Unsolved Cases: Clairton's Toni McNatt-Chiappetta
The teenager was reportedly headed to a high school pep rally, but she never made it there.
Football has always been a big deal in Clairton.
But as memorable as Clairton football games are for some fans, the one played on Nov. 6, 1981, is remembered by many others not because of the sport. For them, the disappearance of ninth-grader Toni Lynn McNatt-Chiappetta the night before is what brings that game to mind.
On Nov. 5, Toni, a petite 14 year old, left her home on Van Kirk Street, just one block over from the Clairton football stadium on Miller Avenue. Atop her white sweater and jeans, she was wearing a black jacket with orange-trimmed cuffs and waist. "Toni" was in white letters on the front, and "Clairton Band" was on the back.
Football season was nearing its end, and a pep rally for the Bears drew students that Thursday evening to support the team. There are conflicting reports as to whether the pep rally was at the stadium or at the high school several blocks away.
Toni was to meet a date at about 6 p.m. and then head to the rally. Her date waited 15 minutes for her and then left alone when she never showed up, according to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Friends told authorities that she never arrived at the rally.
Toni was last seen just blocks from her home by a friend between 6 and 7 on that Thursday night near the intersection of Mitchell and Miller avenues, where a soft-serve ice cream stand buffered the nice, tree-lined residential street from the main business corridor. Her mother, Audrey McNatt-Chiappetta, worked at a bar across the street from the stand but was not working the night that her daughter disappeared.
A few days after Toni's disappearance, some conflicting recollections surfaced, including one detailing that she was seen several blocks from the stadium because she might have had plans to go shopping and not attend the rally.
There was no evidence of a disturbance in Toni's home, according to reports from the time. A search of wooded and isolated areas around the mill town yielded no clues. Toni's father, Sam Chiappetta, then a truck driver for United Van Lines, launched a nationwide search by distributing fliers.
Toni had no history of running away and no steady boyfriend. She would now be 45 years old. Authorities say that foul play is suspected.
Toni is described as white; 5 feet 2 inches tall; 105 pounds; with straight blond hair, blue/green/hazel eyes, a mole on the left side of her neck, another on the right-front of her nose, light freckles across her face and a scar on the left side of her stomach. She has pierced ears.
Just five days before Toni disappeared, the body of 15-year-old Christine Guenther, of Peters Township, was found in a wooded area of South Fayette Township. Christine had vanished while waiting for a bus headed to Pittsburgh on Oct. 26, 1981. Police did not think that the two incidents were connected.
If you have any information concerning Toni's disappearance, contact Pennsylvania State police Trooper Tim Cross at 412-929-6262. All information may be submitted anonymously.
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