JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — The Missouri State Highway Patrol arrived Thursday morning with an entourage of at least 3 boats and other supporting units. Sgt John Leukenhoff of the MSHP tell us their dive team is assisting the Joplin Police Department with an investigation.

Joplin Police Department Sgt Andy Blair says it’s the continuing investigation in the missing persons case of Tracy Pickett.

If you recall a year ago in July, JPD detectives and Missouri Department of Natural Resources used sonar equipment searching three ponds in the area southwest of Zora and Lone Elm.

The pond(s) they are searching, most-likely known to locals as ‘Blue Hole’. It is much larger than others that were searched in the recent past. It’s northwest of Zora and Lone Elm.

There are numerous ponds, aka mine shafts, in this immediate area. Today’s search is on private property so we do not have access nearby.


Tracy Pickett went missing on August 12, 1992 at the age of 14. Twenty-seven years later, they have not given up.

Police have had a suspect in the disappearance and possible death of Pickett in the past, but charges have never been filed due to lack of evidence. However, finding her remains could put them on the right track toward an arrest. 

On August 11, 1992, Tracy went over to a friend’s house in Webb City to spend the night. However, witnesses say the gathering turned into a party, and that’s when a stranger in a black van offered Pickett a ride to her Joplin home. Pickett was never seen again and police suspect foul play.