A mother’s desperate two-year search for her missing son has ended in tragedy after DNA results determined that skeletal remains found on Dec. 9, 2021, outside the Dayton Community Center are those of Steven Dean.
Dean went missing on Aug. 15, 2019, from his rented cabin on US 90 across from Raceway gas station in Dayton. He left behind most of his belongings in his home and his car was found parked outside his cabin. His cell phone was found six days later behind the Raceway gas station.
Dean was employed as an oilfield inspector and served in the U.S. Army until he was honorably discharged years prior to his disappearance. He was 34.
The mystery of his disappearance might not have been solved had it not been for a land-clearing project on an empty lot near FM 1409 and Entzminger streets in Dayton.
“They were doing land clearing for a construction project and a machinery operator came across the remains,” said Lt. Shane Burleigh, a spokesperson for Dayton Police Department.
The cause of death is still unknown. Burleigh said it is hoped that autopsy results will determine what led to Dean’s death.
Dean’s mother, Jessie Hebert, was the driving force behind multiple searches for Dean. In an Aug. 10, 2020, article on Bluebonnet News, Hebert described how difficult life has been without him.
“Life is going on but nothing is the same. We are just going through the motions day by day. His Christmas presents are still sitting on the shelf of my house. They will stay there until we find him,” she said. “I still cry every single day. I see things that he liked or things he would have gotten a kick out of, and I am reminded. It’s a nightmare and I just want to wake up from it.”
As time passed with no sign of Dean, Hebert told Bluebonnet News that she found herself lingering between hope and despair.
“I know my son is out there somewhere, probably dead, but I can’t say goodbye. I have to be his voice because he cannot be. We have to make people aware that not only is he missing but there are many other people still missing as well,” Hebert said.
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