Kylan Stubler still missing, fails to appear in court

Friday, July 1, 2011 | 7:04 p.m. CDT; updated 4:35 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 19, 2011

COLUMBIA — More than two months and an 18th birthday have passed since Kylan Stubler was last seen by family and friends, but Columbia police said they have no new information on his whereabouts.

Stubler, who faces a felony drug possession charge, again failed to appear in court for a bond revocation hearing Friday. Boone County Associate Circuit Judge Larry Bryson rescheduled the hearing for July 29.

Stubler left his father's house the afternoon of April 21, and apart from a friend's account of a trip with Stubler to the Dollar General store at 3020 Paris Road later that day, his family has neither seen nor heard from him, close friend and family spokeswoman Wendy Swetz said. 

Stubler was seen on a surveillance tape from the Break Time convenience store at 900 Conley Road, according to a previous Missourian report, but Swetz said the footage was captured before Stubler disappeared.

Swetz said the Columbia Police Department communicated with the family multiple times a day early in its investigation, but it's been three weeks since they've heard anything.

Police regularly check CrimeStoppers tips and try to keep in touch with the family, department spokeswoman Latisha Stroer said, but so far the investigation has turned up nothing. Police consider Stubler a missing adult, and their main goal is to make sure he returns safely, though there is a warrant for his arrest. 

Stroer said police have no evidence to prove or disprove foul play.

Swetz said the situation is frustrating.

"We are praying and waiting that someone who knows something will come forward," she said.

Stubler's parents, Dan Stubler and Kersten Roberts, have been coping as well as expected, Swetz said. They are scared and angry, and they miss their son. 

"The unknown is the hardest thing," she said. "Your mind wanders. You think it's been over two months, this can't be a happy ending, but you don't want to put out that energy."

Swetz said Kylan Stubler mentioned looking forward to the future the last time she talked with him.

"There was no reason for him to run," she said. "He was ready to start over again."

On Feb. 19, Stubler was stopped near Cook Avenue for allegedly failing to have a license plate lamp, Stroer said. When stopped, Stubler lacked a valid driver's license, she said. He was taken into custody and later searched. Police said they found a cocaine-based substance. 

Stubler is charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and could face up to seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted, Boone County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Morrell said.

Swetz said she does not believe Stubler ran from his drug charge. The family, she said, was confident the charge would be amended and that Stubler would face only probation. 

Stubler failed to appear for his first court date May 18, and Bryson issued a capias warrant for his arrest. He again missed court Friday, prompting an extension of the bond revocation hearing, which will give his bonding agent more time to find him, Morrell said.

Stubler's case can't move forward until he shows up in court, Morrell said. 

The family is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to Stubler's safe return home or information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for his disappearance. Anonymous tips can be given to CrimeStoppers at (573) 875-TIPS.

Missourian reporter Laura Heck contributed to this report.

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