Darla Melissa Harper
Harper, approximate photo date 1986
Missing since: 03/04/1986
Little Rock, Arkansas
Type of missing case: Endangered Missing
Date of Birth: 07/02/1960 (59)
Age at time of disappearance: 25 years old
Height / Weight: 5'3 - 5'5, 115 pounds
Description, clothing, tattoos, other identifying markings: A pullover shirt, jeans, a horseshoe-shaped diamond ring, a diamond cluster ring, and a teardrop-shaped diamond pendant.
Other characteristics: Caucasian female. Light brown hair, brown eyes. Harper has a burn scar on her left elbow approximately one and a half inches long. She also has a small scar on her right cheek.
Details at time of disappearance: Harper was last seen at her apartment in Grand Ridge, Arkansas near Little Rock, off Jacksonville Cato Road, on March 4, 1986. A neighbor went to visit her that day and left at approximately 9:30 p.m. The same neighbor heard noises from Harper's residence between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m. that evening, but did not investigate the sounds. They were not very loud or threatening.
Harper did not arrive at work the following morning as scheduled and a co-worker checked her apartment and found her two-year-old daughter alone and blood on the apartment's front door. There was no sign of Harper and she has never been heard from again.
Her car was found abandoned in a commuter parking lot near Crystal Hill, nine miles away from her home, the day after her disappearance. There was an unidentified set of fingerprints inside the vehicle. A small amount of blood was also found inside the car.
Harper worked for the IRS at the time of her disappearance. She had finalized her divorce just four months prior to vanishing. After Harper's disappearance, her daughter made statements that "three men came in funny hats," she "saw Mommy in a bag," and "Mommy's feet were broke."
Five months after Harper disappeared, a neighbor came forward and claimed to have witnessed Harper being abducted from her home. This statement has not been verified, however.
Several persons of interest have been investigated in Harper's case over the years. In 1990, investigators searched the backyard of her ex-husband's house, where Harper had lived prior to the divorce, after his then-wife said Harper was buried there. The search uncovered bone fragments, but authorities were unable to determine whether they were human.
Police and Harper's loved ones suspect foul play in her disappearance. She is described as a devoted mother who would not have willingly abandoned her child. There is very little evidence available in her case, however it remains unsolved.
Other case information
Agency in charge: Pulaski County Sheriff's Office
Other information: NamUs
The Jacksonville Patriot
The Doe Network
The Morning News
Unsolved in the News
Peter Henderson Jr.
Psychic detective links:
Revised: October 12, 2004. Last updated June 3, 2016 details of disappearance updated.