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Mary and her two daughters, Fannie and Jessie, were last seen in Honeydew, California on December 10, 1977. They left home at 10:00 a.m. in Mary's red Opel sation wagon with license plates numbered 456-AII. They were going to go to the grocery store, to a television repair shop in Eureka or Fairfield, California and may have also planned to see an optometrist. They were supposed to return by dark, but never did. On January 19, 1978, Mary's vehicle was found abandoned on an old logging road a few miles from home. The car's gas line was broken and there were groceries in the back. There were no indications of foul play or a struggle. There has been no sign of Mary or the children since 1977.
Byron McGray Stuart, who was Mary's husband and Fannie and Jessie's father, has long been considered the prime suspect in their disappearances. He had a bad temper and a violent history, but authorities never had enough evidence to charge him. Byron was an alcoholic and a drug addict who went into recovery after he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1991. He died in 1996, age 48. He never remarried or had any other children.
The investigation into the Stuarts' disappearances was reopened in 2009 and investigators hope to recover Mary, Fannie and Jessie's remains. Their cases remain unsolved.
Humboldt County District Attorney's Office