Stevie Bates, age 19, was last seen in Manhattan, New York on April 28, 2012.
It is rare for me to profile cases that are this recent, most of my cases are from the early 1990’s or earlier. The reason for this, is that most of the recent cases have plenty of publicity and investigation going on. Unless you’ve had the misfortune of going missing from New York City.
As seen in my articles about the disappearances of Tiahease Jackson, Sylvia Lwowsky, and poor Lois Darnopuk (NYPD said they didn’t have the resources to even be the contact agency for tips), there is a pattern here.
Stevie was a student at Hunter College in 2011. For a school assignment, she began attending the Occupy Wall Street protests and became personally caught up in it, eventually becoming part of the ‘tent city’ that was erected by protesters. Occupy Wall Street was raided and taken down in November 2011.
Although Stevie did not have a known drug problem, her boyfriend, Brandon Klosterman, was a user and Stevie had several friends who were drug users, many of whom she’d gotten to know through Occupy Wall Street.
In early 2012, Stevie accompanied some of the friends she’d made at Occupy Wall Street on a cross-country road trip. She reportedly had just broken up with Brandon at this time. The car they were traveling in broke down, and Stevie had lost her cell phone. She decided to take a bus back home instead of continuing on the trip.
She called her mother from a borrowed cell phone on April 27, 2012. She was at a bus station in Pennsylvania, on her last layover before getting onto a bus to New York City. She told her mother that she was going to stop to pick up her belongings at Brandon’s place, in Brooklyn, once she arrived, then she would be headed to her parents home in Yonkers.
Surveillance footage on April 28, 2012, shows the last known sighting of Stevie. She can be seen at 1:10 coming up the escalator, appearing unsure which direction to go in. Then she is seen walking out of camera range.
Stevie never came home and never contacted her family again.
In the hours and days following Stevie’s disappearance, her mother had a great deal of difficulty getting any law enforcement agency to take a report. Each agency would refer her elsewhere. She eventually filed the report in Yonkers, which is not particularly near where Stevie was last seen. The amount of time it took for someone to finally take the report, and the fact that it was not ultimately taken in the place Stevie was last seen, undoubtedly hurt the chances of finding her quickly. Opportunities to examine other surveillance footage were missed, and public transportation drivers that may have taken her from Manhattan to Brooklyn were not questioned.
Brandon is said to have lived as a squatter in a vacant building in Brooklyn at the time of Stevie’s disappearance. Although there are no details of his living arrangements, Stevie herself posted this on Facebook, and I am assuming she is referring to Brandon’s place.
If I am correct, then there are likely several people who know whether or not Stevie ever made it to Brooklyn that day to pick up her belongings. When questioned, Brandon said he hadn’t seen her since before she’d left on her road trip. He then deleted all his Facebook communications with Stevie, and disappeared himself for a time. He turned up in Ohio when he was arrested on an unrelated charge.
His “roommates” were probably still there in the days and weeks following her disappearance. Were they ever asked if they had seen her? Were the belongings she had gone there to retrieve still there? What about the bag that she appears to be carrying at the bus station? Did it somehow get there? I honestly don’t know if these people were ever questioned, or the place searched. My guess is no, as they were too busy giving Stevie’s mother the runaround to actually go look.
But still, somebody – lots of people – had to have seen Stevie. The other people who got off the same bus she did. Maybe she chatted with some of them during the bus ride. Maybe they walked out of the bus station at the same time she did, and saw her get into a cab. She most likely stopped somewhere in New York to eat something.
Once Stevie was reported missing, and flyers were distributed, one person did remember Stevie – although he’d seen her prior to her disappearance. He not only remembered her, but he had happened to capture her on video, riding on the train. This footage was believed to have been filmed on April 11. It is not known for sure if the man sitting next to her is Brandon.
I hope Stevie will be found soon. She is severely missed by her family and friends. If you remember seeing Stevie after April 27, or recall anything unusual, possibly near the area of E. 26th and Cortelyou in Brooklyn, please contact Yonkers Police or Stevie’s family through their Facebook page. That is the only Brooklyn location listed on the flyer’s “Places to Search” list, so I’m guessing Brandon was living near there.
Another excellent blog about Stevie’s disappearance: