Veteran missing for 2 years: what happened to Steven Dean?


DAYTON, Texas (KTRK) – On the night of August 15, 2019, a veteran walked barefoot in the parking lot of a Liberty County gas station. It was the last time anyone saw Steven Dean.

The 34-year-old was captured on grainy black and white surveillance footage. He was alone and was wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

NOT RESOLVED: Evidence does not speak

He came out of the frame and apparently disappeared.

“When I step out here it’s like I’m back to the very first day someone knocked on the door,” Steven’s mother Jessie Hebert said as she stood at the pumps. gasoline along Highway 90 from Dayton. “I can’t go ahead. I’m still here.

Steven was Jessie’s oldest son. He was the wacky guy who loved to draw, play guitar, and spend night after night on his Xbox.

Steven was the happiest alone, Jessie said.

Jessie and Steven were close. She still has her favorite letter from him in a frame that was sent when he was in basic training.

It is signed “Love, your little soldier”.

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Steven spent a year in Korea before returning home to Dayton.

“I would give my last breath just to have one more day together,” Jessie said.

Steven had hired a small trailer in front of the gas station where he was last seen. Police believe this is where he came from shortly before his disappearance.

Investigators found his car, keys and wallet at his home. A few days later, they found her cell phone in the grass behind the gas station.

This is important evidence – If only Dayton Police Detective Terry Dale could get in. Without Steven’s phone password, she’s locked out.

Thanks to a search warrant, Dale was able to retrieve Steven’s call history, but texts are what she wants. The texts could possibly reveal who Steven intended to meet or where he may have been.

“You think about it all the time. You want to give them back their child,” Dale said. “I have four children. I can’t imagine what it did to them.”

In the weeks following Steven’s disappearance, Texas EquuSearch and law enforcement searched most of Dayton.

Volunteers scoured the woods, used ATVs, drones and horses to traverse rough terrain. Dale said he searched abandoned buildings and homes all around the gas station.

“Whether he’s four or 34, he’s still her child and he’s gone,” said Melissa Rangel of the Texas Center for the Missing. “Anyone know what happened to Steven Dean.”

Rangel and his team put Steven’s case back in the spotlight on this weekend’s Missing in Harris County Day.

Saturday’s event aims to bring together families in Harris County or surrounding areas who have lost a loved one. You can file a missing person report, no matter how long a family member has been missing, and submit your DNA to national databases used by law enforcement to locate the families of missing persons.

“We have to keep hope. It’s about hope,” Rangel said.

All it takes is one piece of advice: someone who saw Steven that night to come forward.

The gas station video and Steven’s cell phone are the two best pieces of evidence the detectives say they have.

Dale admitted, it’s not a lot and it’s not ideal though.

Jessie and her husband are not sure if it is their son in the video. He doesn’t walk like Steven, they said. But, Dale said two of Steven’s friends who spoke to him that night saw him at the gas station, although their meeting did not take place on camera.

Dale said the friends told detectives Steven looked a little nervous and was high. However, that does not explain the disappearance.

As we approach Steven’s disappearance for two years, Jessie says she will never stop looking for him.

“If we stop, if we give up, I give it up. I can’t do this,” she said.

If you know what happened to Steven Dean or saw him that night, call Dayton Police at (936) 258-2130.

“Missing in Harris County Day” will take place on Saturday August 7 at the Children’s Assessment Center at 2500 Bolsover Street. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and all families and friends affected by the disappearance of a loved one are invited to attend. For more information, click here.

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