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Missing Denise Newsom Porch
Porch, circa 1975; Larry Bell, circa 1985
Missing Since 07/31/1975
Charlotte, North Carolina
Classification Endangered Missing
Date of Birth Used 03/25/1954 (67)
Age 21 years old
Height and Weight 5'6, 145 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes.
Porch was last seen during the afternoon hours as she showed a man around the property. She has never been seen again. There were no signs that a struggle had taken place inside her own apartment, and the air conditioning and television set were left on.
Porch left a note for her husband saying she'd left to show an apartment to a prospective renter. She has never been seen again. An extensive search did not produce any clues as to her whereabouts.
Her family had her declared legally deceased in 1982, seven years after her disappearance. It is not believed that Porch left of her own accord; her family says she was happy with her life at the time of her disappearance and she had just celebrated her first wedding anniversary.
Larry Gene Bell emerged as a possible suspect in Porch's case in the mid-1980s. A photo of Bell is posted with this case summary. A former electrician, he lived on Cherrycrest Lane in 1975, approximately 300 yards from Yorktown Apartments.
Bell was found guilty of the murders of two young women from South Carolina in 1985 and sentenced to death. He maintained his innocence in Porch's case and was never formally charged in connection with her disappearance. He is also the prime suspect in several other young women's disappearances and presumed murders in North Carolina.
Porch physically resembled Bell's other victims and authorities believe he was involved in her case. Bell was executed in 1996, although his lawyers attempted to reverse his death sentence by claiming he was mentally ill and believed he was Jesus Christ.
Another possible suspect, who tried to extort a $50,000 ransom from Porch's family after her disappearance, turned out to be an opportunist who had not been involved in her presumed abduction.
Porch was declared legally dead in 1982. Her disappearance remains unsolved and foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved. Her family says it is extremely uncharacteristic of her not to contact them.
Investigating Agency / Department
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department