Details of Disappearance
Bockwith was last seen in Escambia County, Florida on December 5, 1979. She got up early that morning and breakfasted with a friend at a McDonald's restaurant on Navy Boulevard. Her behavior at the time was normal. After the mean Bockwith returned to her home in the 200 block of Greve Road in Pensacola, Florida and went back to bed. She left home again at 9:30 a.m. to go to class at the University of West Florida.
Two friends saw Bockwith on campus in Building 58 at 11:10 a.m., just ten minutes before she had an accounting class scheduled there, but uncharacteristically, she never showed up for the class. A longtime friend saw her driving through the intersection at Creighton Road and Ninth Avenue, heading south, at 12:05 p.m. She has never been heard from again.
On December 12, Bockwith's bright red 1977 Toyota hatchback with the Florida license plate number 9D-23821 was found in the long-term parking lot at the Pensacola Regional Airport.
The driver's seat was pushed back all the way, indicating that the last person to drive the car was taller than Bockwith. Her textbooks were in the backseat instead of in the passenger seat where she normally kept them, which suggests there were two people in the vehicle. Bockwith's purse was missing. She never touched her checking account, she contained $1,500.
Bockwith had told several friends about having problems with her sometime boyfriend, Robert McClellan "Mack" Deaver, prior to her disappearance. They had dated steadily two years earlier, but their relationship was troubled.
Bockwith's family and friends described Deaver as an extremely jealous man with a volatile temper. Twice Bockwith filed complaints with the police against him. In April 1978, he was accused of an "unprovoked" attack against Bockwith's new boyfriend while Bockwith was with him. Deaver pleaded guilty to charge and completed a term of probation.
The second complaint, filed in the summer of 1978, alleged that Deaver had kicked Bockwith's Toyota repeatedly, causing minor damage, and when she asked him to pay for the repairs, he rammed his car into hers, struck her and tore a necklace off her throat. Charges were filed against Deaver in connection with the incident, but they were later dropped. Shortly afterwards, he went to Louisiana, and didn't return until shortly before Bockwith's disappearance.
Deaver and Bockwith began dating again after he moved back to Florida, something her parents didn't learn about until after she disappeared. He was still jealous and told Bockwith he would "slap her down" if he caught her with another man. Although her friends suggested he might have been involved in her disappearance, after she went missing he seemed very upset and helped Bockwith's family with the search.
Deaver was scheduled to take a lie detector test about Bockwith's disappearance with a private investigator on December 11, the day after her car was found. After he missed the appointment, Bockwith's brother went to his house and found him dead in the garage. He had shot himself to death. Deaver left a note for his mother which said nothing about Bockwith or her disappearance. It isn't clear whether he is considered a suspect in Bockwith's case.
It's completely uncharacteristic of Bockwith to leave without warning; her parents, whom she lived with, stated she always kept them informed of her plans. She was an honors student at the university, where she majored in accounting, and she had also worked for her parents' real estate company. At eighteen years old, she had been the youngest real estate agent in Florida history. She graduated from Escambia High School at age seventeen, enrolled at Pensacola Junior College, and transferred to the University of West Florida by the age of nineteen.
Investigators believe Bockwith is deceased. Her case remains unsolved.