On August 11, 1992, fourteen-year-old Tracy A. Pickett departed from her residence in Joplin, Missouri, and went to Webb City, Missouri’s 800 block of Daugherty Avenue to spend the night with a female friend. Tracy’s mother gave her permission to leave on the understanding that her friend lived with her parents and that they would be present to supervise; however, the girl actually lived alone.
That night, there was a party at the house. Witnesses claim that throughout the evening, a man by the name of Al continued to stare at Tracy and even inquired as to whether or not she was wearing panties.
After a while, he proposed to drive her back to Joplin so she could get dressed. Then he was meant to take her back to her friend’s flat. Witnesses claimed he had a gun in the black van he drove, which had two sunroofs, louvred side windows, and Oklahoma licence plates.
Tracy vanished from sight and was never heard from again. The person who provided her with the ride was tracked down and questioned by authorities a week after she vanished. He was out of the state by then. Actually called Lowell Andrew Billy, “Al” had a criminal history. Billy said that in downtown Joplin, he dropped Tracy off outside a pawnshop.
A woman’s voice Tracy’s mother didn’t realise that Tracy had left two messages—one at 10:00 a.m. on August 12 and the other on the evening of August 11—on her answering machine, informing her that Tracy was heading home to change her clothes. Tracy’s mother went to Tracy’s friend’s flat after realising her daughter was missing and discovered her shoes in the bedroom closet.
A young girl was seen running down an alley on the morning of August 12 and screaming, “Get away from me!” according to nearby neighbours. Get away from me!” Billy was seen by a witness extensively cleaning out a van near Carthage, Missouri, at around noon on the same day. Although the van fit Billy’s vehicle description, police were unable to confirm that the witness saw Billy’s van.
Billy was accused of contesting kidnapping, se*xual assault, and forced sodomy in Oklahoma, a year after Tracy vanished. In the end, he entered a plea of not guilty and received a seven-year prison sentence.
He had picked up a hitchhiking woman from Tulsa, Oklahoma in the summer of 1993. He beat and se*xually assaulted her while holding her captive for approximately four hours. After being freed from prison, he was re-incarcerated for not registering as a se*xual offender.
Although Billy is the main suspect in Tracy’s disappearance and the police believe she was murdered, they do not have enough evidence to bring charges against him.
In 2005, authorities thought Tracy’s body might be in an abandoned mining pit nearby, so they tried to empty it completely but were unsuccessful and ended the search without turning up anything.
Although Tracy’s mother is still alive and hopes to find her, her father has passed away. Her case is still open, and Joplin police are looking into it.