Carol Jean Pierce
Updated: Mar 4
Missing since September 8, 1975
Carol Pierce was last seen at her home in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin the morning of September 8th, 1975. Her husband, Richard Gale Pierce, stated that he had coffee with his wife that morning then left for work. Mr. Pierce was a crew member of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mesquite that was home ported in Sturgeon Bay at the time. He claimed that upon returning home around 4:00pm, Carol was gone. The couple owned one car, and Richard took it when he went to work that day.
Richard returned to the ship the following day and stated that Carol had left him with all of their savings. Carol was not be reported missing until September 15th.
Carol did not work outside of the home at the time of her disappearance and was described by her loved ones as a homebody who loved gardening. The Pierces had made plans to move to Cheboygan, Michigan, where they owned property, after Richard retired. Carol was in the process of purchasing a custom Coast Guard Warrant Officer’s ring as a gift for her husband as a surprise for his retirement and had previously asked her mother, who she frequently wrote to, for a small loan so Richard wouldn’t know.
Carol and Richard’s relationship was troubled and there were accusations of abuse. At one point Richard’s abuse concerned Carol enough to confide in one of her neighbors, Mary Ann Metsker-LaViolette, that she believed that he was going to kill her.
Just before her disappearance, Carol signed over the title to their truck and mobile home to Richard. Carol’s purse, belongings, cat and make-up were all left at her home.
After Richard retired he moved to Michigan. He obtained a divorce from Carol in 1977 and remarried a short time later.
In October 2018, Richard, now 82 years old, was charged with Carol's murder. Authorities noted he had "motive and opportunity to end her life, and benefitted from her demise in numerous ways" and also that he had given inconsistent statements about her disappearance for decades. In April 2019, Pierce pleaded not guilty to the charges and is awaiting trial.
Any leads or information should be directed to:
Sturgeon Bay Police Department 920-746-2450
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On April 29, 2022, Richard Pierce, Carol’s husband, was convicted of killing her and disposing of her body. Prosecutors presented six days of testimony and evidence during the trial. The defense declined to call any witnesses and Richard, who’s maintained his innocence, did not take the stand. The jury reached a verdict after 10 hours of deliberations.
August 5, 2022 Richard was sentenced to life in prison for 1st Degree Murder and another three years in prison for disinterment. He did not reveal where her remains are located.