OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. - After 18 years, a family is finally getting some answers about eight-year-old Kirsten Hatfield who disappeared, last seen in her bedroom.
"We made the arrest of Anthony Palma. We brought him to our station on his own accord. We had an interview with him. At that point, we arrested him for murder in the first degree and also kidnapping of Kirsten Hatfield," said Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes. "In June 2014, the case was reassigned to Darrell Miller, one of our investigators."
After a meeting between Midwest City Police, Oklahoma State Bureau of Invsetigations and the FBI, investigators realized some evidence from 1997 had never been tested.
They decided to take another look at everything.
"The original analysis of the blood that was found in Kirsten Hatfield's panties and also the blood on the windowsill inside her bedroom window is that there were specific genetic profiles that were similar in nature, however the chemist could not say they were both one in the same," Clabes said.
He said they knew all along blood DNA from Hatfield's panties and windowsill were similar but, because of technology, they couldn't prove they were the same person.
That is, until now.
With changes in technology over the years, new tests made a shocking reveal.
"The blood sample from Kirsten Hatfield's panties and also the blood on the windowsill matched Anthony Palma," Clabes said. "The match was one and 293 sextillion."
Court documents show Palma had a different story from what he told investigators back in '97.
He lied about having his home searched.
With the new DNA match, investigators made a move.
"This weekend, we accelerated that case to go ahead and contact Mr. Palma, who was working in Norman at Lake Thunderbird as a groundskeeper," Clabes said.
"Kirsten may have been targeted by Palma for sexual assault," according to court documents. "It is likely that Palma has been motivated to stay in the same home to conceal evidence of the crime and or the location of Kirsten's body"
"We've never let this case down," Clabes said. "We still have a lot more to do."
They are not ruling out other suspects, at this point.
Clabes did confirm, as of Tuesday night, they have not found little Hatfield.
Click the gallery below to view the probable cause affidavit: