The Doe Network:
Case File 1842DFTX

1

Lora Ann Gabbert
Missing since December 1, 1997 from Pecos, Reeves County, Texas
Classification: Endangered Missing


Vital Statistics


Circumstances of Disappearance
Ms. Gabbert was living with her boyfriend Chris Bigham and her three young children at the time of her disappearance. Shortly after her disappearance, Chris Bigham moved to Washington state with Lora's three children. Chris returned the two youngest children to their father's and kept the oldest child, Anna, age 13, with him.

Christopher John Bigham was indicted in August 1998 for the murder of Lora Gabbert. He was convicted and received a 75 year sentence. Mr. Bigham had given three different stories to officers investigating Gabberts' disappearance. First, he told police that she traveled by bus to Dallas but Greyhound denied selling her a ticket. Then he said she committed suicide.

Finally, in a tape recorded statement Mr. Bigham's story to investigators was that he shot and killed Ms. Gabbert in self defense after she put a rifle against his back. He then burned her body in a 55 gallon drum that he had modified with a stove pipe and a propane tank to act as an incinerator. After the device cooled, he pulverized any remaining bone with a sledgehammer and sealed the remains in a glue bucket.

Mr. Bigham claimed he intended to take her remains to Washington State, but when family began looking for her, he threw the bucket with her remains into a dumpster behind a store and dumped the 55 gallon drum into the Pecos river.

Divers searched the river where Mr. Bigham described he had left the drum and recovered the drum and stove pipe. Analysis revealed it contained human remains, specifically a metatarsal bone fragment. DNA analysis of the bone fragments was not possible due to the burned condition.

At trial Mr. Bigham claimed Ms. Gabbert committed suicide and he burned her body in the drum which he then dumped in the Pecos river. The jury rejected his defense and found him guilty of murder. Since then Mr. Bigham has tried to dispute who the remains belonged to and requested DNA testing of the bones in an effort overturn his sentence. However, his motion for DNA testing has been rejected due to his testifying during trial that the bones left in the drum were "very probable" to be Ms. Gabbert's.


Investigators
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

Texas Department of Public Safety
1-800-346-3243

Agency Case Number: M9803002

NCIC Number: M-207855755
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.

Source Information:
Texas Department of Public Safety
Bigham's Trial
Pecos News 1/21/98
Pecos News 8/24/98


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