FORT LAUDERDALE ( – A South Florida mystery has been haunting a family for nearly 40 years.

Clutching a 39-year-old picture of his sister, James Lowe will never know what his older sister Deborah grew up to look like. That’s because she’s been missing for nearly four decades.

She was last seen February 29 1972, leap year, when James, Deborah, their mom and little sister left the house to walk to school because they couldn’t afford the bus.

At SW 8th Street and Dixie Highway, Deborah left everyone and began walking a mile to Rickards Middle School. That was the last time anyone would see her.

“She turned around, gave a wave, smiled and up the street she went,” James Lowe recalled.

The only sign anyone would find of Deborah were her school books, dumped in a trash can.

“I know for positive that our sister would never run away from home,” James said, “She just vanished!”

Dinorah Perry from Missing Children’s International Ministry has been working with the Lowes to try to find Deborah. She, like the family, can only assume the worst.

“There could have been a predator floating around!” said Perry. “Back in the 70’s they were there!”

Is it a strange coincidence or vital clue, but Deborah may have known serial killer Gerard Schaeffer.

James said Schaeffer worked with their father and was at their home both before and after Deborah disappeared. But that may be a dead-end because Schaeffer was murdered in prison 16 years ago.

“I think that he abducted her and killed her just like he did other girls,” figures James.

If you have any information that can help investigators, call Broward Crimestoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

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