Debra Kay Stewart
Stewart, approximately 1976
Date reported missing : 05/21/1976
Missing location (approx) :
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Female
DOB : 09/05/1956 (64)
Age at the time of disappearance: 19 years old
Height / Weight : 5'1, 130 pounds
Description, clothing, jewerly and more : Blue patchwork jeans, a blue long-sleeved blouse with white stitching, a blue bandana, a wide belt and brown shoes.
Medical conditions : Stewart suffers from a chronic kidney condition requiring medication. She needs to drink plenty of fluids to keep her kidneys functioning.
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos
: African-American female. Black hair, brown eyes. Stewart has a scar on one breast.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Stewart was last seen in Austin, Texas on May 21, 1976. She was last seen leaving her part-time job at Sears at the Hancock Center near Hyde Park.
She said she felt sick and left work early, en route to a doctor's appointment at the University of Texas student health center, but never arrived there. She has never been heard from again. Her apartment in the 2700 block of Manor Road was left in a neat, clean condition, and none of her belongings were missing.
Between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. the day after Stewart's disappearance, her car was found abandoned in the 1800 block of Ferdinand Street in east Austin, about a mile from her apartment. It was locked and the keys were in the ignition, and there were no indications of foul play. Witnesses saw an African-American male, about 5'9 to 5'10 and 190 pounds, getting out of the car. He was neat-looking with short hair, wearing a long-sleeved button-down shirt and dark-colored casual pants.
Two other young African-American women, Jennifer Barton and Brenda Moore, both disappeared from Austin in the spring of 1976, and it's possible the three cases are related. Barton was a prostitute who frequented the 11th Street area. Stewart wasn't a prostitute, but she was drawn to the nightlife in the 11th Street area and she and Barton did have friends and acquaintances in common.
Moore vanished on March 7, 1976; she was last seen on the east side of Austin. Her car was found abandoned in the 1900 block of Coleto Street, less than a block from where Stewart's vehicle was later located, with the car keys inside it.
Photographs of Moore are unavailable; she was 19 years old at the time of her disappearance and is described as 5'0 tall and 125 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. She worked as a nurse's aide and had a history of depression.
Moore was married at the time of her disappearance, but she and her husband had been separated for about four months and she had a boyfriend who drove a blue Chevrolet pickup truck. Her husband said he thought she had simply left town with another man. There is no hard evidence that Moore, Barton and Stewart's disappearances are connected, but police are looking into the possibility.
Stewart was a sophomore at the University of Texas in 1976, majoring in communications. Police investigated her boyfriend, but found no evidence to tie him to Stewart's disappearance. Foul play is suspected in her case, which remains unsolved.
Other information and links : ncy
Austin Police Department
September 2021 updates and sources
Texas Department of Public Safety
The Fremont Argus
A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as their location and condition are not known. A person may go missing through a voluntary disappearance, or else due to an accident, crime, death in a location where they cannot be found (such as at sea), or many other reasons. In most parts of the world, a missing person will usually be found quickly. While criminal abductions are some of the most widely reported missing person cases, these account for only 2–5% of missing children in Europe.
By contrast, some missing person cases remain unresolved for many years. Laws related to these cases are often complex since, in many jurisdictions, relatives and third parties may not deal with a person's assets until their death is considered proven by law and a formal death certificate issued. The situation, uncertainties, and lack of closure or a funeral resulting when a person goes missing may be extremely painful with long-lasting effects on family and friends.
Several organizations seek to connect, share best practices, and disseminate information and imAge at the time of disappearance: s of missing children to improve the effectiveness of missing children investigations, including the International Commission on Missing Persons, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), as well as national organizations, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the US, Missing People in the UK, Child Focus in Belgium, and The Smile of the Child in Greece.
The Austin American-Statesman
Interactive Missing Person Search Map