Brandi Stahr Missing Texas Student Found After 7 Years
Brandi Stahr, whose disappearance from Texas A&M in 1998 sent off a massive nationwide search and press explosion, has been found alive and working in Kentucky. She was apparently hiding from her family because of a poor grades.
A Texas A&M University student who had been feared murdered after disappearing nearly seven years ago has been found alive and working in Kentucky, according to authorities. Brandi Stahr went missing in October 1998, and police spent hours searching for her body in wooded areas. They questioned a serial rapist and murderer about her just hours before he was executed last year.
But a telephone tip led investigators to Florence, Ky., where Stahr has been working for the last five years at a Sam’s Club, said Texas Ranger Frank Malinak. “We thought we were dealing with a missing persons case,” Malinak said. “But, in actuality, we were dealing with a person who did not want to be found and was in hiding.” Stahr, 27, hid from her family after she and her mother, Ann Dickenson, got into an argument over bad grades she received during her sophomore year and her family stopped paying for school.
For the last five years, Stahr worked under her real name, using her Social Security number. But police said they were unable to locate her that way because they don’t have access to IRS records.
Dickenson and Stahr haven’t reunited yet, but have talked on the phone. Stahr told her sister the family should not bother visiting, but her mother said nothing will stop her. “We’re going. I’m going. Even if I have to sit out in a (Sam’s Club) parking lot to see her,” Dickenson said.
Although Stahr committed no crime in her disappearance, investigators spent a lot of money and time looking for her, Malinak said. “The responsible thing to do would have been to let someone know you’re OK,” Malinak said. “There are going to be people expending man-hours and effort, trying to find a missing person.”
No kidding. This makes Jennifer Wilbanks, the Runaway Bride, look considerate by comparison.
Above photo from Texas Department of Public Safety Missing Persons. The photo, obviously, is from at least seven years ago. No word on what she looks like now.
Moody couple’s missing daughter found alive and well in Kentucky (Waco Tribune, May 27)
Ann Dickenson’s heart sank when she saw a Texas Ranger, two deputy U.S. marshals and a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper standing near the principal’s office at Moody High School Wednesday afternoon. Her daughter, Brandi Stahr, had been missing without a word or a trace since October 1998. Although Dickenson was reluctant to entertain such dark thoughts, she says that deep down, she gave up hope about three years ago of ever seeing her daughter alive again. In fact, she and Brandi’s stepfather Ken Dickenson were preparing to have Brandi declared legally dead in October and planning to cash in Brandi’s life insurance policy, Ken Dickenson said. So when Texas Ranger Sgt. Matt Cawthon put his hand on her shoulder and told her that they needed to find a quiet office to talk, Dickenson braced for the worst. “Matt sat me down and got a hold of my hand and said, “I told you we would never quit looking for Brandi.’ I said, ‘She’s dead, isn’t she?’ He said, ‘No, she’s alive and well and living in Kentucky.’ Well, I just fell completely apart,” Dickenson said.
Brandi, a Moody High graduate who made good grades and played basketball and volleyball, has been living in Florence, Ky., and working at a Sam’s Club there for the past five years, her mother said. Dickenson said she talked to her daughter, now 27 and unmarried, on the phone for about 90 minutes Wednesday. Dickenson says she and other family members are going to see Brandi in a couple of weeks when their recreational vehicle is repaired.
Before that, Dickenson’s last words to her daughter had been “I love you,” after they argued on the telephone about Brandi’s college grades and exorbitant credit card charges in May 1998.
Cawthon promised Dickenson in March 2001 when he agreed to look into Brandi’s disappearance that he would never stop looking for the missing Texas A&M University student. Investigators spent “hundreds of hours” on the case, Cawthon said, searching wooded areas with dogs, talking to former roommates and boyfriends, putting Brandi’s story in prison newsletters hoping that someone there would come forward with information and tracking down numerous leads. Cawthon even interviewed serial rapist and convicted murderer Ynobe Matthews, four hours before Matthews was to be executed in January 2004, to see if he would confess to murdering Brandi and lead them to her body. Cawthon left convinced that Matthews had nothing to do with Brandi’s disappearance.
In the end, it was an anonymous tip to the DPS Missing Persons Clearinghouse that led authorities to Brandi. The caller had seen information about Brandi on the clearinghouse Web site and said she was living in Florence, Ky., about 20 miles south of Cincinnati.
An amazing thing to put one’s family through.