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MO TRACY A PICKETT: Missing from Joplin, MO - 12 August 1992 - Age 14

Discussion in 'Missing 1990 to 1999' started by Scorpio, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2018
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  2. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    Family still struggles with Joplin girl's disappearance 24 years ago

    Twenty-four years ago today, 14-year-old Tracy Pickett of Joplin went to stay overnight at a girlfriend's place in Webb City.

    Her family never saw her again. Joplin police believe the teen was slain and even believe they know who did it. But they've never found her body and have never come up with the evidence to charge their prime suspect. As long as that has remained the case, her family's frustration has only grown with each passing year.

    "We're very angry," her mother, Glenda "Kay" Blaser, told the Globe in a telephone interview Thursday. "We just don't know what to do." She believes her daughter's disappearance and presumed slaying should have been solved years ago. "There's a whole lot of people involved in this," she said. "There's a whole lot more they could have told (police)."

    The party
    Tracy was grocery shopping with her mother and two older sisters Aug. 11, 1992, when they happened to run into her girlfriend. "The girls hadn't seen each other in quite some time," Blaser said. "So they asked if Tracy could spend the night."

    Her daughter went to the friend's place in Webb City about midafternoon, her mother recalled. The girlfriend was a couple of years older than Tracy and lived on her own. A third girl they both knew was spending the night with them, and a party soon developed at which the third girl's boyfriend showed up with a guy who introduced himself as "Al."

    "Al," whom police eventually identified as an ex-convict named Lowell Billy, had served time in prison with the third girl's boyfriend, Tracy's mother said. She said Tracy's girlfriend later told police that Billy could not take his eyes off Tracy at the party and even had the nerve to ask her if she was wearing panties.

    Blaser does not know what all may have transpired at the party that night. She said what she does know is that about 10 a.m. the following day she got what sounded to her like a recorded message of a female voice on her answering machine: "Tracy's on her way home to change her clothes."

    The same exact message was left for her that night. It was not a woman's voice she recognized, and Tracy never made it home.

    Police were told that Tracy wanted to go home for a change of clothes that morning and accepted a ride from Billy in his black van with Oklahoma plates, two sunroofs and louvered side windows. When police later tracked him down in Oklahoma, he told them he dropped the girl off outside a pawnshop in downtown Joplin.

    Mother's skepticism
    Blaser does not believe her daughter went with Billy willingly. For one thing, when she realized her daughter was missing, she went to the girlfriend's home and found Tracy's shoes in the girlfriend's bedroom closet. Then there's what a police investigator told her some neighbors of the girlfriend witnessed the morning of Tracy's disappearance.

    "They said they would sign a sworn affidavit that they saw a little girl running down the alley screaming: 'Get away from me! Leave me alone!'" Blaser said. The investigator who told her that is no longer with the Joplin Police Department and could not be reached for comment Thursday.

    Joplin police Capt. Larry Swinehart, who was not involved in the original investigation but is in charge of the cold case today, said there's no mention in the case file of any such information obtained from neighbors. He said if that is the case, though, he would like to speak with those witnesses.

    Blaser said she also was informed by police that a young woman reported seeing Billy cleaning out his van at a location near Carthage around noon on the day Tracy went missing. She believes that report should call into question what one of Billy's family members told police about him being in Tulsa about 3 p.m. the same day.

    Swinehart said he does not believe investigators were ever able to confirm that the van the woman reported seeing was indeed Billy's van. He said it was his understanding that her information matched the description of the van but fell short of being a confirmed sighting of the suspect himself.

    Oklahoma time
    Billy, who is now 47, is currently in custody awaiting a probation revocation hearing Aug. 23 in federal court in Oklahoma. He is accused of violating terms of probation received on a conviction for failing to register as a sex offender in Arkansas.

    Billy was convicted of a kidnapping, forcible rape and forcible sodomy committed in Oklahoma the year after Tracy Pickett's disappearance. He served concurrent five- and seven-year terms on those convictions and was released from prison.

    Swinehart said Joplin police interviewed Billy again just last October. The detective said "nothing (had) changed" in the suspect's account of what transpired the day in question.

    "Of course, we're 24 years out," Swinehart said. "But we wanted to get a good interview on him, and we did." He said the last time Billy was questioned in the case before that was in 2005, when a tip led police to drain a mine tailing pond southeast of the intersection of Zora Street and Lone Elm Road.

    Swinehart said the best chance police have of solving the case today is "if people who knew (Billy) would contact us."

    'Sassy girl'

    Blaser said losing Tracy the way they did put an incalculable strain on family members. She said the girl's father, who died a couple of years ago, was never able to get over the loss. "He just sat down, got into the pain drugs and never got back up," she said. "He died never knowing what happened to his little girl."

    She believes police made a mistake letting Billy get out of Missouri in his van. By the time they tracked him down and searched it, they didn't find any evidence of use. He later had the van crushed at a salvage yard, she said.

    When her mother thinks of Tracy this many years later, a memory that seems to come back easily is that of her "little, sassy girl" when she was 9 or 10 and prone to complaining — sometimes justified, sometimes not — that her sisters were mistreating her.

    "I can still hear her voice," Blaser said. "'Mama, they're being mean to me.'" Family and friends plan to hold a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. today in Schifferdecker Park in Joplin on the 24th anniversary of the disappearance of 14-year-old Tracy Pickett.
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  3. guess who

    guess who Bronze Member

    Wow, I can't imagine any good coming out of letting a 14 year old stay with older teens that haven't seen each other in some time that have their own place. That area, especially in that time frame, meth runs rampant.
  4. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    Nothing found in pond search in Joplin girl’s disappearance
    JOPLIN, Mo. – A search of three ponds in Joplin yielded no new evidence in the case of a 14-year-old Joplin girl who disappeared 26 years ago.

    Joplin police and Missouri Department of Natural Resources employees spent about 3.5 hours Wednesday searching the ponds with sonar equipment and ground-penetrating radar.

    Police Capt. Larry Swinehart said searchers found no clues to help solve the disappearance of Tracy Pickett, who has been missing since August 1992.
    The Joplin Globe reports searchers were acting on new information recently received from a relative of a suspect, who has since died.

    Swinehart said the next step will be draining two of the ponds when it gets cooler and searching them by hand.

    Pickett disappeared after accepting a ride home from an ex-convict, Lowell Billy.
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  5. KareBear

    KareBear Well-Known Member

    Right!? And she had a tattoo at age 14! No judgment intended, it's just surprising is all..
  6. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

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