1986 Niles cold case reopening

By: Sarah Platt Email
By: Sarah Platt Email

It's a case that's been cold for more than twenty years, but Michigan State Police are now taking another look at the disappearance of Shirley Pullen. The 70-year-old Niles woman has been missing since 1986 and police have reason to believe foul play may be involved.

Shirley Pullen literally seemed to vanish without a trace. As time passed, investigators ran into dead ends, and her case grew cold. But Michigan State Police are now re-opening the case, thanks to an increase in resources.

Pullen was last seen on New Year's Eve 1986. Police say she was shopping at the Save-Mart near her Niles' home. She lived at the Windward Village Mobile Home Park, which is now Franklin Woods.

Twelve days into January, the park's manager reported her missing after she failed to pay her rent, something which was unusual for her.

Police say it appears Pullen didn't leave voluntarily. Police reports show her TV was still on, food was on the table, and her coat was inside the home.

Michigan State Police Detective Sergeant Fabian Suarez says he is now concentrating on interviewing witnesses again, trying to find any new details.

Meantime, Pullen's niece is glad police are back on the case. “We were a little surprised that they were again going to re-open the case. Hopefully they'll be able to open and close it. The family would like closure,” says Pullen’s niece, Gayle Borst of Berrien Springs.

“A lot of times some people that weren't interviewed, should have been interviewed, they'll come forward, which is what they're hoping. Many times they'll [witnesses] have information that the investigators back then didn't have,” says Det. Sgt. Suarez.

If you have any information on this case, you are urged to contact Michigan State Police. The number is 269-683-4411.

Investigators say there are not many theories as to what happened to Pullen. Police do say that she owned and rented out a another lot at her the mobile home park and apparently had trouble collecting rent from that tenant. Investigators say this is something they will look into, but also say they are starting from scratch on this case and are not ruling any suspects out at this point.

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