Hub City 10-8

S1E2 Stephanie Meeks Henderson, Levelland, Texas

March 26, 2021 Kenda Martinez and Ashley Medrano Season 1 Episode 2
Hub City 10-8
S1E2 Stephanie Meeks Henderson, Levelland, Texas
Chapters
Hub City 10-8
S1E2 Stephanie Meeks Henderson, Levelland, Texas
Mar 26, 2021 Season 1 Episode 2
Kenda Martinez and Ashley Medrano

Stephanie Shae Meeks Henderson was last seen on the day of November 28th, 1993 in Levelland, Texas.  Her husband, Ricky Don Henderson was charged with her murder in March, 2021.  Ricky Don Henderson is also a person of interest in the murder of another woman.  

Cover Art by Ashley Medrano.
Content by Kenda Martinez.

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Show Notes Transcript

Stephanie Shae Meeks Henderson was last seen on the day of November 28th, 1993 in Levelland, Texas.  Her husband, Ricky Don Henderson was charged with her murder in March, 2021.  Ricky Don Henderson is also a person of interest in the murder of another woman.  

Cover Art by Ashley Medrano.
Content by Kenda Martinez.

https://www.facebook.com/hubcity108
https://www.twitter.com/hubcitycrimepod
https://www.instagram.com/hubcitycrimepod


Fixate Designs
At Fixate Designs, we are committed to building the ultimate silicone rings and wedding bands.

Bright Cellars Wine Club
Bright Cellars is the monthly wine club that matches you with wine that you’ll love!

Want to support the podcast!?
We love coffee, so go here and contribute to the coffee fund!

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/hubcity10_8)

Kenda:

Welcome to Hub City 10-8, the Texas true-crime podcast that features cases from the Lubbock, Texas, and South Plains area! 

I’m your host, Kenda Martinez.

Let’s get the legal stuff out of the way:

This podcast contains adult situations that may trigger some listeners that may include homicide, sexual assault, prostitution, drug use, abuse against children and the elderly, graphic descriptions of crime scenes, and the harming of animals.

This podcast may contain adult language.

Views and opinions in this podcast are expressly that of the podcast creators and are not meant to represent the views and opinions of any individual or law enforcement agency unless otherwise stated.

Names of witnesses and minor players to the story may have been changed to protect their identities and privacy.

Thank you so much for joining us!

The episode that we had planned for this week has been delayed due to scheduling with the investigator, but we will bring you that episode in the very near future.  It’s safe to say that business is booming at our local law enforcement agencies, and it’s been hit and miss trying to get all of us on the same page for interviews.  

Also, due to scheduling, today’s episode will not be featuring an investigator interview, but the content has been pulled from current area media headlines.

Today’s featured case is a little bit of a complicated one and has some additional twists and turns that we will be exploring in a future episode. I will also say that this particular case is on-going and an open case at the moment and we will have at least two additional parts as more information becomes available.

So, let’s get to the case:

Stephanie Shae Meeks was born on August 13,1972 which would make her 48 years old at the present time.  I could find very little background information about Stephanie, but I was able to see that she went to high school in the San Angelo, Texas, area, and lived with her grandmother in the community of Grape Creek outside of San Angelo. 

Stephanie disappeared from Levelland, Texas on November 28th, 1993.  She was 21 years old.

At the time of her disappearance, Stephanie was married to a man by the name of Ricky Don Henderson, and they lived in the Levelland area.  Levelland is approximately 40 miles give or take West of Lubbock in the South Plains region here in Texas and it is in Hockley County.  

As of the date of this episode, I have not been able to find really any background information on where Stephanie had lived or what was going on in her life in between the time that she was living in Grape Creek, and her moving to Levelland. When and if I am able to get that information, I will update this episode.

Stephanie was last seen on the day of November 28th, 1993, which was Thanksgiving that year.  She allegedly had an argument with her husband, Ricky Don Henderson.  Stephanie called her grandmother to say that she wanted to leave and asked her to please come and get her.  Stephanie said that she wanted to go back to her grandmother’s home in San Angelo.  Her grandmother traveled to Stephanie’s home in Levelland, but by the time she arrived, Stephanie was not there.

Ricky Don Henderson claimed that Stephanie was picked up by some female friends that were from Hobbs, New Mexico, which, by West Texas standards, is just a short distance away.

All of Stephanie’s personal possessions were left behind in the home including her purse, and her only pair of shoes.  

Now, what lady is going to leave behind her purse?  And her leaving behind her only pair of shoes is interesting as well.  You aren’t going to leave the house with no shoes on, especially in November.  For those that don’t know, this area of Texas is very unforgiving.  It’s rough terrain, and not some place that you would go out into with no shoes on at any time of the year.

Stephanie’s disappearance was not reported for several weeks because her family was under the impression that she was staying with these friends in Hobbs.

One day, Stephanie’s grandmother received a letter that was supposed to be from Stephanie that stated that she was now living in Hobbs, and that she was OK. Martha Meeks, Stephanie’s grandmother, is quoted as saying, “It wasn’t over 3 paragraphs long.  It was typed.  Even the signature,” She also noticed that it was postmarked in Lubbock rather than in New Mexico.  

At that point, Stephanie’s grandmother contacted local law enforcement, and filed a report.  Investigators contacted the friends that Ricky Don said had picked Stephanie up, but they stated that they had not seen her.

In 1994, a law enforcement agent that worked for a state police agency here in Texas that I will not be naming because I have a child with someone who works for said agency, and also because I’m not trying to get sued or questioned, stated that he believed that Stephanie was alive and well, and that she was running from a probation violation.  

This agent cited an application issued to revoke Stephanie’s probation on an armed robbery conviction as his reason for thinking this.

This agent stated in an interview in 1994, “We know she’s a fugitive.  There is nothing out there that would point to her being a missing person.”

Now - I am not going to give my opinion on such a statement, but I am sure that many of you share my same opinion.  

In 2004, DNA was extracted from evidence found on the envelope that contained the typed letter that Stephanie’s grandmother had received.  I have read that it was a strand of hair, but also, I have read that it was from saliva on the envelope flap.  If I’m able to clarify which it was, I will giving an update in a future episode.  Whichever it was, the DNA was determined to be male, and was not to be Stephanie’s.

Now, DNA advances have been made by leaps and bounds since 2004, however regardless of the technology, a DNA match can only be made if there is a DNA profile to match it to.  As we learned in Episode 1, the Minnie Elkins case, Detective Johnson had stated that in Texas, DNA collection in criminal cases is pursuant to a search warrant.  At this time, in the State of Texas, the only time that a person in custody has their DNA obtained is in the federal court system.  On the state and local level, law enforcement must have a search warrant and probable cause to obtain a person’s DNA in a criminal case or investigation. Therefore, in 2004, a DNA profile was obtained from the evidence in the envelope Stephanie’s grandmother received, but obviously there was nothing on file in any database to compare it to.  The one glaring thing that the DNA profile extracted was able to tell law enforcement was that the DNA was not Stephanie’s. Does that mean it was a dead-end lead?  Maybe, maybe not.  We are all still waiting to see if it turns into something good down the road on this case.

On the subject of obtaining DNA from someone in custody here in Texas, I ran Ricky Don Henderson’s criminal record, and it was page after page of crimes that he was arrested for and convicted of.  

If Texas would get on board with several other states and obtain DNA pursuant to arrest and booking process, then there would have been multiple opportunities to collect his DNA and compare it to the DNA from the envelope, and perhaps this case wouldn’t have dragged out as long as it has.  And maybe this guy would have already been off the streets, and other lives would have been spared.  But I’m not here to harp on state law or politics.  At least not today. If legislators would get on board, and make this a thing, you would be doing our investigators a huge favor with helping to solve crimes.

Unfortunately, as a lot of older cases do, the disappearance of Stephanie Meeks Henderson grew into a cold case.  A lot of times, the public wonders how this happens.  Well, it happens for many reasons.  If there just isn’t much evidence to go on, then there just isn’t much evidence to go on.  The police take it as far as they can until there just isn’t anywhere else to go with it.  

When that happens, the case gets shelved until new investigators come in and look at it, advances are made in DNA and evidence processing, time softens anxiety and fear that witnesses may have had and they decide to come forward, or new evidence is discovered.

In Stephanie’s case, that new evidence was another victim.  

On April 17, 2018 - 25 years after Stephanie Meeks Henderson supposedly vanished into thin air, the body of 20-year-old Jeannie Kaitlyn-Noel Quinn was found by a passerby in a remote area of Abilene, Texas.  Jeannie was found hanging with a wire twisted around her neck, and white plastic bags tied over her hands.  Autopsy confirmed that Jeannie died of asphyxiation, and the hanging was confirmed to have been staged.  She had disappeared from Levelland two days previously.  Ricky Don Henderson was presumed to have been involved with Jeannie Quinn at the time of her disappearance.  

When Jeannie Quinn’s body was discovered, Ricky Don Henderson was named as a person of interest in her murder. When this happened, the Hockley County Sheriffs Office decided to reopen the case on Stephanie’s disappearance.  

In December 2018, Ricky Don Henderson was indicted for two counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance, and for two parole violations relating to previous convictions in Hockley County.  

In October 2019, he was also indicted for two counts of Delivery of a Controlled Substance to a Minor.  

In November 2019, Henderson agreed to a plea agreement for 25 years for all of the mentioned charges. The 25 years was the mandatory minimum under Texas law for a habitual offender and with a life term being the maximum.  

In April of 2020, the remains of a body were found in a vacant structure on a property in Hockley County.  According to information found, the remains were so badly decomposed that investigators could not tell if the body was male or female.  

Due to COVID19 ramping up at that time, the Hockley County Sheriffs Office was unable to send the body to be identified.  According to media reports, the Sheriffs Office is stated as saying that they are looking into the body being that of Stephanie Henderson, Maegan Hembree - another missing person from the area, and also if it could belong to someone missing out of New Mexico since the state line is in close proximity.  

As of the recording of this episode, COVID restrictions have recently been lifted here in Texas, so hopefully the Sheriffs Office will have answers soon as to the identity of the remains.

Earlier this month, March 2021, the Hockley County Grand Jury indicted Ricky Don Henderson for the murder of Stephanie Meeks Henderson.  Henderson, who is serving the time for his drug charges in the Byrd Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville, appeared at his hearing online via Zoom.  Henderson plead not guilty.  

Prison records for Ricky Don Henderson show that he is set to be eligible for parole on his drug charges in June of 2022.  Come on, Texas.  You give a guy a 25-year sentence under habitual offender, but then you make him eligible for parole 3 years later?  Prison overcrowding or not, I just don’t understand that logic.  That’s just ridiculous.  

Now, eligible for parole doesn’t mean that he will be GRANTED parole, and his chances are very slim of it happening based on his background. But still.  We seriously need some prison sentencing reform in this state with implementing mandatory minimums.

That’s going to wrap up this week’s episode.  I know it isn’t as exciting as the last one, and it’s a rushed production as well as being short, but there is going to be much more to come on this case, I’m sure.

It’s going to be very interesting to see what transpires next with this.  We are praying for justice to be served for both Stephanie and Jeannie.

If you have ANY information on the disappearance of Stephanie Shae Meeks Henderson, please contact the Hockley County Sheriffs Office at 806-894-3126.

If you have any information on the death of Jeannie Quinn, please contact the Abilene PD Tipline at 325-676-6598.

If you see something, say something.  If you’ve SEEN something, say something.

Information for this episode was obtained from KCBD News Channel 11, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, KFYO News Talk, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and the Charley Project.

Thank you to all who contributed.

Be sure and check out our sponsor links in the show notes, and if you want to support the podcast, we have ways to do that on our website at Hub City Crime Pod .com.  

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