Theresa Elizabeth Baxter

1 AP
Left: Baxter, circa 1977;
Right: Age-progression to an unknown age

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: August 1977 from Huntington Beach, California
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: October 23, 1938
  • Age: 38 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'2, 125 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Brown hair, brown eyes. Baxter may use the alias Geraldine Tootle.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Baxter was last seen in Huntington Beach, California sometime in the month of August, 1977. Her two daughters went to the beach that day and when they returned, their father told them Baxter had run away with another man. She has never been heard from again.

    According to Baxter's daughter Marie Plata, who was twelve years old in 1977, her parents' marriage was troubled, they fought often, and her father was prone to angry, violent outbursts. Baxter had once taken the children and left her husband, but they eventually returned home. Plata stated that prior to her disappearance, Baxter had been a loving mother who cooked for the family, helped her children with their homework and was involved in the Girl Scouts. She looked through the house herself after her mother's disappearance and found Baxter's purse and driver's license hidden in the attic. Plata was unhappy at home and suspicious of her father, eventually ran away and was placed in foster care.

    Baxter's husband never reported her mother missing; Plata did, in 1988. Police had her Social Security number and fingerprints on file, but could find no record of her anywhere in the country after the summer of 1977. She is considered missing under suspicious circumstances. Plata believes her father either killed her or arranged for someone else to do it, but Baxter's husband is now deceased and was never charged in her disappearance. Her case remains unsolved.

    Many agencies list the date of Baxter's disappearance as June 1, 1977.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Huntington Beach Police Department
    714-536-5951

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    Source Information
    California Attorney General's Office
    Orange Coast Magazine

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    Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated June 16, 2017; date of disappearance corrected, age-progression added, details of disappearance updated.

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