Debra Kay Stewart

Stewart, circa 1976

  • Missing Since 05/21/1976
  • Missing From Austin, Texas
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race Black
  • Date of Birth 09/05/1956 (67)
  • Age 19 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'1, 130 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description Blue patchwork jeans, a blue long-sleeved blouse with white stitching, a blue bandana, a wide belt and brown shoes.
  • Medical Conditions Stewart suffers from a chronic kidney condition requiring medication. She needs to drink plenty of fluids to keep her kidneys functioning.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics African-American female. Black hair, brown eyes. Stewart has a scar on one breast.

Details of Disappearance

Stewart was last seen in Austin, Texas on May 21, 1976. She was last seen leaving her part-time job at Sears at the Hancock Center near Hyde Park.

She said she felt sick and left work early, en route to a doctor's appointment at the University of Texas student health center, but never arrived there. She has never been heard from again. Her apartment in the 2700 block of Manor Road was left in a neat, clean condition, and none of her belongings were missing.

Between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. the day after Stewart's disappearance, her car was found abandoned in the 1800 block of Ferdinand Street in east Austin, about a mile from her apartment. It was locked and the keys were in the ignition, and there were no indications of foul play.

Witnesses saw an African-American male, about 5'9 to 5'10 and 190 pounds, getting out of the car. He is described as "neat-looking" with short hair. He wore a long-sleeved button-down shirt and dark-colored casual pants.

Two other young African-American women, Jennifer Barton and Brenda Moore, both disappeared from Austin in the spring of 1976, and it's possible the three cases are related.

Barton was a prostitute who frequented the 11th Street area. Stewart wasn't a prostitute, but she was drawn to the nightlife in the 11th Street area and she and Barton did have friends and acquaintances in common. Moore was separated from her husband and worked as a nurse's aide; it's not clear whether she had any connection to Barton, Moore or the 11th Street area.

There is no hard evidence that Moore, Barton and Stewart's disappearances are connected, but police are looking into the possibility.

Stewart was a sophomore at the University of Texas in 1976, majoring in communications. Police investigated her boyfriend, but found no evidence to tie him to Stewart's disappearance. Foul play is suspected in her case, which remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Austin Police Department 512-974-5250

Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated October 6, 2022; details of disappearance updated.