Missouri mom, Kay Blaser, remembers Aug. 11, 1992, like it was yesterday. She and her daughters were grocery shopping when they happened to run into a friend of her youngest daughter, Tracy. The girls hadn’t seen each other in some time, so when the friend asked Tracy to spend the night, Kay agreed.
That same day, Tracy went to the friend’s place in Webb City, Missouri around midafternoon. She told her mother goodbye and that she loved her. At the time, Kay had no idea that Aug. 11, 1992, would become a day that she would continually relive for the rest of her life.
That’s because the next morning, Aug. 12, Kay would report her daughter missing, and Aug. 11 would become the last time the caring mother ever saw Tracy.
14-year-old Tracy Pickett was a mama’s girl, a sassy blonde who had a certain curiosity about life and the world around her. Like most teens, Tracy loved to listen to music.
"She loved Madonna," Kay said. "She used to tell me that one day she was going to go out to California to meet Madonna."
Kay described Tracy as inquisitive, saying that she was always full of questions and loved to know how different things worked. Living with two older sisters, Kay remembers that Tracy often followed them around, scared that she was going to be left out.
"She was so little," Kay said. "She was just a tiny girl, always afraid that she was going to be left behind."
Although Tracy loved and looked up to her sisters, like most siblings, they had their moments.
"Sometimes they would run her out of their room," Kay said. "I can still hear her little voice saying, ‘Mom! They’re being mean to me!’"
Little things aside, Kay remembers how much her two older daughters loved their little sister, how they were always looking after her and keeping an eye on her. She could never have imagined that the four of them would only get to spend 14 short years together.
"She was my baby," Kay said. "I just wish I had more time with her."
Looking back on the morning of Aug. 12, 1992, is understandably hard for Kay and her family. After Tracy left her house on the night of Aug. 11, there was a party at the house of the friend she was staying with. While Kay believed that the girl lived with her parents, she later found out that she lived alone. The complete events that conspired on the night of Aug. 11 and the early morning hours of Aug. 12 are unknown.
Kay said that what she does know is that at about 10 a.m. on Aug. 12, she got what sounded to her like a recorded message of a female voice over her answering machine that said, "Tracy’s on her way home to change her clothes."
Kay didn’t recognize the voice and Tracy never made it home.
Police believe that Tracy was last seen on the morning of Aug. 12 and that she disappeared involuntarily. Foul play is suspected, and while police have conducted searches over the years, Tracy has never been found.
Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, marks the 30th year since Tracy disappeared. The Joplin Police Department says that they have followed up on numerous leads and tips throughout the years and are still looking for new information.
"As another anniversary of the disappearance approaches, we strongly encourage anyone in the community who has any information to come forward," a department press release stated.
Thirty years later, Kay finds it difficult to ponder the ‘what if’ when she thinks of her little girl. When NCMEC asked her what she thought Tracy would be like today, she said that she believed she would be happy, that she would have fallen in love and had children.
"She was just starting her life," Kay said. "She never got to do the things that other girls get to do. It just never gets easier. "
While each birthday, holiday and missing date are hard for Kay and her family, she doesn’t give up.
"If I could give advice to another parent of a missing child, I would say, 'Don’t give up,’" Kay said. "You just have to get up every morning and keep going."
And for Tracy, that's exactly what Kay does.
If you or anyone you know has any information on Tracy Pickett, please contact Captain Nick Jimenez, with the Joplin Police Department at 417-623-3131, extension 1676. You can also contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST
View Tracy’s Missing Poster here: https://www.missingkids.org/poster/ncmc/772369/1