Updated: Jan 9
Missing Since November 12, 1987
Marchelle Hansen disappeared from Phillips, Wisconsin, exactly 31 years ago on November 12, 1987. Phillips is a small Northwoods town which even 31 years later still has a population of less than 1,500. Marchelle was raised in Random Lake as one of seven children in the Hansen family; she later moved to the Northwoods area with her mother after her parents divorced.
Marchelle was last seen around 8 P.M. on November 12th as she finished up her usual shift performing general factory labor with Marquip Inc., a manufacturing company in the corrugated paperboard industry. Five days later, when she failed to show up to another part-time position she held with the Phillips' IGA Grocery Store, her disappearance was called in to authorities. Marchelle's car was later found in the parking lot of the Lake 10 Resort, roughly eleven miles south of town. No signs of foul play were apparent in the vehicle or her apartment.
Shortly before she disappeared, Marchelle had contacted her older brother Robert and revealed the news that she was between two to three months pregnant. She seemed delighted to be having a baby and had already started picking out names. She mentioned that the father of the baby had promised to financially support the child as long as she did not reveal his name.
When Marchelle was young she had worn a brace to correct a congenital foot deformity. The Price County Sheriff's Department investigation into her disappearance uncovered that she had been worried this may have been a genetic condition and on the day of her disappearance she visited a Phillips clinic for an ultrasound. She took this image with her to show friends at work but it seems to have disappeared along with her and has never been recovered.
After Marchelle's possessions in her apartment were reviewed by authorities, they were placed in her brother Robert's house. Just a few days later, an overheated woodburning stove caused a fire to break out in the home, and Marchelle's items were permanently destroyed.
November 12th holds a bleak history for Phillips, Wisconsin. On November 12th, 1986, exactly one year prior to Marchelle's disappearance, another young woman named Carla Lenz had disappeared from the area. Carla's body was discovered in 1988; she had been buried in a shallow grave roughly four miles away from where Marchelle lived at the time of her disappearance. Carla's brother-in-law, Phillips resident John R. Weber, was convicted for this crime as well as the attempted murder of his wife, whom he tried to kill in a similar manner. Price County Sheriff Wayne Wirsing remarked on the similarities between the two cases in a 1988 Sheboygan Press article: "I wonder like everyone else; I think it's curious." Acting on the advice of his lawyers, Weber refused to provide a statement in any way regarding whether or not he had any knowledge regarding Marchelle's disappearance. It is unclear at this time whether Weber was ever considered an active lead in this case.
Foul play is suspected in Marchelle's disappearance and her case continues to be investigated.
Any leads or information should be directed to:
Price County Sheriff's Department
Investigator Chris Jarosinski
You can find more on NAMUS: National Missing and Unidentified Person System Case MP11870
"Case Still Baffling: Family Agonizes Over Disappearance." Sheboygan Press. November 12, 1988.
"Random Lake Woman has been Missing Over 25 Years." Wausau Daily Herald. August 4, 2013.