The Murder of Michele ‘Missy’ Avila

Michele ‘Missy’ Avila grew up in the San Fernando Valley in California. Missy lived with her mother Irene and her 3 brothers Ernie, Chris and Mark. I couldn’t find that much information about her growing up, but

she was friends with Karen Severson since they were 8 years old. They started apart in high school. They attended San Fernando High School


During Missy’s junior year, she started dating a guy named Randy. She only dated him for a month because Randy was always partying. Right after their breakup, Karen and Randy started dating and moved in together. Randy was more interested in Missy and even pulled her on his lap once. She was disgusted and trying to be a good friend to Karen. She told Karen to break up with him. Instead of breaking up with him, she turned on Missy and stopped talking to her.

Ten days before Missy died Karen and Missy got into a fight in a park. Karen threatened Missy with a broken bottle, pushed and slapped her.

Missy’s death:

On October 2, 1985 Missy told her mother she was going out with a friend named Laura Doyle. A few hours later, Laura called Missy’s house and asked to speak to her. Irene was shocked and surprised because she thought Laura and Missy were together. Laura told Irene that she dropped Missy off and saw her get in a blue Camaro with 3 boys. Laura said she went to run an errand and when she came back Missy was gone, along with the 3 boys.

3 days later on October 5, Missy’s body was found face down in a stream in Big Tajunga Canyon in Angeles National Forest.

She drowned in 8 inches of water, her long hair was cut off and there was a log on top her.

Big Tajunga Canyon

Irene never suspected Karen or Laura. They both attended the funeral for Missy. However, Karen was obsessed with what she had done. She visited Missy’s grave several times a week, visited where her body was found, had pictures and newspaper clips all over her bedroom walls.


The police didn’t have any leads and the case went cold for 3 years. In July 1988, a teen named Eva Chirumbolo came forward about what happened to Missy. Karen Severson and Laura Doyle were charged with first degree murder. At trial, according to the prosecutor, both girls lured Missy to the stream and yelled at her for having sex with all these boys, including their boyfriends.

In March 1990, Karen Severson and Laura Doyle were convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. This baffles me a little but the jurors said they weren’t convinced the girls planned the murder out and threw away the first degree charge.

Karen has stated that she only meant to “torment Missy,” and that things got out of hand. (YA THINK KAREN?)

Karen Severson was released on December 9th, 2011 and served 23.5 years in prison. Laura Doyle was released in December 2012 and served 22 years.










Laura Doyle

Karen Severson

Karen Severson tried to write a memoir about the crime and prison life after she was released and even made a deal to make a film. (I don’t think she has any remorse about what she did). Her book also didn’t do well and has 2 stars on Amazon. Missy’s family sued her in 2015.

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