Details of Disappearance
Gabbert's boyfriend, Chris Bigham, told authorities that she planned to travel to Dallas, Texas from their residence in Pecos, Texas on December 1, 1997. Bigham said that Gabbert wanted to visit a friend in Dallas and purchased a Greyhound bus ticket for the trip. Gabbert has never been heard from again. An employee at the Pecos Greyhound station told investigators that Gabbert never purchased any tickets at the location.
Her boyfriend, Chris Bigham, moved to Washington shortly after her disappearance. He returned Gabbert's two youngest children to their fathers, but continued to reside with Gabbert's thirteen-year-old daughter.
Investigators stated that Bigham confessed to Gabbert's murder in December 1998. Authorities said that he claimed she pointed a gun at his back on the day of her 1997 disappearance and he shot her in self-defense.
Bigham said that he initially buried Gabbert in the Pecos area, but he exhumed her body shortly afterwards and burned her remains inside of a barrel. He claimed that he submerged the container in the Pecos River below the bridge above Farm Road 3398.
Divers discovered a barrel similar to the object described by Bigham in August 1998. Investigators said that Bigham described a three-inch hole near the bottom of the container that allowed fuel and oxygen to enter inside. Bigham also allegedly told authorities about a pipe inside the barrel. The container was located near the area Bigham stated that he disposed of Gabbert's remains. Analysts announced that material scraped from the sides of the barrel were later identified as parts of human toes.
Bigham was charged with Gabbert's murder shortly after his reported confession. Her daughter eventually told authorities that Bigham said Gabbert committed suicide and he disposed of her body. She claimed to have observed her mother's remains inside the barrel afterwards. Bigham was convicted of murder in 1999.
Gabbert was employed as a dancer in various Texas clubs in 1997. She and Bigham resided in a mobile home on 20 acres of land he purchased near the Pecos River in October of 1997. Gabbert's body has never been located, but foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.