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The Other Eve

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Some call it the oldest profession in the world, the forbidden trade of flesh for money. Prostitution, or sex work, is broadly trading intimate activity for cash or valuables, and has reverberated in some form across the history of humanity. Globally, despite being legal in around ten percent of countries, sees millions of workers annually and the exchange of billions in currency. It is steeped in the criminal underworld, intertwined with trafficking, and underreported and underrepresented in the criminal justice system. Western history is wrought with powerful, evil people preying on the most vulnerable in these positions, exploiting the last thing women can control when they have nothing else. Today’s story gives a voice to one of these victims, a mystery that has fallen through the cracks for far too long.

Michelle Eason was born on March 9, 1971. Michelle was dealt all the bad cards right at birth. She was born into drugs to addicted parents. She was raised in the foster care system in New York. Michelle also had an intellectual disability. When she was old enough to move out on her own, she moved into an apartment in Poughkeepsie, New York. She did have a boyfriend (who remains unnamed) and they were on again and off again due to the abusive nature of their relationship for over a decade. They originally met when Michelle was in a group home when she was just a teen, and he was in his thirties. Michelle had three children, two of which were her boyfriends. (The oldest and the youngest). Her middle child was from a former relationship she had while her and her long-term boyfriend had split up for a period of time. Michelle's children were also placed in the foster care system because of Michelle’s inability to care for them properly. By 1997, Michelle was addicted to crack and supported that habit with survival sex work. Her longtime boyfriend was also known to be addicted to crack and a dealer of the substance. To make her situation worse, Michelle also had one or two roommates who were also drug dealers. At the young age of 26, Michelle was caught up in a lifestyle that she couldn't break free from, yet she tried her best to get by. A close friend described her as very loving and kind. Michelle's only goal was to have her three children back with her under the same roof. Unfortunately, she would never get that chance because, sometime in September of 1997, Michelle would disappear.

Just prior to her disappearance, Michelle did not have friends or family that she would be in contact with regularly. The family she did have did not live close. That is why on October 9, 1997, Michelle’s case worker would contact law enforcement and report her missing. In previous years Michelle's case worker would see her in person at least once a month. He would give her disability check and pay for her month’s rent directly. However, her case worker could not locate her. He told police he tried her apartment a couple times, called area hospitals, and even contacted a rehab she had recently been to, all to no avail. This was very concerning to him since Michelle’s only legitimate income was her disability check. Her case worker stated that if she was not going to be around when he was supposed to drop by, she would contact him so that way he could send her check in the mail, somewhere else. He recalls this happening a couple of times when she would be visiting family out of the city. The last time he met with her was mid-August of the same year. After that visit she would just be a memory. Almost a year later the police would get a break in her case and their hopes of finding Michelle Eason would grow closer.

This break came attached to an ongoing serial killer investigation. The name is Kendall Francois. He went on a two-year killing spree from 1996 to 1998 in Poughkeepsie New York. Police were looking into Francois as he was known to pick up prostitutes in the local area and they suspected a connection. Throughout his rampage, eight sex-workers had gone missing and law enforcement had received tips that Francois may be who they are looking for. One day Francois picked up another prostitute and brought her home. As they arrived at his home, he attempted to strangle the woman, but she was able to break free and flee the home. She made it to a nearby gas station where local police detectives were pulling in. They took her down to the local police station to file a complaint. Soon after, police would arrive at Francois’ doorstep and ask him to come with them to the station for questioning. Once there, Kendall Francois admitted to the assault on the woman, but that wasn't all Francois wanted to get off his chest. In addition to this assault, Kendall also confessed about killing the most recent victim to have disappeared, Catina Newmaster. Newmaster was a local sex worker that disappeared just the month before. Police were able to obtain a search warrant for Francois’ home. What they would find would haunt them for a lifetime.

On September 2, 1998, crime scene crews were called to 99 Fulton Avenue in Poughkeepsie NY. When entering the home, they were hit with a deathly smell. The house was a mess and there was dirty clothing, dishes and garbage everywhere. The house was infested with maggots and the bathroom was unusable. This was not just Kendall’s residence, but this was his parents’ home. The family was living in a squaller. When police were able to push through the piles of trash down in the basement, tucked away in a crawlspace was the remains of three bodies. They continued searching and discovered five more bodies in the attic. Detectives knew they had just found their eight missing women. By the following week all the remains were identified and to their surprise none of the remains belonged to Michelle Eason.

Investigators pressed Kendall Francois about the still missing woman Michelle. He claimed he did not know anyone by that name. However, police know that was a lie because witnesses had told investigators they had seen Kendall and Michelle together in the past and he may have been one of her clients. After being confronted with this information, Kendall would admit he did know her, but he had nothing to do with her disappearance. Despite the connection and victim demographic, police could not tie him to Michelle’s disappearance. All the women he killed were found in his home. Additionally, though Francois ’victims all knew each other as they were all working girls that frequented the same areas, the woman he killed were white woman and Michelle was a black female. After processing everything over and over not missing a single detail of the home, there was no evidence that Michelle was ever there. Her disappearance doesn’t align with the beginning or end of his killing spree, and he died in prison without ever admitting his involvement in her disappearance.

What became of Michelle Eason on a summer's day in September 1997? Did Kendall Francois take any knowledge he had of Michelle with him to the grave, or was another malicious actor at work? Did her proximity to Francois provide tunnel vision for law enforcement, and allow her abusive boyfriend or some other deadly John to flee unscathed? Did she succumb to the harrowing street life she was born into, or could she have escaped for a second chance? To this day, her disappearance remains a mystery, as do many who share her story, chained to the cities they work in, the other Eves.

In September of 1997 Michelle Eason was described as

Gender: Female

Race: Black

Height: 5'2

Weight: 115

Hair: Black

Eyes: Brown

Eason had a dark birthmark on her left shoulder. She also had extensive dental work done.


If you have any information about the disappearance of Michelle Eason, please contact Poughkeepsie Police Department 845-451-4000

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