In the realm of unsolved mysteries, the disappearance of Tara Calico has been a case that has puzzled investigators for nearly 35 years. Tara, a 19-year-old college student, vanished without a trace during her daily bike ride in Rio Communities, New Mexico, on September 20, 1988. Despite the tireless efforts of numerous investigators, the case has remained cold. However, a recent development has brought a renewed sense of hope to this decades-old mystery.

Tara Calico disappeared in 1988

Tara Calico’s story begins on a seemingly ordinary day in September 1988. She embarked on her daily two-hour bicycle ride along a stretch of N.M. 47, south of Rio Communities.

  • Tara Leigh Calico disappeared on September 20, 1988, near her home in Belen, New Mexico, while on a bike ride.
  • She was 19 years old at the time of her disappearance.
  • Her case received extensive coverage on television programs such as A Current Affair, Unsolved Mysteries, and America’s Most Wanted.
  • A Polaroid photo of an unidentified young woman and boy, gagged and seemingly bound, was found in a convenience store parking lot in Port St. Joe, Florida, a year after her disappearance. The woman in the photo was believed to be Tara Calico, but the FBI analysis of the photo was inconclusive.
  • In 2008, Sheriff Rene Rivera reported that he received information suggesting that two teenagers accidentally hit Calico with a truck, panicked, and subsequently killed her. The boys knew Calico and drove up behind her in a truck, resulting in some form of an accident.
  • Tara Calico has a large scar on the back of her right shoulder and a dime-sized brown-colored birthmark on the back of one of her legs.
  • Lt. Joseph Rowland of the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office was assigned to the case in 2016. He has been in regular contact with Calico’s sister, Michelle, as both of Calico’s parents are deceased. Rowland stated that outside help on the case has brought mixed results and any information is better than none.
  • In 1998, a judge ruled that Tara Calico was deceased and that her death was a homicide. Tara’s mother, Patty Doel, died on May 11, 2006, in Florida.

Over the years, the investigation into Tara’s disappearance has seen numerous twists and turns. A multi-agency task force, including Bernalillo County deputies, Albuquerque police investigators, and the FBI, joined the inquiry for a time. The FBI even offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to a resolution in the case. Despite these efforts, the case remained cold, with no significant leads or breakthroughs.

Breakthrough in Tara Calico Case

According to a recent report from the Albuquerque Journal, the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office has announced a significant development. They believe there is sufficient evidence to submit the case to the District Attorney’s Office to review potential charges. This major breakthrough comes after years of relentless investigation by multiple agencies, including the FBI, Albuquerque police investigators, and Bernalillo County deputies.

The specifics of this newfound evidence, however, remain undisclosed. Sheriff Denise Vigil stated, “To preserve the integrity of the investigation, we cannot reveal all we have learned.” The identities and specifics of the persons of interest are sealed by the court and will remain so until a court orders otherwise. This level of secrecy is not uncommon in ongoing investigations, especially those that are as high-profile and sensitive as the Tara Calico case. It ensures that the investigation is not compromised and that any potential suspects do not have the opportunity to interfere with the process.

The Next Steps

The case has now been handed over to the District Attorney’s Office, where it will undergo review for the sufficiency of the evidence and potential charges. The decision to move forward with charges will ultimately be up to District Attorney Barbara Romo. This process involves a thorough review of all the evidence collected over the years, as well as the new evidence that has led to this breakthrough.

The District Attorney’s Office will evaluate the strength of the evidence, the feasibility of securing a conviction, and the public interest in pursuing charges. If the evidence is deemed sufficient, charges will be filed, and the case will proceed to court. If not, the case may be returned to law enforcement for further investigation.

As we await further developments, we are reminded of the enduring power of hope and the relentless pursuit of truth. Numerous theories have marked the Tara Calico case and led over the years. Despite the lack of closure, the relentless pursuit of justice for Tara continues. This recent breakthrough offers a glimmer of hope that the truth about what happened to Tara Calico may finally be revealed.

As we continue to follow this case closely, we hope that this new development will finally bring closure to a mystery that has haunted our community for far too long. The story of Tara Calico serves as a stark reminder of the countless missing person cases that remain unsolved and the families who continue to seek answers. This update is a testament to the unwavering determination of investigators and the enduring hope for justice.

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