One could consider her a free spirit or a dreamer, leading her to be lovingly nicknamed “Breeze”. Michelle was known to hitchhike frequently, and to have been a very trusting person, possibly to a fault.
"Michelle was somebody to everybody who ever knew her." - Judith Hampson, Michelle’s mother.
The day leading up to her death.
On February 11, 1983, Michelle spent her morning hunting for a new job after she had recently lost her job working on a shrimp fishing boat. After her job hunt, Michelle returned to her van at Fort Myers Beach and changed her clothes before hitchhiking back to Fort Myers, to meet with her attorney. Michelle met with her attorney from about 3:30 pm until around 4:30 pm. The last bus to Fort Myers Beach left the area near the courthouse at around 5:30, though it seems Michelle did not take the bus home that afternoon.
Michelle visits a popular pool hall in Fort Myers.
Instead, Michelle visited a local pool hall called Pic-Wic, in downtown Fort Myers. While at the pool hall, Michelle was seen speaking with two men as they played pool. Michelle is believed to have left the pool hall sometime after 10:00pm. While at the pool hall, witnesses reported seeing Michelle asking around for a ride back to Fort Myers Beach.
Authorities believe that Michelle may have left with one of the men, who may have offered to give her a ride home. At the time, this man was described as being approximately 25 years old, with a medium build, sandy brown hair past his shoulders, a full reddish beard to his chest, and having a raspy voice; he was last seen wearing a green fatigue jacket.
The next day, Michelle's body was found.
The following day, February 12, 1983, at around 2:30 pm, Michelle’s body was found by three young boys, floating in the water of the Caloosahatchee River on the Fort Myers side of the Cape Coral bridge. She was nude, wearing only sandals and cheap silver-plated earrings. According to Michelle’s autopsy, numerous blows had been inflicted with a heavy pipe-shaped object, such as a tire iron or a long screwdriver. Most of her jewelry was missing and several items were found near her body in the water or in the sand, but there was no determination on any correlation of the items to her death as it was frequented by locals fishing in the area. She had been dead for about 12 hours when she was found.
"For years I had dreaded that phone call. And somehow I always knew it would come . The day when someone would call and say something had happened to my daughter Michelle." - Judith Hampson, Michelle’s mother.
Where the case stands today.
Today this case is still considered to be a cold case. There is very little information available and no leads of new evidence have been presented, and officials continue searching for the two men last seen with Michelle on the night of her death.
If you have any information, please contact the Lee County Sheriff’s office at (239) 477-1000 or send your tip in an email to [email protected]. You can also submit tips anonymously through Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at (800) 780-TIPS (8477).