Details of Disappearance
On August 11, 1992, Tracy left her Joplin, Missouri home to spend the night with a female friend in the 800 block of Daugherty Avenue in Webb City, Missouri. Tracy's mother allowed her to go, thinking her friend lived with her parents and they would be there to supervise; in fact, the girl lived on her own. There was a party at the residence that night. According to witnesses, one of the guests, a man named Al. kept staring at Tracy all night and even asked her if she was wearing panties. Eventually he offered to give her a ride home to Joplin so she could change her clothes. He was supposed to return her to her friend's apartment afterwards. He drove a black van with two sunroofs, louvered side windows and Oklahoma license plates, and witnesses stated there was a gun inside it.
Tracy has never been heard from again. A week after her disappearance, authorities located and interviewed the individual who gave her the ride. By then he had left the state. "Al" was actually named Lowell Andrew Billy, and he had a prison record. Billy claimed he dropped Tracy off outside a pawnshop in downtown Joplin.
A female voice Tracy's mother didn't recognize left two messages on her answering machine, one on the night of August 11 and one at 10:00 a.m. the next day, saying Tracy was on her way home to change her clothes. When Tracy's mother realized she was missing, she went to Tracy's friend's apartment and found her daughter's shoes in the bedroom closet. Neighbors who lived nearby reported that on the morning of August 12, they saw a young girl running down an alley screaming, "Get away from me! Leave me alone!" At about noon that same day, a witness reported seeing Billy cleaning out a van near Carthage, Missouri; the van matched the description of Billy's vehicle, but police were unable to verify that the van the witness saw was in fact his.
A year after Tracy's disappearance, Billy was charged with contest to kidnapping, rape and forcible sodomy in Oklahoma. He eventually pleaded no contest and sentenced to seven years in prison. During the summer of 1993 he had picked up a Tulsa, Oklahoma woman who was hitchhiking, held her captive for about four hours, and beat and sexually assaulted her. He was released from prison but later jailed for failing to register as a sex offender. Police stated they believe Tracy was murdered, and Billy is the prime suspect in her disappearance, but authorities have no evidence to charge anyone in her case.
Authorities attempted to drain an old mining pit in the area in 2005, thinking Tracy's body might be in it, but they were unable to drain it completely and called off the search without finding anything. Her father is now deceased, but her mother is still alive and hopes she will be found. Tracy's case remains unsolved; Joplin police are investigating.