Details of Disappearance
Stewart was last seen in Carson, California on August 9, 1981. Her family stated she left her home to go on a date with a young man named Bobby, whom she had just met hours before. The two of them drove away in a pickup truck. Stewart told her mother she would be home by 1:00 a.m., but she has never been heard from again.
Stewart had graduated high school prior to her disappearance and was considered a normal teenager, with no problems and no history as a runaway. Her mother described her as a shy person who had few romantic relationships and took care of her younger brother while her parents both worked.
In 1987, Robert Wayne Beckett Jr. was charged with first-degree murder in connection with Stewart's disappearance. At the time of his arrest, he had just finished serving two years a Colorado prison for assault. In 1988, Robert's father, Robert Wayne Beckett Sr., was also arrested and charged with Stewart's murder.
A jury subsequently convicted Robert Jr. of Stewart's murder. He initially agreed to testify against his father, but later reneged. Charges against Robert Sr. had to be dropped as a result.
Robert Sr. was rearrested in 1993 when his son again promised to testify against him. Robert Jr. stated he met Stewart at Hermosa Beach on the day of her disappearance and they went bowling before he took her to the apartment he shared with his father. He and Robert Sr. subsequently raped and tortured Stewart for three days, and then killed her together by strangling her and clubbing her.
Robert Jr. said they dumped Stewart's body in a rural area in Riverside County or Orange County in California, but he couldn't remember the exact location.
Robert Sr. was convicted of Stewart's murder in 1995. He also confessed to murdering a Florida woman in 1983, at the behest of the victim's husband. The woman's infant daughter was left unharmed with her mother's body, but died before the homicide was discovered and she could be rescued.
Another man was wrongfully convicted of the Florida woman's murder and served nine years in prison before authorities realized he was innocent and released him. Robert Sr. received immunity from prosecution in the Florida case in exchange for his testimony against the victim's husband, who had hired him.
In 1987, on the sixteenth anniversary of Stewart's disappearance, Robert Sr. died of natural causes in prison. Robert Jr. is still serving his life sentence. Stewart's remains have never been found. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.