By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been three long months since Steven Dean, 34, disappeared from his home in Dayton. He was last seen by neighbors as he walked away from his home in the Dayton Cabins park on Aug. 15, 2019.
His mom, Jessie Hebert, vows to never give up looking for him. She knows the chances of a safe return are diminishing with each passing day, but says she isn’t ready to abandon hope.
“Someone somewhere has to know what happened to my son,” she said. “As a mother, my gut tells me that he isn’t alive only because I know he wouldn’t willingly put me through this. I know he wouldn’t. I haven’t given up all hope yet. I won’t stop looking for him.”
Dean, an inspector for an oil field services company, is recently divorced and moved into the Dayton Cabins park in June after living for a time with his parents in Sheldon.
“I never understood why he lived there anyway. He made really good money and could have lived somewhere else,” Hebert said.
She was notified of her son’s disappearance on Aug. 16 by a co-worker who came to her house to say that Dean hadn’t shown up for work on Aug. 15.
“He has never been a no-show, no-call person regarding work. He was steadily getting certifications at his job and doing well,” his mom said.
After looking for her son in vain, Dean went to Dayton Police Department to file a missing persons report.
“At first, I was stunned. This is not like my son. When he didn’t answer his phone and he didn’t contact me, I got concerned. His wallet and everything was at his house. He wouldn’t have just left his things behind. This is not like him,” she said.
A few days later, Dean’s phone was located by authorities near the Dayton High School football stadium.
Some of the information she has learned from authorities, neighbors and friends of Dean’s are conflicting stories that say he was seen walking out of his home, barefooted, and through a field behind the house. Other stories say that Dean was at a neighbor’s house and seemed disoriented as he walked out of the person’s house.
“All I know is I can’t find my son and it’s killing me. Even though he is 34 years old, he is still my child,” she said.
Other curious details about Dean’s disappearance, she said, is the fact that his car key – the only key he had for it – was found in the glove box of his locked vehicle.
“They are saying he just walked out of his life. If that is the case, then why hasn’t anyone seen him? My husband and I have been down to homeless camps in the woods looking for him and there is no sign of him,” she said. “How does someone just disappear like that? His face is plastered on posters from Dayton to Liberty. If he was around there somewhere, he would have seen them. Someone else would have seen him and called the police.”
On Sept. 14, Texas EquuSearch volunteers combed areas of Dayton that were identified by police as possible locations for Dean, but nothing was found. Three days later, Tropical Storm Imelda pushed through the area, dropping heavy rains.
Dayton Police Chief Robert Vine is frustrated he has been unable to produce results regarding Dean’s disappearance.
“Our detectives need some new evidence or leads to go on,” he said. “We haven’t forgotten this case. Getting his picture out there and reminding people of his disappearance will hopefully help.”
Hebert will celebrate her birthday on Dec. 11, a day she is dreading without her son.
“He is always the first person to tell me happy birthday. He sends text messages at midnight because he wants to be the first person to say it to me. He wakes me up early before he goes to work to give me his present,” she said. “How do you go on with your life when you don’t know where your child is? This is hell. You can’t go about your day like nothing is wrong. You are alive, but you aren’t really. You are just going through the motions.”
Dean is described as 5-feet, 10-inches tall, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Dayton Police Department at 936-258-7621.