Where's Mikey?

A mother's search for her missing son dead-ends in Denver.

Curiously, Provo police weren't particularly interested in how a violent felon like Clemens had managed to obtain Wells's identification. It wasn't until several months later, when Ohio investigators informed them that Wells was a missing person, that the Provo cops decided to ask Clemens about Wells. By then Clemens had been extradited to California for violating parole, served three months in prison, and wound up back in jail in Provo on a disorderly-conduct complaint.

Clemens told the police that he'd met Wells in Denver in early 1994 and bummed around with him for a few months, hopping trains and hanging out with other street types down near the Cherry Creek bike path. The two men were roughly the same height and weight, with similar coloring, and Clemens claimed he paid Wells twenty dollars for a copy of his birth certificate so he could duck the outstanding fugitive warrants against him. He also suggested that another Denver acquaintance, Wayne Smith, also known as "Tattoo," was probably still in touch with Wells.

McHenry doesn't buy Clemens's story. She says her son would have needed his ID in order to be admitted to the shelters and wouldn't have parted with it so cheaply. She also believes that Clemens had contact with her son long after the two supposedly parted company, including the disastrous train ride to Nevada and the fatal trip to Pocatello.

"My son never harmed anybody," she says. "He never had a felony or nothing like that against him. That's why this guy killed him, I think. He got in and out of jail five times under my son's name."

Investigators have discovered that Clemens was using Wells's identity in Utah and California months before Wells disappeared. But there's also evidence that suggests Clemens may have had more contact with Wells in his final days than he admits. The woman Clemens was charged with assaulting (and who later married him, despite her claims to police that she feared for her life around him) told Provo police officers that she'd thought her fiance was Wells--until she received a collect phone call from a Michael Wells, asking to speak to Clemens. The call came in October, around the time that Wells disappeared.

Clemens denied being in Pocatello with Wells. But after an Idaho newspaper ran a story on the case accompanied by Wells's picture, a waitress at a Pocatello bar remembered serving Wells on what may have been his last night alive. Bags packed, Wells played scratch tickets and waited nervously for hours for a friend, the waitress recalled; the man who showed up to meet him, the man he left with, resembled Michael Clemens.

"My feeling is that Clemens knows where Michael is," says Lieutenant Detective John Perry of the Carlisle [Ohio] Police Department, who's been working the Wells case for nearly three years. "But without a body, there isn't a lot we can do."

Clemens, who's used several aliases in recent years, couldn't be reached for comment. He recently completed another California prison term and is back on parole. McHenry believes he may have returned to Utah. "I don't know where he is at right now," she says. "I'm not allowed to know what city he lives in."

While praising Perry, McHenry says other investigators haven't done all they could in the case. The Denver Police Department, for example, hasn't tried to locate Wayne Smith to ask him what he might know about Wells and Clemens. (There are several Wayne Smiths with arrest records in the Denver area, but none with a known alias of "Tattoo.") The Pocatello police have never bothered to question Clemens.

"We did the best we could," says Gerald Kurz, a special agent with the Idaho Criminal Investigation Bureau who worked the case on his own time for several months. Kurz points out that, absent the discovery of his body, Wells is still considered a missing person, not a homicide victim. "It's not against the law to be a missing person. We hate to tell [his mother] that, but it's true."

McHenry knows her son is dead. What torments her is that he seems to have lived his final months without leaving a trace. Despite all the months he spent in Denver, her own search has turned up no associates, no friends, almost no one who seems to remember him--other than Michael Clemens. And her attempts to get police and the media involved have met with only limited success, in part because of the kind of life her son led. At one point the television program Unsolved Mysteries was making inquiries into the case, but then the producers changed their minds.

"They said it wouldn't be an interesting story, that nobody wanted to hear about a homeless person," McHenry says. "I think that's really sad. Even though my son was homeless, that doesn't make it right for someone to kill him."

McHenry isn't about to give up. She relates a story from a tabloid newspaper about a woman who spent nine years hounding talk shows and cops in her search for the man who raped and murdered her daughter. The campaign eventually led to a tip, an arrest and a conviction.

"I'm going to be like that woman," McHenry vows. "I'm going to write her and see if she will help me. I'm going to open that door, if it takes me ten or twenty years.

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2 comments
derrickmorris31
derrickmorris31

My name is derrick morris mickey was my uncle and he has been found

derrickmorris31
derrickmorris31

Just wanted to let everyone know he was found and body was brought back to Ohio but my grandma was done passed and gone before this I'm derrick morris and mickey was my uncle rip

 
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