Details of Disappearance Katherine was last seen at approximately 10:00 p.m. on December 29, 2004 at her estranged husband's farm in the vicinity of the 14000 block of Metz Road in Sanger, Texas. Her husband, Charles Edward Stobaugh, told police that he watched her drive away from his residence before he went to bed and, when he woke up in the morning, her beige/cream 2000 Lincoln Town Car was parked in his driveway with the keys inside it but Katherine was not there.
Charles said they were arguing before he last saw her and Katherine told him he might never see her again. The couple has two children. Their older daughter reported Katherine missing on January 3, 2005; she stated that she did not do so earlier because Charles told her Katherine had probably just wanted to get some time to herself and would return home soon.
Katherine, who was in her first year of teaching kindergarten at Nocona Elementary School, had filed for divorce in May 2004 and Charles was served with a restraining order the following month. According to Katherine's family, their marriage had always been troubled, but Charles did not want the divorce and refused to accept any divorce settlement. Katherine had reportedly planned to end the marriage as early as 2002, but wanted to get herself financially ready first.
A photo of Charles is posted with this case summary. He was initially cooperative in the investigation but later hired a lawyer and refused to take a polygraph or let law enforcement search his home; they had to obtain a warrant to do so. Authorities stated that Charles's account of the events leading up to Katherine's disappearance did not corroborate with known facts. He said he called her cellular phone several times, but phone records disproved that statement. Investigators named him as the primary suspect in his wife's case.
In November 2009, nearly five years after Katherine disappeared, Charles was arrested and charged with her murder. In spite of his defense's assertions that there was no physical evidence to implicate Charles and no proof that Katherine was even dead, Charles was convicted in February 2011. Authorities argued that he killed Katherine to avoid having to divide their assets in a divorce settlement. He was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. In January 2014, however, Charles's conviction was overturned for lack of evidence.
Katherine has not withdrawn money from her bank account, used her Social Security number or used her cellular phone since her disappearance. She has never had a passport and there's no evidence she left the country at any time in her life. She is described as a very reliable and honest individual who would not have left without warning. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.
- Denton County Sheriff's Department
Updated 8 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated January 29, 2014; details of disappearance updated.