MO MO - Freda Denman, Sheri & Michael Johnson, Independence, Nov 1974

Discussion in '1970's Missing' started by crs4kds, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. crs4kds

    crs4kds New Member

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    Does anyone have any updates or information on the disappearance of Michael Lloyd Johnson, 10 months old, his mother Freda Denman and sister Sheri Lynn Johnson? They have not been seen since November 1974. Blood was found on the scene and the father has not been seen since, either. I read about it on the Doe Network. Last I heard in 2004, they were investigating whether a man in prison was Michael. Does anyone know about this or any other updates on the case?
     
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  3. mmohucap

    mmohucap New Member

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    Sounds really interesting... any links about the prison thing?
     
  4. CaliKid

    CaliKid Former Member

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    At one time it was believed that Sheri was Suzanne Marshall, but DNA evidence proved otherwise.
     
  5. emma l

    emma l UK GIRL

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    I have heard of this case. I watched a true crime programme on it a while ago, here in the UK. Heres the Doe Link.................

    http://doenetwork.us/cases/836dmmo.html

    "Michael Lloyd Johnson disappeared together with his mother, Freda Denman and sister Sheri Lynn Johnson. The father has not been seen since that time. The family went missing in November 1974, but the landlord did not report them missing until March 1975.
    The police found Freda's clothes in the closet; while her husband's and children's clothes were missing. Blood was found on a cushion in the home, but the tests were inconclusive.
    Denman's husband Henry Lee Harbison aka Henry Johnson has an extensive criminal background and uses several aliases. Henry had affiliations with members of the "Church of the New Song" who claim the family was murdered. The Denman family believes that Freda was killed and the children were given away.
    The Independence police investigated it as a missing person's case. At the same time, the FBI was looking for Henry. Independence closed their case, assuming the FBI would pick up where they left off, but that didn't happen and the case remains unsolved.
    In 2004, the police reopened the investigation in these disappearances. Investigators are running a DNA test on an inmate in Arkansas as possibly being Michael Lloyd Johnson."

    Interesting huh?
     
  6. emma l

    emma l UK GIRL

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    I'm just bumping this thread. x
     
  7. emma l

    emma l UK GIRL

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    Bump!!!
     
  8. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    This case has been discussed in other threads, but I wanted to bring here to the Cold Case Forum out of respect for the efforts the family has put into finding Freda and the children...

    from the Doe Network:


    Freda Loretta Denman
    Missing since November of 1974 from Independence, Jackson County, Missouri.
    Classification: Missing




    Vital Statistics
    • Date Of Birth: November 7, 1947
    • Age at Time of Disappearance: 27 years old
    • Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'7"; 130 lbs.
    • Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Brown hair; brown eyes. Slim build.
    • Dentals: Denman has a dental plate.


    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Freda Denman disappeared together with her son, Michael Lloyd Johnson and her daughter Sheri Lynn Johnson. Her husband has not been seen since that time. The family went missing in November 1974, but the landlord did not report them missing until March 1975.
    The police found Freda's clothes in the closet; while her husband's and children's clothes were missing. Blood was found on a cushion in the home, but the tests were inconclusive.
    Denman's husband Henry Lee Harbison aka Henry Johnson has an extensive criminal background and uses several aliases. Henry had affiliations with members of the "Church of the New Song" who claim the family was murdered. The Denman family believes that Freda was killed and the children were given away.
    The Independence police investigated it as a missing person's case. At the same time, the FBI was looking for Henry. Independence closed their case, assuming the FBI would pick up where they left off, but that didn't happen and the case remains unsolved.
    In 2004, the police reopened the investigation in these disappearances. Investigators are running a DNA test on an inmate in Arkansas as possibly being Michael Lloyd Johnson.


    Shelly Denman and her sister have been working diligently to find any information on Freda or her husband, Henry Harbison. They are presently offering a reward for any information leading to the truth about Freda or the whereabouts of Henry Harbison.
    The family had extremly high hopes for the DNA tests comparing Sheri Lynn to Sharon Marshall. Despite the disheartening results of the tests, they have remained steadfast in their determination to find the truth.
    As an update to the information detailed in the Doe Network entry, DNA testing has not yet occurred in the case of the inmate believed to be Michael Johnson. The family have uncovered evidence (to remain confidential at this point) that this person could possibly be Michael. They are currently attempting to arrange DNA testing.
    Shelly recently participated in local interviews about the case. Below is a link to a story generated from the interviews.

    http://www.kctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=3585344
     
  9. shelsearay

    shelsearay New Member

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    We the family of Freda Denman, believe she was killed by Henry Harbison. We believe the children were sold or given away. We believe there was some connection between the members of the Church of the New Song, and both Henry and Franklin Floyd.

    Franklin Floyd admitted to Matt Birkbeck, he knew Henry. Franklin told Matt that Sharon Marshall was not Sheri Lynn, which was true, according to the DNA test.

    Currently we have a commitment for reward money, from the Carole Sund Foundation. This commitment lasts for only 6 months. We have been sending "reward" posters to the people we have identified that were connected with Henry Harbison, in some way. We have identified ex-cons that were in the same institutions as the same time as Henry in Leavenworth, Alcatraz and Atlanta. We know some of his remaining family members. We are hoping someone will need the money. I've given up on them having a conscience a long time ago.

    I'll keep you posted.
     
  10. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    What dates and records do you have regarding Henry Lee Harbision's criminal past, trials, convictions and imprisonments?

    Alcatraz and Leavenworth were Federal Penitentiaries, meaning that he was convicted of breaking federal laws. I have seen Harbison listed as one of the relatively few Alcatraz inmates, but have not seen his record or dates of incarceration there. Alcatraz was a high security prison which contained inmates who had proven themselves to be high risk cases, such as particularly violent, or those who had escaped from other prisons.

    Did the family know anything of Harbison's past in 1974? Was he wanted by the FBI or by other law enforcement authorities at the time of his disappearance? Was he ever a witness for Federal Prosecutors?

    I have always felt that there was a connection between Harbison and Floyd.
     
  11. Paradise

    Paradise Member

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    Maybe I missed this somewhere but why is Harbison not considered missing also? Freda and the kids are all listed as missing but he "has not been seen since that time". I'm sorry if I missed something and you have to repeat but it just seems weird that he's not missing.
     
  12. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    Harbison is not so much "missing" as "on the run". He is being sought for questioning in the case of the missing family (and was, I believe, already wanted on other warrants). Harbison was (or is) a violent career criminal who's "life of crime" began early...He spent the larger portion of his life up to that point in prison.
     
  13. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    More information on Harbison...

    Harbison was incarcerated at Leavenworth and Alcatraz from '54 to "59 for stealing a car and attempting to escape arrest. The Denman family has information that Harbison was in the Atlanta area in '59 and '60, as were Floyd and Raymond McMahon who was from the Chicago area). Harbison was arrested in Kansas City in '60 for stealing cars and served nine years. In 1969, he met Freda in Chicago (Freda's family is from WI). Freda was pregnant with Sheri Lynn in Chicago, and gave birth to her in Sept '70 in AL. Harbison did time in prison in AL from '71 to '73 for counterfeiting and forgery. In '73 he married Freda and moved them to Independence MO. After the family disappeared in '74, the Independence PD discovered that Harbison was wanted by the FBI (I do not at this point know what for).
    Harbison is known as a violent, abusive person. Freda told friends she was scared for her life. Freda left Harbison for a short time in '74, but returned when Harbison threatened to kill her entire family. As is so often the case in such abusive relationships, I believe that Harbison caused Freda to become estranged from her family. Though evidence exists that Freda and the children went missing in Nov '74, their disappearance was not noticed until the landlord reported it in Mar of '75.
    I feel it very likely that Harbison went undergorund with the assistance of his friends from the Church Of the New Song. Harbison's particular "speciality", if you will, is forgery. He could have simply rewritten his own history and be living comfortably somewhere...
     
  14. shelsearay

    shelsearay New Member

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    Shadowangel - you are right on. One thing I will point out is, because Harbison was an inmate at Alcatraz, his prison records are preserved due to the historical value. I found some additional names in said records when we first started investigating. ONe of the people said "Charlie" (Henry) called this former convict, whom Henry knew in Leavenworth at the end of his first federal prison term, and whom Henry robbed at least 60 homes in California between his first and second federal prison term. His name is Rex Strickland, and yes, he is getting a reward poster mailing. Henry was the typical sociopath. He was very intelligent (letters from him to Freda have no grammatical or spelling errors). He was a master manipulator, also obvious from the letters. In the end, I have no doubt, he was domineering and abusive. I doubt he had any real feelings for his children. He never attempted to contact his son from his first marriage. Henry's probably would not have gone to jail for such a long time the first time; however, he beat a jailer almost to death in a small county jail. He used a sock with a ball inside. He was not a "joiner" he would have used his association with the Church of the New Song, only as a means to get what he wanted. I have crossed referenced the prisoners who were in Alcatraz at the same time as Henry, with the list of prisoners who signed the original petition for the Church of the New Song. These people (the ones i can find, who are still alive) are getting reward fliers. He was being hunted by the FBI due to parole violations. The Independence MO PD closed the missing persons' case assuming the FBI would pick it up. It totally went dead at that point. When I finally got the Indep. PD to enter Freda and the children into NCIC, I only asked them to enter Freda and the children. The FBI agent I was working with had run the fingerprints, checked the records, etc. Henry Harbison disappeared in 1974. His real social security number was only used once in 1965. He was incarcerated at that time. While Henry was in Chicago, he worked as a window washer. We know from his letters he was paid and filed a tax return. No doubt under the name Michael Johnson, with a phoney social security number.Oh there's so much more. just ask. Thanks for your interest!
     
  15. shelsearay

    shelsearay New Member

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    Oh, I forgot to say (can't believe it) the information that Henry Harbison was in Atlanta, was contained in the Alcatraz file.
     
  16. Paradise

    Paradise Member

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    There has to be a record of his tax return from when he was a window washer and his social security number has to be on there somewhere, so could you possibly get a copy of it? I don't know if that's possible to do, but maybe it'll open some new doors.
     
  17. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    Because so much of Harbison's past involved Federal Prisons and FBI investigations, you should be able to obtain records on him through a Freedom of Information Act Request. If the FBI were to refuse your request, based on his being an open/active case, then they should be able to tell you what warrants are outstanding on him, and provide you with a copy of their last Wanted Poster on him.

    Harbison did not just all of a sudden go straight and blend in with the general population. He would have continued with his life of crime up to his death or capture. I wonder if DNA could be obtained from his known son to compare with the growing databases now being compiled of jailed and paroled convicts and John Does.
     
  18. shelsearay

    shelsearay New Member

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    I have gotten what I can on him under FOIA. Since the FBI considers him alive (his social does not show he is dead - Death Index) there is a limit to the information I can get. We know he can "blend in". Henry Harbison spent his entire term in the Alabama State Prison system under the name Michael Johnson. They had no idea he'd done two Federal stints under his real name of Henry Harbison. Unfortuately, Alabama is a closed record state. In order to get the FOIA records I could get, I've had to enlist the aid of my state Senator. I've been told such things as, the microfilm machine is broken and other lame excuses for not doing the work they are paid to do. Fortuately, my Senator is on the committe that oversee the FBI, etc. He gets results.
     
  19. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    You only mention Raymond A. McMahon in passing in your post, but I note that you cover his criminal activities more thoroughly in another thread. Here is some information on McMahon, who is currently incarcerated for first degree murder in Florida. Note that McMahon had escaped from prison on 12 January 1974, but seems to have been back in custody and charged for that offense by 4 February 1974. Note that the date of currant sentence begins 4 September 1974. This would seem to argue against McMahon being involved in the Denman-Johnson abductions. However, it is possible that he may have known Floyd and/or Harbison and may have knowledge of their fate.

    -------------------------------------
    Corrections Offender Network
    Inmate Population Information Detail
    (This information was current as of 8/21/05)

    DC Number: 043080
    Name: MCMAHON, RAYMOND A
    Race: WHITE
    Sex: MALE
    Hair Color: GRAY OR PARTIALLY GRAY
    Eye Color: HAZEL
    Height: 5'08''
    Weight: 172 lbs.
    Birth Date: 12/21/1941
    Initial Receipt Date: 02/13/1974
    Current Facility: ZEPHYR HILLS C. I.
    Current Classification Status: NOT APPLICABLE
    Current Custody: CLOSE
    Current Release Date: SENTENCED TO LIFE

    Aliases:
    REUVEN ALLON MAIMON RAYMOND A MCMAHON
    Identifiers:
    FINGERPRINT CLASS - PO74TTPO172100TTCI16

    Current Prison Sentence History:
    (Key: Offense Date, Offense, Sentence Date, County, Case No., Prison Sentence Length)
    07/14/1973 1ST DG MUR/PREMED. OR ATT. 11/02/1973 HILLSBOROUGH 7301395 SENTENCED TO LIFE
    07/14/1973 1ST DG MUR/PREMED. OR ATT. 11/02/1973 HILLSBOROUGH 7301395 SENTENCED TO LIFE
    01/12/1974 ESCAPE 02/04/1974 GADSDEN 7400009 1Y 0M 0D
    Note: The offense descriptions are truncated and do not necessarily reflect the crime of conviction. Please refer to the court documents or the Florida Statutes for further information or definition.

    Incarceration History:
    Date In-Custody: 09/04/1974 Date Out-of-Custody: Currently Incarcerated

    Link:
    http://www.dc.state.fl.us/ActiveInmates/detail.asp?Bookmark=5&From=list&SessionID=971791644
     
  20. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    My primary interest in McMahon is in tying Floyd to Harbison. Floyd has admitting knowing Harbison, but as of yet we have been unsuccessful in nailing down exactly when they knew each other. It has appeared most likely that they knew each other through CONS, but I have the belief that Floyd knew McMahon in GA around '59-'60 (McMahon was from Chicago, Floyd may have been in the Chicago area, then both are back in the Hapeville/Atlanta area grabbing young girls...Harbison spent time in the Chicago area...McMahon may be a link between the two).
     
  21. Mr. E

    Mr. E New Member

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