Left and Right: Brenda circa, 1979
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: March 1, 1979
Missing From: Staten Island, Richmond County, New York
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: October 5, 1963
Age: 15 years old
Height and Weight: 5’5″ and 120 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Blonde hair, Blue/Green eyes, Brenda has a small scar on her nose and she previously fractured one of her arms when she was a child, she might wear eye glasses or contact lenses to help correct strabismus aka cross eye, her teeth are crowded, Brenda’s blood type is believed to be O positive but it might also be A positive or negative, she might use the first name “Colleen” and the last names “Lee” and “Star”
NCMEC Number: 1059755
Details of Disappearance
Brenda was last seen in Staten Island, New York at some point between March 1979-1980. At the time she went missing she lived her mother, Theresa Crowley and her boyfriend, Joe, in the 100 block of Harbor Road in Mariners Harbor. She was never seen or heard from again after that year. She was not reported missing when she initially disappeared.
Brenda had a troubled home life prior to her disappearance. Brenda’s mother had 8 children in total with three fathers. None of these fathers had any active role in their lives. Theresa apparently struggled with alcoholism and was reportedly abusive at the time Brenda went missing. Brenda’s sister stated that each of Brenda’s siblings had previously run away from home but Brenda was the only one who had gone missing. The family frequently moved between various residences in the Staten Island region.
In 1981, Theresa was found strangled to death. Her body was found at an intersection in the Castleton Corners neighborhood of Staten Island. A man who she knew from a local bar confessed to killing her and was charged with the crime. Brenda’s sister attempted to locate her to inform her that Theresa was killed but she couldn’t locate Brenda. It was at this time that the family realized no report had been filed on Brenda’s disappearance.
Her sister attempted to file a missing persons report at the time but the police refused to accept it. A report was finally filed in 1994. Accounts differ as to what occurred with that report since another missing persons report was filed in the summer of 2007. Investigators have been unable to find out exactly how and when Brenda went missing. She was last heard from in 1979.
They believed that Brenda had runaway but in 2008, a family member of Brenda’s cams forward and told police that the girl was murdered by her father and buried in the backyard of his home in East Islip, New York which is located on Long Island. They dug up a portion of the backyard and searched for remains but found only dog bones.
Her father did in fact live in the home with his wife at the time and her children. Neighbors described him as a preacher who was often times drunk and used profanity excessively. The neighbors also recalled that Brenda did in fact live at the house at some point. It’s possible she was there after she ran away from her home in Staten Island.
Brenda’s sister also contacted the Social Security Administration and asked about Brenda’s number. The representative replied with “She isn’t dead” but refused to divulge any further information and nothing else has come of this. Brenda also has an astounding PINS (person in need of supervision) warrant for her in family court. She was a special education student at Curtis High School but was expelled for being absent without leave in February of 1980.
Investigators believe it’s possible that Brenda was placed in foster care or in a group home after her disappearance due to the alleged abuse she was exposed to before she went missing. She was originally born in Brooklyn, New York. Her disappearance remains unsolved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
New York City Police Department 212-694-7781