Michael Reapp located

Back in Vermont in 1978, a woman named Grace Canto Reapp and her five-year-old daughter, Grace Noel “Gracie” Reapp, vanished off the face of the earth. The husband/father, Michael, was a suspect in their cases for a long time. He remarried and moved to Florida. Then in 1996 he walked out of his life. He left after the police began searching his former property in Vermont for Grace and Gracie’s bodies, and a Vermont reporter called his home in Florida to interview him about it. The last known trace of him was an ATM withdrawal in New Orleans.

In 2006, Michael was finally charged with the murders of Grace and Gracie. The theory was that he killed Grace cause she found out he was having an affair, and Gracie witnessed her mother’s murder so he killed her too. (Reminds me very much of the murder of Jennifer Blagg and the disappearance of her daughter Abby, but there was a conviction in that case.) Unfortunately the authorities were no closer to finding Michael than before, so the case stagnated again.

Well, they finally got a break, and it’s not an altogether happy one: Michael has been identified as a John Doe out of Yuma, Arizona. Thus he is beyond the reach of earthly justice.

The circumstances of his death are unusual. On January 10, 1997, he kidnapped a man at gunpoint and stole his money and car. His victim escaped and Michael, driving the man’s car, was in a high-speed chase down the highway. The police caught up to him and forced him to pull over, and they were trying to get him to get out of the car so he could be arrested, but instead he shot himself in the head. And he had no ID or anything and remained unidentified for thirteen and a half years.

Grace and Gracie’s loved ones may be relieved that Michael has been located and is no longer a danger to society, but now he will never be held accountable for what he did and will never get a chance to tell whatever it was that he knew (assuming he would have done so). This was not the only tragedy in the family; one of the couple’s sons died young in 1996. Natural causes, the flu I think.

10 thoughts on “Michael Reapp located

  1. Kat June 23, 2010 / 3:23 pm

    What a shame, what a damn, damn, shame. I always wondered how they hadn’t found him and thought that when they did, they did, they’d find the “Graces”. He got away with it now. I guess theres a chair in hell for him but the rest of the family may not get any answers. Wonder how many others he victimized.

    • Meaghan June 23, 2010 / 3:49 pm

      I wonder what he was doing in the three months between his disappearance from Florida and his death in Arizona.

  2. Juliana June 23, 2010 / 8:00 pm

    Bitter Sweet for us. This is my sister and her daughter. May he rot in hell. He was on the run for 3 months. Where was he and are there other victims??

    • Kat June 23, 2010 / 8:21 pm

      I am so sorry, honey. I hope at least this is some, but I know not total, closure. Judging just from what I know, I think in those months he was probably trying to save his own fanny. Hopefully there is no one else, and at least he hasn’t been running amok for all these years. My prayers and condolences to you, your family, and his surviving children. May you have some peace now.

  3. Juliana June 23, 2010 / 8:35 pm

    Thank you for you kind thoughts. I have such mixed emotions right now. Maybe in time it will get better. Now I have to get back to finding my girls.

  4. Kat June 23, 2010 / 8:41 pm

    And God willing, you will. I read in the casefile they have searched a bunch and nothing yet. Maybe that will change? Did he leave anything behind that would help you all out? And, just a little iffer, why did it take so long to id him if he was being looked for as a wanted donkey? Just miscommunication? There is no way that is spelled right. Anywho, I’m from MA, just passed the anniversary (if you can call it that) for Debbie Melo. Thanks for the youtube, going to fwd to all my friends at home and maybe they can keep it going.

  5. Juliana June 23, 2010 / 10:20 pm


    I was born in Fall River Ma but moved to CT when I was 10. All my Portuguese relatives still live there. I live in Florida now on a farm and my sister’s boy and family live here next door.

    Anniversary are always a tough time. They notified me on the 32 anniversary of their disappearance about Michael. Not what I want to here.

    He was reported “Missing” from Jupiter, Florida and it took the Palm Beach Sheriff’s office until August of 2000 to get them into NCIC. I had no idea that it was not in NCIC. I just assumed. Never assume. He was already dead for 3 years.

    Thank you for thinking of me. Take care

  6. Kat June 23, 2010 / 10:27 pm

    Beverly, MA. My mothers family lives in CT! This case was one that stuck out because then, and now, it was very rare crime in the areas. I grew up being warned, Sarah Pryor. Then they found her much later. After that, Holly Piranian (sp?) It was how it was. It is a shame that things in terms of inter law communication are just now getting together with the internet, but hopefully your case will be resolved soon. You take care too 🙂

  7. maryjean June 23, 2010 / 10:46 pm

    He is serving his eternal sentence, and while it does not bring closure (whatever that is) to the family, it is, in the end, justice.

  8. Perl June 24, 2010 / 4:08 am

    Oh a million thanks to Meghan for this update! Years ago I worked with a group that was looking into the disappearances of Grace and Gracie and spent hours working on the Spanish translation of a flyer for Michael (as we suspected he was in Mexico or South America). I cannot believe this ended this way. How very strange.

    Sending warm thoughts and prayers to Juliana and family, and continued wishes to bring Grace and Gracie home.

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