9/11. The day that 2823 people died and more than 6000 were injured in the worst terror attack to have ever taken place. While there are 105 victims of the terror attack who are still classified as missing people, there is another person in New York who...

Show Notes

 

9/11. The day that 2823 people died and more than 6000 were injured in the worst terror attack to have ever taken place. While there are 105 victims of the terror attack who are still classified as missing people, there is another person in New York who went missing that fateful day. Although she is not amongst the victims of Al-quada, she is still a victim and her story deserves to be told. Let's uncover the disappearance of Michelle Harris.  

If you have any information on Michele's disappearance, please contact the NYPD on (607) 561-7400


Music - The Rake, Dark Rage & Haunted by CO.AN


Instagram - uncovertruecrimepod


Twitter - @Uncover_pod

 

Michele Harris
Michele, Cal and their four kids
Cal and his four children
Stacey Stewart

 

Sources

 

https://www.namus.gov/MissingPersons/Case#/653/details 

http://charleyproject.org/case/michele-anne-harris 

https://eu.pressconnects.com/story/news/crime/cal-harris/2017/02/14/cal-harris-accused-menacing-harassment-oneonta/97891914/ 

https://abcnews.go.com/US/cal-harris-acquittal-4th-murder-trial-total-relief/story?id=39564152 

https://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/24/us/cal-harris-murder-trial-verdict/index.html 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3513397/Ex-millionaire-Cal-Harris-goes-court-FOURTH-time-accused-vanished-wife-s-murder-time-no-jury-defense-team-highlight-new-evidence.html 

https://tiegrabber.com/index.php/2016/06/15/missing-mom-what-happened-to-michele-harris/ 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cal-harris-verdict-in-case-of-new-york-man-tried-4-times-for-wifes-death/ 

https://www.newyorkupstate.com/news/2016/06/cal_harris_millionaire_acquitted_of_killing_wife_charged_with_stalking.html 

https://www.binghamtonhomepage.com/news/local-news/cal-harris-arrested-for-dwi-following-an-hit-and-run-on-i-81/883125797 

https://www.inquisitr.com/3798829/cal-harris-dateline-nbc-does-re-do-of-owego-no-body-murder-case-of-missing-mom-michele-harris-after-husband-freed/ 

https://www.inquisitr.com/2164485/cal-harris-michelle-harris-dateline-nbc-owego-new-york-no-body-found-disappearance-mystery-empire-lake/ 

https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/casedetail.aspx?caseid=4909 

https://eu.blackmountainnews.com/story/news/public-safety/2018/06/20/adam-weitsman-cal-harris-michele-upstate-shredding-owego/717250002/ 

https://eu.pressconnects.com/story/news/crime/cal-harris/2016/04/29/harris-trial-judge-allows-third-party-culpability/83700858/ 

https://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Cal-Harris-acquitted-in-fourth-trial-in-wife-s-7942631.php 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3607351/NY-man-not-guilty-wifes-death-4th-murder-trial.html 

http://www.owegopennysaver.com/PS/2015/04/17/photo-of-stacy-stewart-presented-in-front-of-the-jury/ 

http://www.owegopennysaver.com/PS/2015/04/15/testimony-relative-to-identification-of-stacy-stewart-approved-by-the-court/ 

https://eu.pressconnects.com/story/news/crime/cal-harris/2015/03/04/cal-harris-jury-hear-forensic-expert-blood/24363909/ 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC43GkxZYfY – 48 hours episode 

Show Transcript

9/11. The day that 2823 people died and more than 6000 were injured in the worst terror attack to have ever taken place. While there are 105 victims of the terror attack who are still classified as missing people, there is another person in New York who went missing that fateful day. Although she is not amongst the victims of Al-quada, she is still a victim and her story deserves to be told. Let's uncover the disappearance of Michelle Harris.  

 

Michelle, or Shelly to her close friends and family, was born on the 29th of September 1965 to an average working class family. She would meet her future husband, Cal Harris when she took a job working as a secretary at one of the car dealerships his family owned. Cal was 27 when they met and was already a successful businessman, and would later go on to own numerous car dealerships in Courtland NY. By 2001, Call was estimated to be worth anytime between $4-5 million and the pair owned a 252-acre estate on Hagadorn Road in Owego. They had four young children, Cayla, Taylor, Jenna and Tanner, all between 2-7 and as picturesque as this may sound, the marriage was not the last and by September 2001, Cal and Michelle were in the middle of getting a divorce. Despite still living under the same roof ass Cal during the divorce, Michelle decided to start dating again and started seeing a man called Brian Earley. Brian was very invested in their future as he moved to be closer to her and even gave her money to put towards a house they could buy together. Brian wanted to marry Michelle and it appears that Michelle didn’t feel the same way. She wanted more time and didn't want to leave one marriage, just to enter into another one. It was perhaps due to this mounting pressure that she secretly began a relationship with one of her co-workers from Lefty's bar, Michael Kasper. She didn't even tell her best friend about this relationship and she sadly had to discover about it when she went missing on the 11th of September 2001 at the age of 35. 

 

On the day of her disappearance, she worked a shift at her job at Leftys. When her shift ended, she had a drink with her lover Michael Kasper and his friend Michael Haykes .She left at 9.30pm and visited her boyfriend Brian.  He says he left his house at 113.30pm to make her way home. It would appear as though she made it home as her vehicle, a gold 2000 Ford Windstar Van. was found the next day at the end of the drive with her keys found in the ignition.  She was last seen wearing  Khaki shorts; white sneakers; a gold and silver Rolex watch; numerous rings, bracelets and earrings; two chain necklaces, one with a religious pendant on it; and a navy blue polo shirt. The shirt has a collar with red stripes and white stripes, red and white stripes on the left sleeve band, and white stars on the right sleeve band, and a red and white-striped Lefty's logo with a white star imprinted on the front. When her friend, Nicole Burdick came over to Michelle and Cal's house to see her, she was shocked to find that Michelle hadn't come home the previous night. Cal didn’t appear concerned and since he was aware of the relationship between Michelle and Brain, he assumed she had stayed at his house and appeared calm throughout the day. Nicole wasn't convinced, saying that she wouldn’t stay out overnight on a whim because she had 4 kids at home. She called Michelle's divorce lawyer, who reported her missing the same day. Their nanny was in the house at the time and informed Cal that her van was at the bottom of the drive. She says that he said "Well we better go get it" and immediately drove it up the drive. This would later strike people as odd as the nanny didn’t mention that the keys were in the van. How did he expect to drive the van up the driveway unless he knew the keys were in there? When the police arrived at the home later that day to investigate the missing person's report, Cal consented to them searching the home for any clues as to where she might be. They found drops of blood in the garage and the kitchen and from this moment on, Cal began their prime suspect. Police set their sights on Cal and even put a tracking device in his car, hoping that he would return to the place he dumped her body but this didn't turn up any new leads. He would eventually be charged with her murder in 2005 and the trial started in 2007.  

 

DR Henry Lee, he of the forensic scientists who testified in the OJ trial, took the stand and said that the blood found in the house had come from a source 29 inches from the floor although the spatter could have been caused by someone shaking their finger after cutting themselves. He couldn't prove that the blood was hers and it easily could have come from one of her kids hurting themselves. The blood also didn’t prove fatal injury and there was no way to determine how old the blood was. The prosecution claimed there was evidence that someone had tried to clean the blood, although this doesn’t seem odd to me, most people would clean up blood if they cut themselves. Michelle's hair dresser testified that in July 2001 during a visit to the hairdressers, Michelle received a call from Cal where he was started shouting at her saying  "I will f------ kill you. I will make you disappear." While Cal didn’t deny saying this to Michelle, he said that it was a heat of the comment and he didn’t mean it. Despite the prosecution couldn’t prove how he had supposedly killed her or how he had managed to hide her body so well with four kids in tow, he was found guilty of murder.  

 

Just a mere 24 hours later, a man called Kevin Tubbs came forward and told authorities that he had seen someone matching Michelle's description outside her home between 5.30am and 6amKevin was a neighbour and was pretty positive that the woman he saw was Michelle put that the man was not Cal. Kevin was shown a picture of a man called Stacy Stewart and he confirmed that was indeed the man he saw. Stacy Stewart was a regular at Leftys and moved to Texas right after Michelle went missing. It is unknown why Kevin didn’t come forward earlier but in light of his statement, Cla's conviction was overturned 5 months later and a new trial was ordered. Despite the witness for the defence, Cal would again be found guilty. This time, it would be four years before the verdict would be overturned due to a couple of issues with the jury. One of the jurors came forward and claimed that she had already made her mind up about Cal being guilty before the trail, therefore she wasn't impartial and it was also discovered that the jury had not received adequate instructions on the weight of hearsay testimony. Due to the high amount of publicity the first two trials had garnered, the third trail was held in Schoharie county. Kevin again testified that he saw Michelle arguing with Stacy Stewart  between 5.30-6 but the prosecution argued that he couldn’t possibly know that as he was too far away to be able to say with 100% certainty who he saw. however the judge ruled that the defence couldn’t present theories of other suspects to the jury as they claimed it was only circumstantial evidence pointing to other suspects. After 11 days of deliberations, the jury announced they were hopelessly deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial. The DA's office were so convinced of his guilt that they ordered a fourth trial to commence, 10 years after his first began. This time, he waived a jury trial and opted for a bench trial, meaning the judge would, alone, decided his fate. Statistically, judges tend to find defendants guilty more often than not so it was a risky move. The new judge allowed the defence to introduce evidence implicating other possible suspects and they presented burnt pieces of fabric found in a fire piut on a property that was once owned by Stacy Stewart. The fabric was said to be consistent with the shirt she was wearing when she was last seen. They also found a knife, a button and what was possibly a bra strip burned in the pit. They claimed that Stacy Stewart and his friend Christopher Thomason were regulars at the bar where Michelle worked and the defence claimed she met them for drinks after leaving Brians house. A witness claimed that they had not only seen the men burn bloody clothing the day after she disappeared but that they had told him that Michelle was buried ion concrete. Christopher's ex-wife also testified that he had made a similar comment to her. Although this comment would later be stricken from the record, Stacy's ex-girlfriend Julie Brinkman claimed that Stacy told her that he was the last person to see someone before they went mi9ssning and that he knew how to hide a body. The reason this comment was stricken was because Julie admitted that Stacy never explicitly said he was talking about Michelle. Another ex-girlfriend of Stacy's claimed that the reason he moved to Texas so soon after Michelle's disappearance, was because of the police questioning him about Michelle. The judge found Calvin not guilty and as a result, he is not able to be tried for her murder again. 

 

Let's talk about other possible suspects. We have already discussed Stacy and Christopher at length, but let's talk about suspects who are closer to home. Brian Early admitted to being the last person it see Michelle that night yet his car and house was never searched. It's possible that Michelle broke off their relationship, that he foun out about Michael Kasper or that she admitted she didn’t want to marry him right after her divorce was finalised. Remember the man that Michelle and Michael Kasper were drinking with before she went to Brians, Michael Haykes? He is a convicted rapist. He could have followed her home after Brians house, tried to attack her, killed her and disposed of her body. The home of Michael Kasper was also never searched and all three of these men were cleared by police purely based off a lie detector test. 

 

Unfortunately, The conclusion of the fourth trial would not be the end of Cal's legal troubles. He was convicted of second-degree menacing and a second-degree harassment violation. The victim was  NY detective called Terry Shultz, who was part of the team who investigated Michele’s disappearance and was a witness at his fourth murder trial. Harris allegedly was standing outside Terry’s house and said, "I'm going to get all you guys. How's your son? Maybe I will go drag him out of school. I have been following him around." He also videoed the outside of Terry’s house and the footage was found in the dash cam in Harris’s car. Harris said that the charges were “a feeble attempt to get even”. Calvin said that he was in the area to sell a drone he had advertised online but the address he has given for the sale was incorrect. He said that Terry provoked him and asked him where he had buried his wife’s body. An order of protection was served for the detective and Calvin was forced to surrender all his guns. He lost his home and all his businesses as a result of the four trials and sued his former business partner Joseph Reagan so he could have them back. In the lawsuit, Calvin wants either his 45% share of the dealerships back or $12.5million in damages. I couldn't find the result of this lawsuit or the one he filed against the Tiego DA and NYPD. During an interview regarding the lawsuit, Cal said "They were enjoying every moment of going after me. It was sport for them. It was entertainment for them,”  

 

Michelle and Cal's four children, who are now all adults, all believe in their father innocence and are still hoping to one day find out what happened to their mother. Their daughter Cayla said  “Everyone always says that her smile would light up the room,” Cayla Harris said. “I try to be the person she would want me to be.” Cal said he has been "robbed of my right as a father" He cried as he stated "I've been ripped away from my kids three times now, that's been hard." We won’t have closure until we find Michele. Not until we find the mother of my children and we get those answers, there won't be closure. And we should have those answers. This isn't a mystery. It just wasn't handled properly"  

 

Michelle's case is still open. She was 5’2 and weighed 100lbs. She had blonde hair, brown eyes. She has a tattoo of a flaming sun on her right ankle. Her ears are pierced. She had a breast augmentation. Some agencies spell her first name "Michelle." Michele may use the last name Taylor. Her nickname is Shelly. If alie today, she would be 55. She was last seen wearing  Khaki shorts; white sneakers; a gold and silver Rolex watch; numerous rings, bracelets and earrings; two chain necklaces, one with a religious pendant on it; and a navy blue polo shirt. The shirt has a collar with red stripes and white stripes, red and white stripes on the left sleeve band, and white stars on the right sleeve band, and a red and white-striped Lefty's logo with a white star imprinted on the front.