Former detective hopeful human bones will solve 1988 woman’s disappearance


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) –  A former police investigators is hopeful the skull found at Peggy Sue Case’s former home are her.

And if so, Carl Johnston who investigated Case’s disappearance for 20-plus years, hopes it will lead to an arrest.

The skull was found Monday at Case’s former home by the new homeowners.  The bone fragments were taken to a state laboratory for identification.

“That’s a big deal, yes,”  said Carl Johnston who retired as a lieutenant from the Spanish Fork police department.  He’s now employed with the Washington County sheriff’s office.

For 29-years, Case’s family has been waiting to learn what happened to her back in 1988.

They’ve requested privacy but in 2011 they spoke with Good4Utah about her disappearance.

“Everyday, she is in our life,” her father Richard Ellsworth said.

In 1988, case who was living in this Spanish Fork home with her boyfriend disappeared without a trace.

Michael Kufrin became a person of interest after friends saw the couple fighting at a party.
Her family came to the home the next day looking for her.

“We were met at the door of her apartment by her boyfriend who had a gun on his hip,” recalled Ellsworth.

Johnston said Kufrin was the last one to see Peggy Sue.  He said Kufrin kept insisting that he was still in touch with her but never did offer any evidence that she was around.   He was arrested in Nevada driving a vehicle belonging to Peggy Sue that was reported stolen.

“He continued to be very difficult to deal with,” said Johnston.  “As far as the investigation, he didn’t want to talk to police.  He didn’t want to give any information at all.  Zero.”

Court records show Kufrin spent time at the Utah state prison for stealing his boss’ truck.
At his 1990 parole hearing, he refused to answer questions about Peggy Sue’s disappearance.

Monday, Spanish Fork police got a call from the homeowners where Peggy Sue once lived.   Johnston said the discovery could be the final piece of the puzzle that will lead to an arrest.

Six years ago, the Ellsworth’s told Good4Utah, Peggy Sue’s disappearance wouldn’t destroy them.

“Ultimately its about how you deal with what we are handed in life,” said Daniel Ellsworth, a brother.  “Am I going to let this ruin me and tear our family apart?

Kufrin now lives outside of Chicago.  His father said he has not spoken to his son in months and doesn’t know his whereabouts.  Calls to Kufrin himself were not returned.

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