After driving to Austin to attend the Urban Music Festival, Sidney Taylor and Krislyn Gibson, both 35 years of age, went missing in the early morning hours of April 2, 2016. The couple has not been seen since, and questions surrounding their disappearance have continued to linger.
After an initial search in the weeks following their disappearance, it seemed as if the African American couple had become yesterday’s news and another forgotten afterthought.
That was until recent new details surrounding the disappearance of Taylor and Gibson have shed light on who may have last had direct contact with the couple, and who may know the details of their current whereabouts.
According to the Austin Police Department, who has been investigating this as a Missing Persons case since April 4, 2016, has arrested 50-year-old Harvey “Hootie” Cyphers, who was last seen leaving a club with the missing couple at 2 a.m. on April 2nd, in connection with the case and he may eventually be charged with the couple’s disappearance.
As Cyphers was the last person to have seen Gibson and Taylor, he was asked to come in to speak with Austin PD detectives and during their investigation, they determined that Cyphers, who is a convicted felon, lied to them about his whereabouts on the day Taylor and Gibson went missing and other things related to the Missing Persons case. During their interrogation of Cyphers, he acknowledged having several firearms, and because he is a previously convicted felon, he is not allowed to be in possession of any firearms under federal law.
After further questioning, inconsistencies in Cyphers’ story became apparent and detectives obtained a search warrant for his Austin residence to view his property and recover the firearms he admitted to owning to investigators. Detectives from the Austin PD, the Department of Public Safety Texas Rangers and technicians from the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab spent over 20 hours processing Cyphers’ residence. During that search, blood and other evidence were discovered, leading investigators to believe that an act of violence had occurred at that location and that the crime scene had been cleaned up.
Detectives arrested Cyphers, but continued to dig deeper into the missing couple’s disappearance and whereabouts. During their continued investigation, detectives analyzed cell phone records and found that the cell phones, belonging to Cyphers, Gibson and Taylor respectively, had all been at Cypher’s home in the early morning hours of April 2nd. Investigators also analyzed the cell phone records of all three individuals and discovered that the three cell phones, belonging to Cyphers, Taylor and Gibson respectively, also show that they traveled together at the same time from Austin to Houston. Interestingly, once the three cell phones arrived in Houston, two of them remained in Houston, but Cyphers’ phone is shown to have turned around and traveled back to Austin from Houston that very same morning. According to investigators, Cyphers used his phone to make several phone calls, including a call to Megabus, a commercial bus line, in the vicinity of where Taylor’s 2010 black Dodge Charger was found abandoned in the 2400 block of Milam, in Houston’s Midtown district. This location is within walking distance of the Megabus pickup location. According to Cyphers’ phone records, they show that his phone followed the path that Megabus uses for its regularly scheduled Houston to Austin trips.
Cyphers and Taylor aren’t strangers to one another, in that they have known each other for some time and have been acquaintances for years. According to investigators, Taylor and Gibson arrived in Austin on the evening of April 1, 2016, and arrived at a friend’s house where they had planned to stay for the weekend. Shortly after arriving to drop off their belongings, the couple left the friend’s house in Taylor’s 2010 black Dodge Charger and hooked up with Cyphers.
According to investigators, Cyphers met up with Taylor and Gibson, and they proceeded to go to the Landing Strip Club, a popular gentlemen’s club in Austin. The trio were all seen on video entering the club together and stayed at the club until closing, where the three were also seen on video leaving together at around 2 o’clock in the morning. Because he hadn’t heard from them, the friend who was housing them while they were visiting Austin called Taylor slightly after 3 o’clock in the morning to check on them and make sure they were fine. According to investigators, Taylor told his friend that he and Gibson were with Cyphers and that was the last communication his friend had with Taylor and it was the last contact anyone had with the couple. Taylor and Gibson never arrived back at the friend’s house, and after not hearing from Taylor anymore that evening, his friend began texting him well past the early morning hours of April 2nd without ever getting a response. After becoming extremely concerned about the couple’s whereabouts and safety, the friend began to reach out to his circle of friends, none of whom had heard from Gibson or Taylor. Then on Sunday, April 3rd, the friend decided to call the Austin PD to report the couple missing, and try to get answers after they became non-responsive and never showed back up to his house to claim their belongings.
Tim Miller with Texas EquuSearch began searching for the couple at Bear Creek Park in west Houston in Harris County, because a GPS locator pinged Taylor’s cell phone and its last location near the park. EquuSearch called off the search on April 7th after having no success in locating the missing couple.
Cyphers has not offered up any information concerning the missing couple’s whereabouts and he is currently in federal custody on firearms charges and is awaiting trial.
Family and friends have not seen or heard from the pair since April 1st but are refusing to give up hope that new information will come forth concerning their whereabouts.
Both Taylor and Gibson were known by many of their close associates to be platonic friends. Gibson is a single mother of an 8-year old young son. Taylor is a married father of four, who played quarterback on his high school football team at Aldine, and also played and graduated from Prairie View A&M University. Both of them held steady jobs in the Houston area.
Family members are offering a $5,000 reward and Gibson’s employer put up a $5,000 reward for information on her whereabouts. Detectives are asking anyone who may have either seen Cyphers in Houston on April 2nd; ridden the Megabus from Houston to Austin with Cyphers on that day; or may have seen Taylor’s Dodge Charger, to either call the Austin PD Homicide Cold Case/Missing Persons Unit at 512-974-5250, call the Houston Police Department at (713) 308-3600, or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS (8477) or text “Tip 103” + your message to CRIMES.
The Forward Times will continue to follow this case and seek answers for these two families, in order to find the whereabouts and to know what happened to Sidney Taylor and Krislyn Gibson.