"She'd been working, paying off her dress and doing a little bit each week to make sure this wedding came off OK,” said Carol Stites, Stacey Stites' mother.
Stacey Stites was living with Fennell in the unit above her mother’s apartment. Stacey Stites and Fennell shared a truck and would occasionally borrow Carol Stites' car, but it wasn’t very reliable for a longer commute from Giddings to Bastrop in the middle of the night.
Carol Stites said the night before her daughter disappeared, they had discussed the plans for the next day. Stacey Stites had to work, but Fennell did not, so initially, they planned on Fennell driving Stacey Stites to work at 3 a.m. in his truck. But Fennell later told police they had decided in their own apartment, that night, that Stacey Stites would drive the truck to work by herself since Fennell didn’t have to work the next day. He said she went to bed, and he stayed up watching TV before falling asleep.
On the morning of April 23, 1996, Stacey Stites' H-E-B coworker became alarmed when she didn’t show up for her 3:30 a.m. shift. He waited a few hours, and when Stacey Stites still didn’t show up for work, he called Carol Stites to tell her Stacey Stites was missing.
Immediately, Carol Stites yelled up to Fennell through the thin apartment walls to let him know. He came running down the stairs to her apartment, and they called the Giddings Police Department.
That same morning, an officer noticed a truck parked at Bastrop High School. He called it in and discovered it was registered to Fennell. He made a note of the truck but left since there wasn’t anything obviously wrong. He did notice a piece of her braided leather belt sitting nearby.
It wasn’t until mid-afternoon that a person called 911 saying they had found a woman’s body in a wooded area off a rural Bastrop road called Bluebonnet Lane. It was Stacey Stites.