Denise Newsom Porch
Porch, approximately 1975; Larry Bell, approximately 1985
Date reported missing : 07/31/1975
Missing location (approx) :
Charlotte, North Carolina
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Female
DOB : 03/25/1954 (67)
Age at the time of disappearance: 21 years old
Height / Weight : 5'6, 145 pounds
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos
: Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Porch was last seen in Charlotte, North Carolina on July 31, 1975. She was employed as the manAge at the time of disappearance: r of Yorktown Apartments on Tyvola Road at the time and also resided in the complex.
Porch was last seen during the afternoon hours as she showed a man around the property. She has never been seen again. There were no signs that a struggle had taken place inside her own apartment, and the air conditioning and television set were left on.
Porch left all of her personal belongings behind, including her Camaro and her purse. The only things missing were the keys to the vacant apartments in the complex, and a log of available units which she would show to prospective tenants.
Porch left a note for her husband saying she'd left to show an apartment to a prospective renter. She has never been seen again. An extensive search did not produce any clues as to her whereabouts.
Her family had her declared legally deceased in 1982, seven years after her disappearance. It is not believed that Porch left of her own accord; her family says she was happy with her life at the time of her disappearance and she had just celebrated her first wedding anniversary.
Larry Gene Bell emerged as a possible suspect in Porch's case in the mid-1980s. A photo of Bell is posted with this case summary. A former electrician, he lived on Cherrycrest Lane in 1975, approximately 300 yards from Yorktown Apartments.
Bell was found guilty of the murders of two young women from South Carolina in 1985 and sentenced to death. He maintained his innocence in Porch's case and was never formally charged in connection with her disappearance. He is also the prime suspect in several other young women's disappearances and presumed murders in North Carolina.
Porch physically resembled Bell's other victims and authorities believe he was involved in her case. Bell was executed in 1996, although his lawyers attempted to reverse his death sentence by claiming he was mentally ill and believed he was Jesus Christ.
Another possible suspect, who tried to extort a $50,000 ransom from Porch's family after her disappearance, turned out to be an opportunist who had not been involved in her presumed abduction.
Porch was declared legally dead in 1982. Her disappearance remains unsolved and foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved. Her family says it is extremely uncharacteristic of her not to contact them.
Other information and links : ncy
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
September 2021 updates and sources
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
The Doe Network
The Charlotte Observer
Lexington County Sheriff's Department
A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as their location and condition are not known. A person may go missing through a voluntary disappearance, or else due to an accident, crime, death in a location where they cannot be found (such as at sea), or many other reasons. In most parts of the world, a missing person will usually be found quickly. While criminal abductions are some of the most widely reported missing person cases, these account for only 2–5% of missing children in Europe.
By contrast, some missing person cases remain unresolved for many years. Laws related to these cases are often complex since, in many jurisdictions, relatives and third parties may not deal with a person's assets until their death is considered proven by law and a formal death certificate issued. The situation, uncertainties, and lack of closure or a funeral resulting when a person goes missing may be extremely painful with long-lasting effects on family and friends.
Several organizations seek to connect, share best practices, and disseminate information and imAge at the time of disappearance: s of missing children to improve the effectiveness of missing children investigations, including the International Commission on Missing Persons, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), as well as national organizations, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the US, Missing People in the UK, Child Focus in Belgium, and The Smile of the Child in Greece.
Interactive Missing Person Search Map