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Crime News Missing Persons

Cold Case Divers Locate Car Of Texas Woman Missing Since 2017 In Brazos River

A car pulled from a Texas River by cold case divers on Wednesday belongs to Stephanie Torres, missing since 2017. Police also recovered a body, but the identity has not been confirmed. 

By Constance Johnson
Stephanie Torres Pd

A team of cold case divers recovered a car from a Texas river that police have confirmed belonged to a Waco woman who has been missing for four years.  

A body was also found in the car, but it has not been positively identified as 43-year-old Stephanie Torres. Waco police hope to know more once an autopsy is completed.

"Once the vehicle was recovered, investigators found a small bone fragment," Waco Police spokesperson Cierra Shipley told CBS News. "The bone fragment and the vehicle are now being processed for evidence."

Police also took DNA swabs from Torres’s family members on the scene of the recovery, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.

The 2006 Kia Rio was found by Adventures With Purpose divers in the Brazos River on Wednesday. The Oregon-based volunteer group has help solve more than a dozen cold cases since 2019.

They connected with Torres’s family on social media last year.

Family members cried and held each other as the vehicle was pulled from 13 feet of water.

“I’m scared. I’m nervous. I don’t have words at this point,” her daughter Bianca Torres told NBC News

Torres was last seen on Dec. 20, 2017, just days shy of her 43rd birthday. She left home without her cellphone, wallet or medication, police said.

Family members said that Torres may have been intoxicated and suicidal when she disappeared.

She was in constant pain from fibromyalgia and one of the side effects of the medication she took for the condition was depression, family members told NBC News.

Her son Jonathan Torres said that they argued about getting a dog on the last day that he saw her alive. She sometimes disappeared for two or three days, so family members expected her to return home as she had done in the past.

They reported her missing on Dec. 21.

Police got nowhere with the case, and it was suspended in February 2019.

Torres’s family was frustrated with police and the lack of progress.

“I felt like they weren’t getting in touch with us or letting us know anything about the case,” Bianca Torres told NBC News.

Waco police said their investigation was thorough and exhaustive searching databases and highway video tapes looking for Torres’s license plates. They reached out to pharmacies to see if Torres refilled her medication, shared information about the case and alerted the media.

“When she disappeared, a search began for Ms. Torres, however, every lead had come up empty,” Shipley told KWTX.  “No lead has brought us to the Brazos River, and that’s why our department has not searched the river for her and for this case.”

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