Blackstone Valley

Police getting 'closer and closer' to finding young girl's killer

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — Michelle Norris was 7 years old and running around with other kids at the playground when she vanished.

That was May 28, 1988.

Two days later, her body was found in a wooded area just 1,200 feet away. Now, nearly 31 years later, Central Falls Police are still trying to track down her killer.

Detective Jeff Araujo still goes to the scene several times a week.

"When you keep revisiting the scene, it rejuvenates you to keep going, going, going," he said.

The keen eyes watching her missed just a moment. It was enough to miss her killer.

"That's the kitchen in the back there. The grandparents or family members could actually watch the kids playing in 1988," Araujo noted.

"She was a shy, quiet, very reserved little girl," he said of Norris. "She wouldn't trust anyone except people she knew or were close to her. I believe she went with someone she trusted."

Araujo says despite what was reported on a national television show last year, they still don't know the killer's identity.

"They targeted someone who is one of our suspects but it's not solved," he said.

"He's not the only suspect," Araujo added. "There's other people we're looking at and we're getting closer and closer to finding who that exact person is."

To shed new light on the case, Araujo added the investigation to a deck of cold case playing cards. Each card highlights an unsolved homicide or missing persons case in the state of Rhode Island. Norris is the queen of diamonds.

Anyone with information is urged to call 1-877-RI-SOLVE. Araujo believes tips can lead to an arrest.

"There would be no greater accomplishment in my life or anyone's lives here in the Central Falls Police Department to do that for her, for Michelle, and her family," he said.

As Araujo waits for those tips to come in, he had one message for the killer: "They shouldn't be comfortable, because we're getting closer and closer."

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