The day before Thanksgiving in 2016, Penny Kendall Meek was enjoying having her sons together at their Canadian, Texas home. Penny tells Dateline she remembers her youngest son, high school senior Thomas Brown, spending time with his older brother, Tucker, who was home from college for the holiday.  

Around 6:00 p.m. that night, Penny says Thomas said he was going to go hang out with friends. He asked for her debit card for gas money before driving away.

“Generally, the kids would meet at one of the schools and they’d park their cars there and get into one car and just ride around,” Penny told Dateline. “That night, they met at the middle school and rode around.”

Penny says she texted Thomas shortly after he left the house, but wasn’t surprised when he didn’t reply because she figured he was driving. Friends who were with Thomas that night would later tell Penny they all arrived back at the middle school parking lot around 11:20 p.m. 

“Then, [Thomas] went to Fronc’s Oil and Gas. There are just gas pumps there — no attendants, no convenience store,” Penny said, adding that surveillance footage would later show him pumping gas into his car. “My card was swiped at about 11:28 p.m.”

Thomas’s curfew was midnight, leaving him plenty of time to make it home. As soon as midnight came and went with no sign of Thomas, Penny grew concerned.

“Thomas never missed curfew. He would even come home well before curfew, and then he and his friends would play video games,” Penny said. A few minutes after midnight, Penny asked Thomas’s brother Tucker to text Thomas to see where he was. According to Penny, the text was delivered to Thomas’s phone, but it was not read. 

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