On the morning of 23 April 1996, Stacey Stites failed to arrive for her 3:30 AM shift in the produce section at the H-E-B grocery store in Bastrop. Stites' absence was reported by a coworker to her mother; she called the police, who initiated a search and had discovered her fiancé's pickup truck (which Stites drove to work) at Bastrop High School at 5:30 AM. At 3:11 PM, police received a call reporting the discovery of a woman's body in the bushes next to a dirt road behind the school. She was officially pronounced dead at 5:58 PM. The victim's identity was not initially announced by the police, but was confirmed by H-E-B to be their missing employee Stacey Stites. According to officials, Stites had been raped and possibly beaten in her pickup truck and then strangled to death with her own belt some time between 3:00 and 5:00 AM. Stites was also sodomized, which appeared to have been done during or after her strangulation. When discovered, Stites was wearing a black bra and jeans, and her shirt was found wadded up nearby. Her body had been partially burned. Part of the belt that had been used to kill her was found near her body, and the other was found near the truck.