APD seeks man reported missing 44 years after disappearing, niece says it’s time for closure

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police are asking the public for help in looking for a man who disappeared in 1976, but was not officially reported until this February.

In a press release, police said they’re looking for Brian Thomas Vargo, who was a student at the University of Texas at Austin and 21 years old at the time of his disappearance on March 9, 1976. However, it took 45 years for someone to report that he was missing.

Vargo stopped going to UT and drove to Colorado, but his car broke down in Colorado. He went to Houston to get the vehicle’s title, and then his mother dropped him off at the bus station in Houston. His family was then told he never went back to his apartment in Austin, and Vargo’s wallet was found inside when his family went to that apartment.

Amanda Vargo Wattecamps, Vargo’s niece, held a news conference Thursday morning at Austin police headquarters to bring attention to the case. She said someone discouraged her grandmother from filing a missing persons report back in 1976, but the family wanted to do so now after all these decades.

“I can’t imagine what my grandmother has gone through, and it’s time she got closure,” Wattecamps said.

She said her family only found out this year that Vargo withdrew from UT Austin, where he attended the engineering program, prior to his disappearance.

“The circumstances are very iffy on whether he wanted to disappear or whether there was foul play,” Wattecamps said.

Vargo is described by police as:

  • White man
  • 6 feet tall
  • 150 pounds
  • Brown hair
  • Blue eyes

Below are photos of him in 1976, the year we went missing, and a photo of what he could potentially look like now with age progression enhancements.

On the left is a photo of Brian Vargo in 1976. On the right is a photo of what Vargo could potentially look like today using age progression enhancements. (APD photo)
On the left is a photo of Brian Vargo in 1976. On the right is a photo of what Vargo could potentially look like today using age progression enhancements. (APD photo)

Wattecamps told reporters it may not be likely her family will ever find where her uncle is now or what may have happened to him back then, but it’s still worth trying.

“The scenarios are pretty much he left the country or he’s living off the grid and has lived off the grid for 45 years,” she said. “I can’t imagine being my grandmother, but she’s ready for closure at this point.”

If anyone has information or knows anything about Vargo’s disappearance, contact APD’s missing persons unit at 512-974-4123.

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