Details of Disappearance
Branch was returning to Palo Alto, California from a weekend in Santa Barbara, California with three others on December 6, 1992. The other members of the group were Branch's fiance, 31-year-old Kevin Clarke, and a married couple, 29-year-old Alan Stewart and 31-year-old Amy Haxton Stewart.
They departed from Santa Barbara Airport on the morning of December 6, and planned to return to Palo Alto by noon so one couple could go buy a Christmas tree. They were aboard a single-engine Piper Archer airplane at the time. The last communication from the aircraft was received about eight minutes later.
Weather conditions at the time the plane was in flight were described as "treacherous," but the pilot did not give any indication that something was wrong on board the aircraft. The plane never arrived in Palo Alto and it and its occupants have never been seen again.
An extensive search of the area produced no clues as to where the plane was. Investigators received a tip that it had crashed somewhere near the Big Basin area of California, but no evidence was discovered. Branch and her companions are believed to be deceased, but are still classified as missing since their remains were never found.
Clarke and Branch enjoyed scuba diving, travel and racquetball. They met while working together at Advanced Micro Devices in Sunnyvale, California. Branch graduated from Stanford University in 1984 with a degree in psychology. Both Clarke and Alan are natives of the United Kingdom.
Alan and Amy married just six weeks before they disappeared; she has a bachelor's degree in English from Stanford and a master's degree in business administration from the University of California at Los Angeles. They had planned to honeymoon in South Africa in January 1993.
Menlo Park, California police are investigating Branch's case. Her body and those of her companions have never been found.