The Tampa Tribune
July 26, 1992
MISSING INVESTIGATION ESCAMBIA FLA
Disappearance strikes family a second time
Author: BILL KACZOR; Associated Press Writer
When a family practitioner flew off in his single-engine plane seven months ago, never to be seen again, he left his family with a second unsolved disappearance.
Thomas Stewart disappeared on Jan. 8. His first wife Jimmie Breckenridge, the mother of three of his eight children, vanished during the mid-1960s.
""The oldest daughter said, "Well, I have two parents and I don't know if either one of them is alive,' '' recalled his present wife, Barbara Stewart, 63.
After her divorce, Breckenridge came every summer to this Panhandle town on the Alabama-Florida border from Paducah, Ky., to visit her three daughters.
""One summer she just didn't come and they never heard from her again,'' Barbara Stewart said.
The girls, now grown, and their mother's oldest sister have been unable to find the missing woman through the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other agencies, said the youngest of the sisters, Claudia Avery, 41.
Records that could have helped in the search are missing or destroyed, she said.
Avery, now living in a Georgia town she didn't want identified, said her mother's feelings may have been hurt because the girls rejected her plans to have them spend summers with her.
Avery wrote about her mother's disappearance in a letter to her father shortly before he vanished, telling him there must have been a reason she was unable to let the family know what happened to her.
Her father, a general practitioner in this small town for 40 years, disappeared Jan. 8.
Stewart, 67, apparently drove his old truck to the airport in nearby Atmore, Ala., early in the morning before anyone else had gotten there, climbed into his Cessna and took off.
No one saw him or knew where he was going.
The Air Force, Civil Air Patrol and one of Stewart's sons searched from the air but found no wreckage. No signals were picked up from an emergency beacon that was supposed to activate if the plane crashed.
Thomas Stewart <FILED: MISSING PERSONS>