Real Name: Micki Jo West
Location: St. Joseph, Missouri
Date: September 11th, 1979
Occupation: Nurse's Aid at St. Joseph State Hospital
Date of Birth: September 25, 1959
Height: 5'5 - 5'6
Weight: 140 to 150 pounds
Marital Status: Married
Characteristics: Caucasian female, brown hair, brown eyes, wears eye glasses which have her name "Micki" printed on the right lens. West was last seen wearing white uniform and shoes. She was also wearing a khaki coat and was carrying a white purse.
Details: Nineteen-year-old Micki Jo West worked at St. Joseph Hospital as a nurse's aid. At 6AM on the morning of September 11, 1979, she left her home in St. Joseph, Missouri and headed for work. She was last seen walking to a nearby bus stop. She never arrived at work and was never seen or heard from again. She never claimed her pay check. Micki Jo had just moved from California with her husband to St. Joseph prior to her disappearance.
Micki's family and friends suspect foul play. However, her body has never been found. Police identified a prime suspect within days of her disappearance. Marvin Lee Irvin (whose name was not revealed at the time of the broadcast) had allegedly threatened Micki because she became involved in the bitter marital dispute between his and his wife, Ruth West. Ruth was her best friend and sister-in-law. Shortly before her disappearance, she told Ruth that she was very frightened of the threats. She said that she was going to start carrying a hammer with her to work for protection.
For seven years, no new evidence was found. In 1986, a deliveryman at a Kansas City shopping mall seventy-five miles from where Micki disappeared found a letter. It was addressed to the St. Joseph police and read: I need your help. I was with Marvin Irvin when he killed Micki Jo West and hid the body. I can kill myself now. Please help. The letter was unsigned.
About a month later on October 2, another letter was found in the same mall. A security guard found the note in a hallway. The same type of envelope and paper was used. The message was similar; the note again named Irvin and the author mentioned that he was there when the murder took place. He also mentioned that he couldn't stand having the knowledge about the crime taking place.
Seven weeks later, three more letters were found in St. Joseph. The first one was found in a shopping mall. The second one was found at a local truck stop the same day. The third one was found by a janitor in the same shopping mall. After reviewing the five notes, investigators were certain that they were written by the same person. They looked into the possibility that the notes were a hoax. However, they do not believe this, as some details had not been released to the public. They also felt that the notes seemed realistic and genuine based on the manner of writing and words used.
FBI agents also examined the letters. They believed that the author was intimidated by Micki's killer. They did not believe that they were written by a stranger. Instead, they believed that the author was close to Micki prior to her death.
On January 13, 1988, another letter turned up at a Kansas City mall theater. It was addressed to the police and a local TV station. Eight months later, Thurman Mitchell, a reporter for the station, received a letter addressed to him personally. In the letter, the author said that if Thurman came alone, he would show him where Micki was. He claimed that he was not interested in the reward; instead, he merely wanted help. In response to receiving the letter, Thurman did a news story, asking for the author to come forward. An on-air appeal was unsuccessful and the letter writer's identity remains unknown.
Investigators are certain that the author of the letters is key to solving Micki's case. Her family and friends hope that the author will come forward so that they can have some closure.
Suspects: Marvin Lee Irvin, a former police officer, was considered the prime suspect in Micki's disappearance. He allegedly had threatened her in the weeks prior to her disappearance due to her involvement in his marital dispute. Irvin physically abused his wife Ruth (who was Micki's best friend and sister-in-law). A few weeks before Micki vanished, Ruth and her young son fled their home and stayed at a motel. Micki knew their location and refused to tell Irvin.
However, on the day of her disappearance, two of Irvin's friends found Ruth and her son and took them to Irvin. This led investigators to believe that he abducted Micki and forced her to tell him their whereabouts. However, at the time, there was no other evidence to suggest that he was involved. He also passed a polygraph test.
Several years after Micki vanished, anonymous letters were found in various locations in Missouri. The author claimed to have been with Irvin when he killed Micki. However, the author himself never came forward.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the January 25, 1989 episode.
At the time of the broadcast, Marvin Lee Irvin's name was not mentioned, as he had not yet been charged in the case.
Results: Unresolved. In 1988, Marvin Lee Irvin was arrested for attempting to kidnap his girlfriend. She told police that he confessed to killing Micki; he also threatened to kill her if she left him. In the fall of 1990, Irvin was arrested and charged with the murders of Patricia Diane Rose and Crystal Lynn Simmons. The two women had vanished earlier in 1990. Their bodies were found in a field near property that the Irvin family owned. Autopsies revealed that both women died of blunt force trauma. The victims' jewelry were found in his home, along with a hammer that was determined to be the murder weapon. Blood from both victims were found in his truck.
Irvin initially denied killing either woman or Micki. However, police located a key witness: a young woman who was dating Irvin at the time of Micki's disappearance. She told investigators that she had helped Irvin dispose of Micki's body. As a result of her testimony, he was charged with Micki's kidnapping and murder.
In the fall of 1991, he confessed to Micki's murder, stating that as he had approached her at the bus stop, she took a hammer out of her purse and threw it at him. He then beat her and intended to take her to work, but allegedly she made racial references to him so he stabbed her four times in the chest, shot her twice in his vehicle and buried her in a cornfield in Highland, Kansas. This is the same property where his other victims were found.
In October of 1991, Irvin pleaded guilty to the first-degree murders of Patricia and Crystal as part of a plea agreement; he also pleaded guilty to the second degree murder of Micki so that the state would not seek the death penalty. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Although the other two victims' bodies were found at the site, Micki's remains were never found.
Investigators admit that they made mistakes in the investigation and failed to search his vehicle. They now believe that Irvin was the writer of the notes and that he wrote them to throw off and taunt investigators.
- Micki Jo West at the Charley Project
- Micki Jo West at the Doe Network
- Micki Jo West at NamUs
- Skeletal remains in field those of missing Missouri woman
- Law officers believe more bodies buried in field
- Dad says murder suspect threatened missing teen
- Suspect in murder of St. Joseph woman has violent history
- Officials resume search for woman's body
- An Inside Look At A Standoff
- Recently retired Monett police chief recalls biggest case
- Marvin Lee Irvin on Murderpedia
- Marvin Irvin Inmate Information
- Micki Jo West (Locke) at Find a Grave