Real Name: Star Michelle Palumbo
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Reno, Nevada
Date: April 26, 2000
Occupation: Pawn Shop Employee
Date of Birth: March 29, 1975
Weight: 125 lbs.
Marital Status: Unrevealed
Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair
Details: In the early morning hours of April 26, 2000, a young woman was spotted wandering in a restricted area of the Reno/Tahoe International Airport and appeared to be disoriented and frightened. An airport police officer eventually found her cowering near a truck. She identified herself as Star Palumbo and said she was trying to find her younger sister, who was running around on the tarmac. Although the officer did not believe her story was true, he didn't feel she had any criminal intent. She was dropped off at a nearby hotel where she vanished.
The next day, her illegally parked car was found abandoned at the airport. It was filled with her personal possessions, including her cell phone and purse which had $600 in cash. She had left behind other items that caused great concern, including copies of three e-mails sent to the White House which indicated that she thought that the government was trying to kill her. Also, a morbid drawing of a woman who looked like her being bound and gagged was found. Finally, there were two books about how to change one's identity.
She never returned to claim her car and remains missing; two theories have emerged as to what happened to her. The first is that she is suffering from some organic-based or drug-induced psychosis and doesn't know who or where she is. The second theory is that she met with foul play. The mystery of what happened to her started long before she vanished. She was once a vivacious woman filled with promise, but one year before she vanished she moved from her Tucson, Arizona home to her grandmother's in Reno. Investigators believe that while she was there is when her life began to go off course.
According to her friends, in the weeks prior to her disappearance, she developed a drug habit that cost more than she could make at her job. Police suspect that she may have gone into prostitution in order to get more money. While in Reno, she continued to call her mother, Gail, on a weekly basis and was always in good spirits except for on the day she vanished. She told her mother that she believed that she was being the followed, that the phone was tapped, and that her life was in danger. She was planning to escape this and return to Tucson, but she never did and Gail never heard from her again.
Following her disappearance, her parents went around Reno looking for her and placed flyers all around the city. Linda Fields, owner of the Silver Dollar Casino in Elko, claimed to have seen her there eight months after she vanished. The woman, who look frightened, said that her name was Star and that she was being chased by a pimp. Linda claims that Star was very nervous when a man peered into the window. A short time later, she left with an unknown woman. Authorities don't know if that was actually her or what has happened to her.
Suspects: None known. Police believe that, if she met with foul play, she may have been killed by someone involved with prostitution or drugs. Unsubstantiated rumors have claimed that she died of a drug overdose and her body was dumped in the desert.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 15, 2001 episode.
- Star Palumbo on Unsolved.com
- Star Palumbo on the Charley Project
- Star Palumbo Missing Facebook Page
- Lockwood woman missing
- Despite slow, difficult investigations, families maintain hope for answers