Details of Disappearance
Jessie and her sister Fannie were last seen in Honeydew, California on December 10, 1977. The girls disappeared with their mother, Mary. They left home at 10:00 a.m. in Mary's red Opel station wagon with the license plate number 456-AII.
They were going to go to the grocery store, to a television repair shop in Eureka or Fairfield, California and may have also planned to see an optometrist. Mary had $200 with her for expenses. They were supposed to return by dark, but never did.
Three days later, one of Mary's friends reported her missing. A subsequent check of optometrists and television repair shops turned up no one who had seen the Stuarts visiting those places.
On January 19, 1978, Mary's vehicle was found abandoned on an old logging road a few miles from home. The road was not on Mary's usual driving route, but it would have eventually taken her to her home.
The car's gas line was broken and there were groceries and laundry in the back, as well as the television set. The TV set had been repaired, which was considered strange since no one at local repair shops had claimed to have seen Mary or the girls. There were no indications of foul play or a struggle. There has been no sign of Mary or the children since 1977.
Byron McGray Stuart, who was Mary's husband and Fannie and Jessie's father, has long been considered the prime suspect in their disappearances. He had a bad temper and a violent history, but authorities never had enough evidence to charge him.
After his family disappeared, Byron was behaving strangely, abusing drugs, and said his wife and children had been abducted by aliens. He was an alcoholic and a drug addict who went into recovery after he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1991. He never remarried or had any other children. He died in 1996, age 48.
The investigation into the Stuarts' disappearances was reopened in 2009 and investigators hope to recover Mary, Fannie and Jessie's remains. Their cases remain unsolved.