Anthony Joseph Palma is now behind bars in an Oklahoma cold case that everyone thought would never be solved. CNN shared how DNA led to his arrest in a kidnapping case from 1997. Kirsten Hatfield disappeared from Midwest City one night in May of 1997. Hatfield was only 8-years-old at the time. The police found Hatfield’s bedroom window cracked, and they located her underwear in the backyard with blood on it. The little girl was never found. Police believe that Anthony Joseph Palma is to blame, and that she was murdered because the body was never located. On Monday, police arrested him for kidnapping and first-degree murder.
Back in June, a new investigator was put on the Kirsten Hatfield case. In the process, this investigator realized that some of the evidence in the case had never been tested for some reason. He decided to test this, and it all led back to Anthony Joseph Palma, who used to be a neighbor of Kirsten Hatfield years ago when she disappeared. There was blood on her underwear and windowsill, both that ended up matching Anthony Joseph Palma. Technology is more advanced now than it was years ago.
Police ran this DNA that was found through the system, but didn’t find a match. They didn’t give up there on finding who took Kirsten Hatfield, though. Several men had been questioned when she originally went missing. Police brought in 10 of those men and got DNA samples. It turns out that Anthony Joseph Palma was a match, and he was then arrested in the disappearance of Kirsten Hatfield. Palma is still saying he was not involved and was sleeping the night Hatfeld disappeared.
The Hatfield family had moved away from where their daughter went missing, but Palma still lived in the exact same home that he lived in when she disappeared. This could mean that police can find evidence in that home, depending on what actually happened to Kirsten Hatfield 18 years ago.
News 9 showed the scene of his home today on the news. Police are now out at the home and searching for evidence. The ME’s office is there, as well, along with police. The news helicopter showed that they are looking in the backyard, along with inside of the home. Police have a tent set up in the backyard and are digging in the area, obviously looking for Kirsten Hatfield. At this time, they have not revealed that they have found anything in the yard.
People shared that police are speaking out about it. Chief of Police Brandon Clabes revealed how much work has gone into this case trying to find Kirsten Hatfield.
“We have worked this case for 18 years, and our officers have been emotionally invested in this case for 18 years… We never laid it down. Through attrition and retirement, the case kept getting reassigned to different investigators.”
Clabes went on to say that Palma denied ever being in the Hatfield home or even knowing the family. Palma willingly gave them a cheek swab DNA sample, and they were able to match it to him 3 months ago. Since then, police have been watching Palma and working on the Hatfield case. Police were monitoring his phone calls and were able to speed things up on the Kirsten Hatfield case this weekend, for some reason. The police are still very hopeful that they can find Kirsten and are using special equipment to scour the earth for her body.
Are you shocked to hear that Anthony Joseph Palma was finally arrested in this cold case from 18 years ago? The body of Kirsten Hatfield was never found, and hopefully the family can finally get some closure on this cold case.