“You can only be so strong for so long,” said Jennifer Coffey, Gorley’s sister. “I just want to be able to visit his grave and put flowers on it and just talk to him in peace without all that extra chaos. That would mean a lot.”
Michael K. Gorley, 38, was hanging out with some friends on Knob Lick Road (KY HWY 300) in Stanford, Ky on the night of May 17, 2015. According to their statements, between 8:30 and 9:00 pm Michael took off walking toward Junction City and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. The house Michael was at that night was around 2 miles from Junction City, so I have provided a map to give some reference as to where he was and how far his walk would be. The red marker is the area Michael was reportedly last seen at…5050 Hwy 300.
Reaching out for more information and hoping for any assistance they’d be willing to give me, I contacted some of Michael’s family members…they were happy to assist.
Michael’s mother (Sandra) called the house that her son was visiting at around 11:00 pm that night. She spoke with the owner of the house who told her that Michael was still there at that time. However, when he didn’t return home that night or the following morning, Sandra’s concerns got the best of her and she and Michael’s sister went out looking for him.
When they arrived at the house where Michael had been at the night before, they discovered that his shoes and hat were still on the porch where he’d left them. Sandra said that there was no way her son would have went anywhere without wearing his shoes. When she inquired about where Michael was, the same person who she’d spoken with on the phone the night before, was now telling her that he had taken off toward Junction City at around 8:30 or 9:00 pm. This was a Sunday night and the road does have several residences and farms scattered along the way, I’m also sure that there would have been some traffic since there are so many churches with evening services. Surely someone would have at the very least seen him walking. Yet there hasn’t been any mention of an actual witness that has said they saw him walking down the road. Michael knew several people that lived on Knob Lick Road, he could have stopped by and asked for a ride from any of them.
And also, is anyone else wondering why there was a sudden change in the friends’ story?
As the realization set in that her son was missing, Sandra knew she needed to file a missing person report. The first report she filed was actually lost before it could be put into the computer system. Then there was the initial hesitance of law enforcement to even take his disappearance seriously, telling her that he was a grown man and he had the right to walk away from his life anytime he wanted to. Unfortunately, that’s definitely not the first time I’ve ever heard of that happening in the case of a missing adult.
However, since law enforcement began their investigation they do believe that Michael was the victim of foul play. His family has come to terms with knowing that he is more than likely deceased and wants to be able to bring him home and lay him to rest properly, and for the people involved to be brought to justice.
There have been several searches across the fields and farms surrounding the area where Michael was last seen, but nothing has been found yet. On February 11, 2017, the Ohio Chapter of Texas Equusearch lead an extensive search involving volunteers from the Boyle County and Junction City Fire Departments, family members, friends, acquaintances, and people that just wanted to help bring the family some closure. Even with their efforts, there weren’t any answers found.
The case has since been assigned a new detective and from what I was able to ascertain, he seems to be actively searching for answers. I’m very hopeful that he can tie together the loose ends and get to the bottom of what happened on that night in May.
I think the long and short of it is something happened that night at the house Michael was at… the ‘friends’ he was with the last hours of his life KNOW what happened, and some were more than likely directly involved with his disappearance. I think the change in the story is because something happened AFTER Sandra called that night. Michael probably was still there at 11:00, but something happened after that call and in a panic, the group made up their cover story…and for some reason decided it was best to say that Michael had gone off walking down the road. I have no idea why they’d change the time, seems like if you’re making up a cover story you should at least have enough sense to not contradict your own timeline.
Something happened to him that shouldn’t have, and his family is still suffering from not being able to lay him to rest. His children have gone without a father, his mother lost her only son, his sister lost a brother, nieces and nephews lost an uncle. I’m sure it would be comforting at least to a small degree for those that love him to have a grave to visit, and a place to mourn.
If you think you have some information regarding what happened to Michael on the night he vanished, please contact the KSP Post 7 at 859-623-2404 or leave an anonymous tip by clicking the link above.
UPDATE: July 11, 2018, a composite sketch released by the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office in Peoria, Illinois of a John Doe discovered on 11/13/2016 bears a striking resemblance to Michael Gorley. Sandy has been in contact with law enforcement and they are currently in the process of DNA comparison. I will keep you updated!
UPDATE: September 14, 2018, per word from Michael’s mom, the John Doe mentioned above was not Michael.