Details of Disappearance
Tracy was last seen at the Alex Acres Trailer Park off Pennsylvania Route 147 at 10:00 p.m. on August 5, 1989. She was trying to visit her twenty-year-old sister and brother-in-law who resided at the park, but they were not at home. She dropped off a barbecue grill and some grocery store coupons on their front step.
Tracy never arrived back at her family's house in Millersburg, Pennsylvania and has not been seen again. The trailer park is approximately seven miles west of her own home. She was not reported missing until the next day because her parents thought she had spent the night at her sister's home, as she often did. They called police after finding out Tracy was not at her sister's house.
Tracy's blue-striped white 1971 Mercury Comet was located at the town square in Millersburg the following evening, August 6, 1989. A photo of Tracy's car is posted below this case summary. Her belongings were not inside the vehicle and there was no trace of Tracy. The town square was a local gathering spot, and she may have been seen sitting on the steps of a store across from the street from the square earlier on the evening of her disappearance.
Parts of her wallet, including her driver's license and National Honor Society card, were found in December 1993, over four years after Tracy initially vanished. The wallet located in an area along Wiconisco Creek, off Rakers Mill Road in Washington Township, nine miles from Millersburg.
Authorities believe Tracy may have been on her way to see her boyfriend when she disappeared; his parents lived a short distance away from the Millersburg town square. Police have focused the investigation on Tracy's boyfriend and his family over the years. Tracy's boyfriend's brother stated his family had been cooperative with the investigation and were innocent of involvement in Tracy's disappearance, and that the investigation has been mishandled.
In August 2019, after testifying before a grand jury about Tracy's disappearance, Matthew Webster was charged with perjury in her case. He had allegedly admitted to a key witness, Holly Mallett, that he was involved in Tracy's disappearance.
He said he and some friends encountered her on the Millersburg square and that he had been drinking alcohol that night. He supposedly added, "It was supposed to be just a rape and done but then it turned out to be a lot more than that." On the stand, however, Webster denied having ever spoken to the witness.
Mallett was interviewed by police in 2018 and told them that, in 2016, Webster had told her he was involved in Tracy's rape and murder. A court-ordered wiretap recorded the pair talking about how she would deny earlier statements to the police. On tape, Mallett claimed the police had coerced her into making those statements, and described herself as mentally handicapped. Webster said he forgave her for her statements and promised to help pay for an attorney for her.
A photo of Webster is posted with this case summary. In December 2019, he pleaded no contest to felony perjury and was sentenced to four to six months in prison. Given credit for time served, he was released from custody immediately.
After Webster's plea, Mallett was also charged with felony perjury in Tracy's case. She had testified before a grand jury investigating Tracy's disappearance in June 2019, and admitted she had spoken to the police, but claimed she couldn't remember what she'd said to them. Police believe she lied when she claimed she had not previously discussed what she would tell the grand jury prior to her testimony.
A photo of Mallett is posted with this case summary. In July 2020, she pleaded guilty to perjury. She was sentenced to six to 23 months in prison. Neither she nor Webster have been charged in connection with Tracy's actual disappearance, only with lying in their testimony about it.
Mark Warfel was publicly named as a suspect in Tracy's disappearance in May 2022, by which time he was 89 years old. He would have been about 56 in 1989, the year Tracy disappeared, and police have searched his property for evidence in her case at least twice. Warfel is also a suspect in the death of his wife and several sexual assaults.
He was named as a suspect in Tracy's case at a competency hearing, as he is awaiting trial on unrelated burglary charges. At the hearing, the judge determined he was not competent to stand trial and the situation would not improve. Unless the prosection appeals the judge's decision, Warfel will never stand trial for the burglaries and will be released from prison.
Tracy does not have a history of running away from home. She left $300 behind in her bedroom and $400 in her bank account. She is described as a shy, studious teenager with no enemies. She was about to start her senior year at Halifax High School, whose principal described her as "an extremely responsible student." She was a member of the National Honor Society, an artist on the school newspaper, the yearbook editor, and a member of the Future Business Leaders of America.
Authorities believe that she was abducted, probably by someone she knew. Tracy's case remains unsolved.