Details of Disappearance Byrd was last seen in Tyler, Texas on May 27, 1992. She has never been heard from again. She left food cooking on the stove in her house when she vanished. There were no indications of forced entry.
Authorities believe Byrd's disappearance could be related to the murder of a local eight-year-old boy, Ernest Chadwick "Chad" Choice. Chad was kidnapped from his bedroom in November 1991. Two days later, a ransom note was found at his uncle's workplace.
The family tried to deliver the money at a bus station as per the instructions in the note, but no one showed up to collect it. Chad's family got an anonymous phone call saying he had been abducted to collect on a debt his uncle owed to three Colombian drug dealers.
On the one-year anniversary of his abduction, Chad's mother found another note left on her car windshield; the note said Chad was still alive and demanded $6,000 for his return. The alleged kidnapper(s) never made contact with his family again.
In 1995, on the fourth anniversary of the abduction, Chad's skull was left in a grocery bag on his uncle's front porch. Patrick Horn ultimately led authorities to the rest of the body and was convicted of the child's murder in 1997.
Horn, a friend of Chad's older brother, was only seventeen years old at the time of Chad's abduction and murder. He said the three Colombian drug dealers had abducted and shot Chad, and that he was not involved in the crime and only disposed of the body because he was in fear for his life.
At the time of his conviction in Chad's case, Horn was already serving life in prison without parole for carjacking and bank robbery. He was sentenced to death for Chad's murder, but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment due to his age at the time of the crime. His statements about the alleged drug dealers have never been verified and no one else was ever charged in Chad's case.
Investigators stated Horn had been a suspect in Byrd's disappearance since shortly after she vanished. They believe she may have known something about Chad Choice's murder and was killed as a result. Christopher Wells, an associate of Horn's, may have helped move Byrd's remains, but he hasn't been charged in her case. Her disappearance remains unsolved.
- Tyler Police Department
Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated December 21, 2017; details of disappearance updated.