Max Lilburn Stone

Stone, circa 1976

  • Missing Since 12/30/1976
  • Missing From Lubbock, Texas
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Age 42 years old
  • Height and Weight Unknown
  • Medical Conditions Stone was in poor health at the time of his disappearance, and took medication which he doesn't have with him.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Yellow 1973 Pontiac (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male.

Details of Disappearance

Stone was last seen at a bar on Brownfield Highway in Lubbock, Texas on December 30, 1976. He has never been heard from again and there is no evidence he ever returned to his apartment in the southwest part of town. All his belongings were left behind, including his last paycheck and his medication.

His yellow 1973 Pontiac was impounded at 4:00 a.m. on December 31, after it was found parked in a lane of traffic in the 300 block of east 34th Street. The driver, Victor Briones, was drunk and he was arrested and booked into the Lubbock City Jail. That same day at 2:00 p.m., Stone's wallet and identification were found near Tahoka Highway and turned in to the police.

Stone's parents were notified about the wallet being found on January 5. Two days later, his parents reported him missing, but the investigating officer did not realize Stone's wallet had been located. He did, however, check local impound lots for Stone's vehicle and found out that it had been impounded on December 31.

On January 14, a felony theft warrant was issued for Briones in connection with Stone's car. He was arrested in Quanah, a town near the Texas/Oklahoma border. Briones stated he and a friend, Felix Ybarra Jr., had had last seen Stone walking down a deserted road in Lubbock County.

The Lubbock Police Department began searching outlying parts of the city for Stone, then turned the case over to the sheriff's office when it became evident that the incident had happened outside the city limits.

Ybarra had traveled back to his home in Nebraska after Stone's disappearance, and he was arrested there and charged with felony theft. The charges for both men were upgraded to aggravated robbery in April 1977.

Authorities believe the two suspects killed Stone in order to steal his vehicle. One of the men said the other had stabbed Stone and held his head in the water. When investigators asked the second man about this, he denied it and said the first man had stabbed Stone twice in the left side of his ribcage.

The suspects also apparently stole Stone's watch; one of them subsequently gave it to his father-in-law as a gift, and the police took it into evidence when they learned of this.

Although investigators hoped to file murder charges against Ybarra and Briones, Stone's body was never found. The outcome of the robbery case is unknown, and it's unclear whether the suspects were ever charged with murder.

Stone was in regular touch with his parents at the time of his disappearance. He worked as a medical technologist at University Hospital, but planned to quit his job and move back to Dallas, Texas, where his parents lived, because he hoped the warmer climate of Dallas might improve his health.

Foul play is suspected in his case due to the circumstances involved.

Investigating Agency

  • Lubbock Police Department 806-775-2816
  • Lubbock County Sheriff's Office 806-775-1400

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 15, 2020; casefile added.