Lisa Michelle Hatchell disappeared on her 37th birthday: July 19, 2003. She was last seen at 10 p.m. on the street outside the Southwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, rowhome she shared with her boyfriend.
She and her boyfriend were arguing over money, witnesses told police. Since that night, Hatchell’s family and friends have not heard from the mother of two. Hatchell was a U.S. Army veteran who struggled with drug addiction. But Alonie Watson doesn’t think her daughter’s drug problem had anything to do with her disappearance. “She has never disappeared without letting the family know where she is,” Watson said. “This is just not like her. I feel in my heart that her disappearance doesn’t have anything to do with her taking drugs that night and then running away. She just wouldn’t do that.” She worked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard for a while, got married and then divorced. She had been living with her boyfriend, a construction worker, for a dozen years, Watson said. Her children did not live with them. Her 16-year-old son lived with his father. Her daughter, 7 at the time of Hatchell’s disappearance, lived with Watson. Watson is convinced that her daughter was the victim of foul play.
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She said Philadelphia police did not officially open an investigation into her daughter’s case until two years after she was reported missing. And so, her boyfriend was not questioned or their home searched until two years after Hatchell disappeared. Capt. John Darby, who heads the Philadelphia police department’s special victims unit, said the “long-term missing” unit began looking into Hatchell’s disappearance in fall 2005. Earlier, the case had had been handled by the local precinct. There were two reported sightings of Lisa Hatchell in March 2006, when tipsters placed her at an apartment complex in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Philadelphia investigators traveled to Atlanta, but the tips grew cold when an assistant manager at the complex couldn’t confirm that she had been living there. The trail led back to Atlanta in early 2008, when another tipster said she might be working as a waitress. Police are also talking to authorities in New Jersey but have developed no solid leads. Darby said the boyfriend, Tyrone Henderson, voluntarily took a polygraph test, but the results have not been made public. Henderson, who has moved form the rowhouse he shared with Hatchell, could not be reached. He has not hired a lawyer, police said Hatchell is described as an African-American female standing 5’4″ tall and weighing 135 pounds. She has black hair and black eyes. When she disappeared, she was wearing her hair in a red weave or braids. She has small scars on her ankles from insect bites and a small scar on her neck. She also has double pierced ears and a birthmark on her right thigh. Anyone who can provide information on Lisa Michelle Hatchell’s whereabouts or the identities of the person or people responsible for her disappearance is asked to call the Philadelphia Police Department at 215-685-3258.