17-Year-Old Michele Avila Died at the Hands of Her Jealous Friends

17-Year-Old Michele Avila Died at the Hands of Her Jealous Friends

17-year-old Michele Avila was born in 1968 in Los Angeles, California. She lived with her mother and her 3 brothers. Ever since she was young, Michele has been popular. She was fun to be around and very beautiful. Boys always wanted to be around her while many girls envied her for her beauty and personality.

Michele had a best friend named Karen Severson. They met when they were 8-years-old and the two girls were inseparable. They protected each other from bullies at school and they were always looking out for one another. More often than not, Karen would find herself being more protective of Michele.

Although she endured bullying of her own and would always get compared to Michele, Karen was a really good friend. At 14-years-old, Karen got pregnant and had to drop out of school. This drove a wedge in their friendship since they could not see each other as often anymore. Life went on and the girls went from best friends to something worse than enemies.

Before Michele’s Murder


Karen dropped out of school and the girls did not see each other as often as they used to. In Karen’s absence, Michele began talking to new people and she also started dating a guy named Randy. Their relationship only lasted for a month because their lifestyles did not align.

Not long after the breakup, Karen began dating Randy and they actually moved in together. Karen and Michele’s relationship was already on edge and this event pushed it to its limits. Though there are various sides to this story, most people said that Michele and Karen began not only disliking each other but hating each other.


One night at a party, Michele, Karen, and Randy were all there when Karen noticed Randy being flirty with Michele. This only added fuel to the existing flame. Both girls were known for skipping class a lot and because of this, their grades were suffering. They were both transferred out of their high school into an alternative high school for people who were struggling to keep their grades up.

At this school, both Michele and Karen reunited with an old friend named Laura Doyle. The girls had also known Laura since they were all 8-years-old because they all lived very close together. At this point, it is unclear what kind of relationship the girls have.

The Day of Michele’s Disappearance


Karen and Michele got into a physical fight shortly before her disappearance at a local park. Karen had threatened to hit Michele with an empty beer bottle over the head and after she did, she pushed her to the ground and began punching her. Michele’s mother Irene knew about all of this so she had a good idea of the type of relationship they had.

On October 2, 1985, Michele told her mother that she was going to go hang out with Laura. They were going to spend the day together and she told her that they were going to a park. Irene knew the park she was talking about because Michele went there all the time. At around 3:30 PM, Laura picked Michele up and they drove off.

At around 6 PM that day, Laura called Irene and asked if she could talk to Michele. Irene found this strange since Laura had picked Michele up no more than 3 hours before and they were supposed to be spending the day together. Laura told Irene that they did not end up going to the park and that instead, she dropped Michelle off at a park while she went to put gas in her car.

Laura told Irene that when she dropped Michele off, she met up with 3 young men driving a blue Camaro. Laura then proceeded to say that once she had put gas in her car, she went back to the park to pick up Michele but she was no longer there, and neither were the young men.

Michele’s Missing


The next morning, Irene filed a missing person report, and only two days after she filed the report, Michele’s body was found at the park she said she was going to. Michele’s hair had been cut off and from the autopsy, her cause of death was drowning.

While the police were doing investigations of their own, Irene, Karen, and Laura would also go out and try to find this blue Camaro. Karen and Laura were always present and active members of this investigation. They helped in any way that they could. They even went to Michele’s funeral.

According to Irene, after Michele’s body was found, Karen moved into their home. Irene said that Karen was obsessed with Michele’s case and that she would even tape photos of Michele and clues to the wall to try and solve this murder. Irene said that Karen would visit Michele’s grave several times per week and she would often go to the woods where Michele’s body was found.

However, Karen’s account of events told a completely different story. She said that she did not move in but that she did visit a lot. She also said that she never went to the place where Michele was found after. At this point, police had no clear suspects and nothing would happen for over 3 years.

Laura Changes Her Story and a New Lead


For years, the only story police knew was that Laura had dropped Michele off at a park and that when she went to pick her up, she was no longer there. Two years after Michele was found, Laura changed her story and told police that she had actually dropped Michele off at a church and that she didn’t say this before because she was trying to cover up a drug deal.

In July 1988, a girl named Eva Chirumbolo came forward to the authorities and told them that she was with Laura and Karen on the day that Michele disappeared. When Laura went to pick up Michele to go to the park, she was not alone. Eva was driving in a car behind her and in the car with Eva was Karen.

Eva said Laura, Michele, and Karen all walked into the woods while she stayed in the car. It is unknown if Michele knew they were following her and Laura. It was at this point where a version of the real story was uncovered.

Karen told police that Michele, Laura, and herself walked into the woods while Eva stayed in the car. At one point, Michele was too tired to keep walking so they stopped. She then said that she and Laura started cutting pieces of Michele’s hair and Michele began screaming and asking them why they were doing this.

Shortly after, the girls kept walking and Laura asked Michele to get into the creek with her but Michele didn’t want to. Regardless, Karen pushed Michele into the water. Once she was in the water, Laura tied Michele’s hands behind her back and started putting her head under the water. Karen then left Laura and Michele alone in the water knowing that Laura’s intention was to kill Michele.

A Conviction and Two Free Women


In March 1990, Karen and Laura were convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Karen did 23 years and got out in 2011 and Laura was released in December 2012. While not much is known about Laura, Karen is now a published author who presents at high schools in the US about the dangers of bullying…

After the girls were arrested, the real truth about their friendship came out. Many people said that Karen was definitely jealous of Michele because she was prettier and had more friends. They also said that Karen was always trying to prove who she was while Michele could just freely be herself.

Michele’s family even went as far as to say that Karen was trying to steal Michele’s life which is why she moved into the family home after murdering Michele. After Karen was released from prison, she released 2 books telling her story about what happened. Michele’s family sued Karen in 2015 and won so now they get all of the proceeds from Karen’s second book
17-Year-Old Michele Avila Died at the Hands of Her Jealous Friends
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