Kristen Deborah Modaferri

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Top Two Rows and Bottom Left and Center: Modaferri, circa 1997;
Bottom Right: Age-progression to age 31 (circa 2010)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: June 23, 1997 from San Francisco, California
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: June 1, 1979
  • Age: 18 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'8, 140 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Dark brown hair, brown eyes. Modaferri has facial dimples.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A black Spinelli's t-shirt, a long-sleeved dark blue plaid flannel shirt, tan pants, and possibly Fly London sneakers with laces in the front and behind the heel. They also have an imprint of a fly on each of the soles. Photographs of similar sneakers are posted below this case summary.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Modaferri was an industrial design major at North Carolina State University in 1997. She arrived in San Francisco, California on June 1, 1997 to attend a summer photography course at the University Of California at Berkeley. She was employed part-time at the former Spinelli's coffee shop (now called Tully's Coffee) at the Crocker Galleria in San Francisco's financial district during the work week. Modaferri worked at Cafe Musee in the San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art during the weekends. She lived with a roommate on Jayne Avenue in Oakland, California at the time, and was also taking a dance class.

    Modaferri asked a co-worker at Spinelli's for directions to Baker Beach, which is located next to Land's End Beach, on June 23, 1997. Her shift ended at 3:00 p.m. that day, but Modaferri was seen approximately 45 minutes later on the Crocker Galleria's second floor with an unidentified blonde woman. Modaferri was carrying a green Jansport backpack with a black mesh pocket and two library books inside of the bag at the time. A photograph of the backpack is posted below this case summary.

    The unidentified blonde woman with Modaferri has never been located. Witnesses said that she was holding a similar backpack at the time she was with Modaferri in the Crocker Galleria. Modaferri's family believes that it may be possible the female and Modaferri had plans to meet at the Galleria and may have departed together. The manager of Spinelli's, however, told authorities that Modaferri left the building by herself on June 23. Regardless, Modaferri has never been seen again. She never picked up her last paycheck, which was for $400.

    Authorities utilized bloodhounds in the ensuing search for Modaferri. The dogs tracked her scent to the Geary Street Number 38 bus from the stop outside the Crocker Galleria. That bus travels across San Francisco to the Sutro Park Beach area near Land's End Beach. Modaferri's scent was also traced at Sutro Park Beach, but the dogs lost the trail at the shoreline. No other evidence was located at either scene.

    Modaferri's personal belongings were searched and a newspaper personal advertisement from the San Francisco area was among her possessions. The advertisement contained the following message: FRIENDS: Female seeking friends to share activities, who who enjoy music, photography, working out, walks, coffee, or simply the beach, exploring the Bay area! Interested, call me. It is unknown if Modaferri placed the advertisement herself or if she answered the ad. All records from June 1997 have since been destroyed at the newspaper's office. It is also unclear if the advertisement is related to her disappearance.

    An anonymous caller contacted KGO-TV, the ABC affiliate in San Francisco, on July 10, approximately two weeks after Modaferri was last seen. The caller said that he knew the identities of two women who abducted, murdered and placed Modaferri's remains under a bridge in the Point Reyes area of Marin County, California. The women in question told authorities that they believed the phone caller was Jon Onuma. Photos of Onuma are posted below this case summary. The females had apparently been harrassed by Onuma due to work-related problems they encountered with his girlfriend at the time, Jill Lampo. The women were preparing to fire Lampo from her position when Onuma allegedly began harrassing them. Law enforcement officials questioned Onuma about the incident and he admitted to making the phone call to KGO-TV to cause problems for the women.

    Another female witness came forward and stated that Onuma allegedly abused her and threatened to kill her after Modaferri disappeared. The witness said that Onuma told her, "Now you know what happened to Kristen Modaferri" during the encounter. Three other women stated that they had incidents involving Onuma and Lampo as well. Lampo allegedly lured the victims to Onuma and were subsequently abused by him. Authorities searched Onuma's residence and discovered Lampo's journal, which was missing pages from the time Modaferri vanished in June 1997. It is not known if either Onuma or Lampo is connected to Modaferri's case and no one has been charged with involvement in her disappearance due to a lack of evidence. Onuma has since moved to Hawaii.

    Modaferri's case remains open and unsolved.

    Backpack Shoes 1 Shoes 2
    Left: Jansport backpack similar to Modaferri's bag;
    Center and Right: Fly London sneakers similiar to the pair Modaferri may have worn when she disappeared in June 1997

    Onuma
    Above: Onuma, circa 1997

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Oakland Police Department
    510-238-3641

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    Source Information
    Help Find Kristen Modaferri
    The National Center for Missing Adults
    Unsolved Mysteries
    America's Most Wanted
    Child Protection Education Of America
    MSNBC
    Vanished Children's Alliance
    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
    The San Francisco Chronicle
    The Charlotte Observer

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    Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated June 28, 2012; picture added.

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