Tabitha Diane Brewer

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3 AP
Top Row and Bottom Left: Tabitha, circa 1998;
Bottom Right: Age-progression to age 29 (circa 2011)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: April 27, 1998 from Shawnee, Kansas
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: August 22, 1981
  • Age: 16 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'7, 115 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Tabitha has scars on her left knee, on her left hand and under her right eye. One of her ears is triple-pierced, while the other ear has a single piercing. Tabitha has the initials "TD" on one of her ankles. Her skull and left wrist were previously fractured as the result of a near-fatal car accident that occured when she was fourteen years old. A wire was inserted into Tabitha's jaw after an additional injury prior to her 1998 disappearance. Her nickname is Tabby.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: Earrings, a bracelet, a necklace and a silver ring with a purple stone.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Tabitha visited her father and stepmother at their apartment complex in Shawnee, Kansas on April 27, 1998. Her 19-year-old boyfriend, Nicholas Travis, accompanied her during the late evening hours. A photograph of Travis is posted below this case summary. The couple was last seen departing the residence with a friend, Brandon B. Howell, at approximately 12:00 a.m. They were going to run an errand together. A photograph of Howell is posted below this case summary. He told authorities that he dropped Tabitha and Travis off at the Circle K convenience store near 75th Street and Interstate 35. They never returned home. Tabitha was carrying a comb and a pocket knife at the time of her disappearance.

    Authorities initially assumed the couple ran away together, but soon discovered foul play was likely involved in their disappearances. Both Travis and Tabitha's charred identification and Tabitha's purse, with her jewelry and pictures of her family inside, were discovered in a dumpster on the corner of 55th Street and Paseo Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri approximately three days after they vanished. There were no other signs of Tabitha or Travis at the scene.

    Travis's body was discovered in August 1998, buried in a shallow grave in the 5400 block of the Paseo in Kansas City, Missouri. His corpse was only found four doors down from the location where the couple's belongings were located more than one year earlier. He was the victim of a homicide; he had several fractures in the back of his skull. There was no sign of Tabitha at the scene. She has never been heard from again.

    Tabitha and Travis had been dating for over a year prior to their disappearances; both lived with Tabitha's mother. They had both dropped out of the alternative high school they attended. Tabitha's mother stated her daughter had wanted to marry Travis and have his children. Tabitha is a good typist and was employed as a secretary at a mortgage company at the time of her disappearance.

    Authorities identified Howell as a suspect in Tabitha's disappearance and Travis's murder not long into the investigation. Travis's body was found in the backyard of a home Howell's father had worked on, and blood spatters matching Travis's DNA were located. There was a scuff mark like a shoeprint on the underside of the Howell's car's trunk lid as well. Investigators initially lacked the evidence to charge Howell. He was convicted of kidnapping, aggravated assault, attempted aggravated robbery and animal cruelty and has been incarcerated since 1999. The charges stemmed from a home invasion robbery. In 2006, eight years after Travis and Tabitha disappeared, Howell was charged with the murders of both of them when witnesses came forward with additional information.

    A witness stated that on a night in April 1998, they heard Tabitha's voice from inside Howell's father's home, then a man and a woman screaming, and after that the witness saw Howell with blood on his shirt. Howell had also allegedly spoken to several people of a plan to kidnap Tabitha and Travis and rob and kill them. Tabitha had received a $40,000 car accident settlement shortly before her disappearance, but the money was held in a trust fund and she did not have access to it. Howell was tried in March 2009. He was acquitted of both murders. He will not be released immediately, however; he is still serving a sentence for a 1999 home invasion robbery. His earliest possible release date will be in November 2010.

    Tabitha has never been found, but foul play is suspected in her disappearance due to the circumstances involved.

    Howell Travis
    Left: Brandon Howell;
    Right: Nicholas Travis

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Shawnee Police Department
    913-631-2151

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    Source Information
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    The Kansas City Star
    The Kansas City Channel
    America's Most Wanted
    The Child Seek Network
    KCTV5
    Crime Scene Kansas City
    NamUs

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    Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated August 19, 2011; age-progression updated.

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