The last time anyone is known to have seen twenty-one-year-old Betty Jack Stevens alive was when she left a Texas cafe to hitchhike her way to Oklahoma City.

1952 saw Betty Stevens flitting through life one couch at a time. At sixteen she dropped out of high school and married, though the marriage was short lived and later annulled. Then at eighteen her mother died, leaving Betty in a freefall and not quite sure what to do with herself. By the end of July and beginning of August, she had found work at a Dallas diner as a waitress. While her brother would later say that she seemed happy and adjusted the last time he saw her, the reality was that she had seen some trouble in the last years of her life. The picture that accompanies this post is a mugshot taken when Betty was brought in as a witness to a murder in 1951, and newspapers from El Paso show that she was very nearly sexually assaulted and killed when a man broke into her hotel room while she was bathing.

On July 29th, 1952, the torso of what authorities described as a 13–16-year-old female was found in a Yukon area dry creek bed. She was naked, with the word RAT carved into her stomach area; her head was missing, as were both of her hands, and one of her feet was partially severed. When her torso was found it was believed that she had been dead twenty-four hours or less and had been dumped into the creek bed, but had not been murdered there. Her wounds were described as being done by an amateur, but an amateur with a sharp knife. The only clues to be found at the scene were a red plastic belt and a blood-soaked bra laying near the torso, as well as tracks in the soil indicating that the body had been dragged to where it was found. Not found, interestingly, were footprints, leading authorities to believe that the killer went over his tracks to cover them.

Initially, authorities touted theories that the killing was that of a gangland murder, or maybe the killer was an “insane person”. Neither of those theories brought the police any closer to finding her identity or killer, however. The only thing the authorities really seemed to agree on is the likelihood that whoever had killed this young woman was likely also responsible for the 1951 dismemberment of Willie Lois Depew whose remains were found near Tuttle. She had been dismembered in the same fashion that this woman found in Yukon had, although Willie had been missing for five months when she was found.

In August, Betty would be identified as being the woman whose torso was found at the end of July. A waitress at the diner Betty had eaten at was the first to identify her, followed by Betty’s sister and brother making the final determination. Betty’s body was found the day after she had eaten at the Texas diner. The hands and head that were missing from Betty’s torso were eventually found roughly ten miles away from the site of her torso. Both Betty and Willie were last seen in the same area of South Agnew in Oklahoma City. No persons of interest or motive for the killings have ever been publicly declared, and both murders remain unsolved.

If you have any information regarding the murders of Betty Stevens or Willie Depew, please contact the OSBI at 800-522-8017.

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