Left & Center: Vowell, circa 1979; Right: Age Progressed Composite (circa 2007)
Debra Lee Vowell
Missing since January 24, 1979 from Southern California
Classification: Endangered Missing
Circumstances of Disappearance
Vowell was last seen in Southern California on January 24, 1979. Debra had been married just a short time at the time of her disappearance. On that day, Debra, her husband Dennis Vowell and Gary Newton disappeared off the coast of San Diego on their 41 foot fishing boat,"The Armistice".
An air/sea search by the United States Coast Guard from San Luis Obisbo to Ensenada, Mexico yielded negative results.
Two years later, Debra's grandfather, a Los Angeles Sheriff Sergeant received a collect call late at night. When he asked the operator who it was from he heard Debra shout "it's Debbie I am trying to get to California." The phone then went dead and there has been nothing heard from her since.
A background investigation into the history of The Armistice linked the boat to a large scale marijuana smuggling organization which was connected to several sunken boats and other crew members missing.
On 1979, Debra's parents reported her missing to the Coast Guard only. In 2003, a family member asked an investigator with the Los Angeles Cold Case Unit for help. At the request of this investigator, Orange County Sheriff took a courtesy report, and then the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Cold Case Unit opened an investigation into Debra's disappearance.
Debra is the daughter of retired Hollywood producer David Powers. The boat and all occupants are still missing.
Debra in front of "The Armistice".
Investigators Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Cold Case Unit
Sgt Paul Mondry
Investigator Richard Kennerly
Orange County Sheriffs Department
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Agency Case Number:
03-00067 & 03222469
NCIC Number: Source Information:
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department - Cold Case Unit
California Department of Justice