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  • Writer's pictureSarah Turney

Missing: Denise Pflum

Missing: Denise Pflum

In March 1986, Denise Pflum really had it all. She was at the top of her senior class at Connersville High School in Indiana, in leadership positions in several clubs, and a member of the National Honor Society. She’d been accepted into her college of choice, and it was her last spring break before graduating.


When Denise suddenly goes missing, her father’s cousin is assigned to her case. The Pflums let out a sigh of relief, knowing that someone who knows Denise and cares for her is on the case.


But over 30 years later, the case remains unsolved, and the same rumors about how the investigation was handled and who may have been responsible are still swirling.


18-year-old Denise Pflum was last seen at about 12:30 pm on Friday, March 28th, 1986, at her home in Connersville, Indiana. She is white with brown hair and brown eyes and is 5’6”. At the time of her disappearance, she weighed approximately 135lbs and was wearing striped jeans, a Motley Crue t-shirt, and old sneakers.


Anyone with information is asked to call The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department at (765) 825-1110 or the Indiana State Police at (765) 778-2121.

Denise Pflum Voices for Justice Podcast


Bever, Mark. “Connersville Girl Missing; No Leads.” Palladium-Item, 1 Apr. 1986, p. 5. Newspapers.Com.

Carnes, Norma. “Missing Student’s Words Hush Awards Ceremony.” Palladium-Item, 23 Apr. 1986, p. 1. Newspapers.Com.

Cavallier, Andrea. “Family of Missing Denise Pflum Continues to Fight for Justice 34 Years after She Vanished in Connersville, Indiana on Good Friday 1986.” NBCNews.Com, NBCUniversal News Group, 6 Mar. 2020,

Cavallier, Andrea. “Man Charged with Manslaughter in Death of Denise Pflum 34 Years after She Vanished from Connersville, Indiana in 1986.” NBCNews.Com, NBCUniversal News Group, 9 July 2020,

“Fleeing Man Captured.” Rushville Republican, 3 Apr. 1986, p. 1. Newspapers.Com.

Ford, Lynn. “‘Nightmare’ Continues for Parents of Missing Teenager.” The Indianapolis Star, 7 Apr. 1986, pp. 1–7. Newspapers.Com.

Guerra, Kristine. “Connersville Teen Vanished in 1986.” The Indianapolis Star, 2 Mar. 2014, p. 23. Newspapers.Com.

Hineman, Kay. “Father Appeals to County Residents.” Rushville Republican, 21 Apr. 1986, pp. 1–6. Newspapers.Com.

“Justice for Denise Pflum.” Facebook, Accessed 25 Jan. 2024.

Lee, Danny. “Hughes Facing Prison Term.” Rushville Republican, 28 Apr. 1987, p. 1. Newspapers.Com.

Lee, Henry. “Suspect in Pflum Disappearance Sought for Marion Co. Abduction.” Rushville Republican, 7 Apr. 1987, p. 1. Newspapers.Com.

Man Arrested on Decades-Old Missing Person Case out of Fayette County, Fox 59, 10 July 2020,

“Manhunt Produces No Results.” Rushville Republican, 3 Apr. 1986, p. 1. Newspapers.Com.

McCutcheon, Matt. “Suspect in 1986 Cold Case Dies Months after Confession | Wthr.Com.” WTHR.Com, WTHR, 28 Sept. 2020,

Raven, Robin. “A Dying Man Allegedly Confessed to the Murder of Missing Teen Denise Pflum.” Investigation Discovery, CrimeFeed, 6 July 2023,

Small Town Secrets. Vice, 2022.

Smith, Andrew. “Possible Human Remains Found during Search for Missing Woman in Fayette County.” WRTV Indianapolis, WRTV Indianapolis, 7 Sept. 2018,

Thurston, Kate. “31 Years Later, Pflum Case Still Unsolved.” Rushville Republican, 28 Mar. 2017, pp. 1–2. Newspapers.Com.

Thurston, Kate. “Dedication Memorial for Pflum to Be Held Saturday at Noon.” Examiner, 2 Nov. 2023,

Thurston, Kate. “Tree Planting Ceremony to Honor Missing 1986 CHS Classmate.” Examiner, 24 Oct. 2023,

Wiley, Harold. “Denise’s Friends Tell What Poster Can’t.” Palladium-Item, 9 Apr. 1986, pp. 1–8. Newspapers.Com.

Wiley, Harold. “Detective Has Personal Stake in Getting Denise Home, Safe.” Palladium-Item, 9 Apr. 1986, p. 4. Newspapers.Com.

Wiley, Harold. “Pflum Family ‘just’ Holding Up.” Palladium-Item, 4 May 1986, p. 3. Newspapers.Com.


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