Otsego teen vanished in 1972, never forgotten on Christmas birthday

OTSEGO, Mich. -- Despite its festive qualities, the holidays can also be a somber time for those remembering lost loved ones. That includes the family of Kathy Wilcox. The Otsego teen disappeared 45 years ago. Christmas is her birthday.

“I called her our family clown. She was outgoing. She was courageous. She was just brave. Everybody loved her," Karen Wilcox described her sister.

Karen said, to her knowledge, Kathy didn't have any enemies. So what exactly happened to the 15-year-old in June of 1972? Otsego police closed her case that summer and classified her as a runaway. Wilcox said it wasn't until 2014 that police opened a missing person’s investigation.

“Spiritually, I’ve been sort of stuck in this place of limbo because of the not knowing. What would it have been like to have had her in my life to share some of the significant events?” Wilcox said.

That includes every Chrsitmas for the past 45 years. This Christmas day, Kathy would have turned 61.

“With her birthday, it’s a trigger. It’s a reminder," she said.

Wilcox thinks the boys her sister had been spending time with at a Christmas tree farm must know something. But she said she's started to come to grips her family may never get the closure they deserve.

“Some pretty significant things had happened that made me realize I really need to let go. I really need to let go because it’s not helping me. It’s not helping my sister's case," she said.

Wilcox said the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recently told her they typically stop doing age progression photos after so many years. She said it's time for energy and resources to shift away from this case.

“Every minute there's missing people. The numbers are phenomenal. If whatever money they’re putting with efforts on my sister's case I just think if the potential to save a young life or any life would mean a lot, and I just think that’s where the money should go,” Wilcox explained.

In the meantime, she continues hoping whoever knows something has a conscious and comes forward.

This page is has been created for any tips people might have on the case and also links to a related-Facebook page.

If you have any information on Kathy Sue Wilcox disappearance, please call the Allegan County Silent Observer at 1.800.554.3633.

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1 Comment

  • Ronnie Marks

    I grew up with Kathy, walked to school with Kathy, and I miss Kathy everyday. I will continue to spread her story, I will continue to keep her memory alive, and I will continue to have hope that someday we have some type of closure in regard to her disappearance. I know that she is in God’s hands, and she is safe……but that is not enough. We need to know what happened to her. Thank you, Darren Cunningham and Fox 17 News for honoring Kathy Sue on her birthday…….a total class act!!!!