Donyelle Chrishum Johnson

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Above Images: Johnson, circa 1989

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: April 4, 1989 from Pinellas County, Florida
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: November 14, 1967
  • Age: 21 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'5, 122 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: African-American female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Johnson's ears are pierced.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Johnson was last seen leaving her home to go to class at St. Petersburg Junior College in Clearwater, Florida. She never arrived. Her car was found abandoned behind a Hardees restaurant at Belcher Road and East Bay Drive in Largo, Florida. An African-American male who gave his name as Johnny Bailey called a towing company to report that the vehicle was having trouble and needed to be towed. The man has never been identified. The car turned out to have a loose battery connection; nothing else was wrong with it.

    Two days later, Johnson's father reported her missing. That same day, he got a letter supposedly from Johnson, which stated she was involved with drugs was moving to Orlando, Florida to "straighten out her life." Handwriting experts examined the letter and concluded she did in fact write it. Johnson has never been heard from again.

    Authorities believe Johnson's case may be related to the disappearances of Retha Hiers from Largo and Margaret Dash from Clearwater, Florida. All three women had been dating Cleveland Hill Jr., a married asphalt contractor, when they disappeared. A photo of Hill is posted below this case summary. A friend of Johnson's stated Hill gave her money and expensive gifts, including a new car which her parents made her return.

    By the time of her disappearance, Johnson was frightened of Hill and wanted to end their relationship. She told her father that Hill had said he could "make people disappear," and told her mother he had threatened her. After Johnson's disappearance, Hill told police she was involved in cocaine trafficking and had possibly moved to Orlando, Florida.

    Hill served a prison sentence for two accounts of assault after he shot his wife and mother-in-law in 1968, and in 1992 he was convicted of drug trafficking. He was released from prison in 2008 and now lives in Virginia. He has never been charged in connection with any of the missing women's cases and he maintains his innocence.

    The missing women did not know each other and authorities have found no connection between them other than their association with Hill. Foul play is suspected in all three cases, which remain unsolved.

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    Above: Cleveland Hill in 1989

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    727-582-6200

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    Source Information
    Florida Department of Law Enforcement
    Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    The Tampa Tribune
    The St. Petersburg Times
    Tampa Bays 10
    WTSP 10 News

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    Updated 8 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated December 6, 2017; details of disappearance updated.

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