The disappearance of Debra Kay Stewart could be tied to two other missing person cases. On May 21, 1976, Debra was working at a Sears department store in Austin, Texas near Hyde Park. That day, it’s reported that the 19-year-old wasn’t feeling well so she decided to leave work early to make an appointment at the student health center located at the University of Texas. Debra was last seen leaving her place of employment and was said to be on her way to the doctor’s office, however, she never arrived at her destination.
Debra Kay Stewart has never been seen or heard from again.
The following morning, it was somewhere between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. when Debra’s vehicle was found abandoned just a mile from her apartment. The keys were reportedly in the ignition and there were no visible signs that Debra may have been attacked. The car’s doors were locked and reports stated that witnesses claimed to have seen a Black man exiting the vehicle. He was described as between 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall and about 190 pounds with short, neatly-styled hair. The unknown man was described as wearing a long-sleeve, button-down shirt with dark-colored pants.
Debra had a boyfriend at the time, but police couldn’t find anything to tie him to her disappearance.
When investigators searched Debra’s home, nothing appeared out of sorts. Her personal items remained and it looked as if she kept her apartment neat and in order. Soon, police began to compare the case involving Debra Kay Stewart to those of two other women who went missing from the Austin area in the Spring of 1976, and while their lifestyles may not have been similar, it’s reported that they may have run in the same crowd.
Brenda Moore, 19, went missing on March 7, 1976, and later, her vehicle was found abandoned a block away from where Debra’s car was found. At the time of her disappearance, Brenda was reportedly married but she’d been separated from her husband for approximately four months. He told authorities that she had a boyfriend who drove a blue Chevrolet pickup trunk and he just believed she ran off with him. There are no photos of Brenda on file.
Jennifer Joyce Barton, 20, went missing from Austin on March 16. I’ve previously covered her missing person case and investigators believe that Jennifer and Debra Kay Stewart frequented the same areas and had friends in common. Jennifer was reportedly a prostitute who may have had a drug abuse problem, but there has been no indication that college sophomore Debra was involved with prostitution.
At the time of her disappearance, Debra Kay Stewart stood 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighed 130 pounds. She had black/dark brown hair and brown eyes. She took medication for a chronic kidney condition and was required to drink fluids to keep her kidneys functioning. Debra has a scar on one of her breasts and was last seen wearing a blue long-sleeved blouse with white stitching, blue patchwork jeans, a blue bandana, a wide belt, and brown shoes. She would be 54-years-old at the time of this publication.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the Austin Police Department at (512) 974-5210 or their local authorities. Her agency case number is 760094820.
Please share this story regarding Debra Kay Stewart to help reignite the investigation into her case. She is our sister and her life matters.
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