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She took the player, got on the bike and did not return: what happened to the American Tara Calico



For more than a quarter of a century, members of the Calico family have been wondering what happened to their relative, who once left home and never returned. Investigators are also haunted by the fact that no suspects have been detained in this case. He talks about the mystical disappearance of a young American woman

Photo: Shutterstock

Until her death in 2006, Patti Doel, mother of the missing Tara Calico, hoped her daughter was alive. With age, the inconsolable woman lost her mind from grief - in every girl passing by on a bicycle, she saw her baby.

Alas, 30 years have passed since the tragedy, but Tara never returned home. Calico's case is still open. Over the years, the police managed to find only one piece of evidence, and even that caused many questions. What happened to the student and is there a chance that she survived her mother?

One September morning

19-year-old Tara Caliko was not an organized and punctual person for her age. A second-year student in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Mexico always scheduled her day by the hour. On September 20, 1988, the girl planned, as usual, to ride a bike in the morning, and then play tennis with her boyfriend Mark McCracken.

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At 9:30 am, Tara told Patty Doel's mother that she would travel 56 km on her favorite route around Rio Communities' hometown and be back by noon. Calico often skated with Doel, but this time her mother refused to accompany her daughter. Patty advised her to take a pepper spray with her (in the spring of the same year, Tara several times found threatening notes that were tied to her bike by unknown persons), but she only dismissed her mother's words and instead of means of self-defense seized a player with a Boston group cassette.

When Calico did not show up at 12:05, Doel sensed that something was wrong and went in search of her careless cyclist. The woman drove along the route of her daughter and, not finding her, turned to the police.

It turned out that the student was last seen at 11:45 on the route 47. Witnesses reported that a white pickup truck was driving behind Tara for some time. However, no one saw the accident or the abduction. And it was not possible to say for sure whether this car was somehow connected with the disappearance of Calico.

A day later, the same cassette was found two kilometers from Tara's house. Not far from this place, on the highway, there were bicycle tire tracks.

Photo: Shutterstock

The police later discovered parts of the Calico player, which were scattered 30 kilometers east of the city. Patty was sure that Tara was thus trying to show the direction in which the kidnappers dragged her away.

Neither the student's other things, nor her herself were found. The investigation did not rule out the possibility that the girl simply ran away from home.

Some media reported that on June 15, 1989, a woman from Port St. Joe, Florida, saw a girl who looked like Tara in the company of two men. The witness thought that Calico was following their orders. Who these people really were is still a mystery.

Curiously, on June 15 of the same year, the only significant piece of evidence was found in the parking lot of Port St. Joe - a photograph. It is known that on that day a white van was parked next to the find, in which a mustachioed man of about 30 was sitting. Nobody could say whether the picture fell out of the car. And the search for the car and its driver led nowhere.

Fear and hope

The picture, taken with a Polaroid camera, showed a girl and a boy. The teenagers lay on the blankets and pillows in the van with their mouths and hands tucked behind their backs sealed with duct tape. Patty identified her daughter by the scar on her leg that Tara had received in a car accident a few years earlier. Tara's sister Michelle was also convinced that the captive in the photo was her relative.

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But the law enforcement agencies did not share their confidence. The FBI concluded that the picture was not Calico, but another girl. At the same time, employees of the British Scotland Yard, on the contrary, considered it to be Tara. Experts from the Los Alamos National Laboratory were not at all able to give an unambiguous answer.

The thing is that in 1989, Calico should have turned 20 years old, and the girl in the picture looked at least four years younger.

Doel continued to insist on her own. After all, next to the captive lay Calico's favorite book - "My tender Audrina" by Virginia Andrews. Curiously, there was a telephone on the cover of the piece. Due to the fact that some of the numbers could not be made out, there were 300 possible numbers, of which only 57 actually worked, but their verification did not give anything.

Investigators who studied the picture wondered if it was a staged shot. The police were embarrassed that the girl's hands were clearly not tied - her shoulders looked rather relaxed. In addition, the skin around the guys' mouths did not turn red, which meant only one thing - they were glued with tape just for the sake of a photo.

However, this question also remained unanswered. However, some law enforcement officials believed that the fear in the eyes of the teenagers was real.

Who the boy was in the picture is also still unclear. On April 21, 1988, 9-year-old Michael Henley disappeared near the town where Tara lived. The child hunted with his father in the Zuni mountains, but at some point he fell behind him and fell through the ground. Henley's parents decided that their son was captured by unknown kidnappers. The police again doubted - the photo showed a teenager about 12 years old.

However, in 1990, the remains of Michael were found in the mountains: an examination showed that no one had killed him, the boy's death was not violent.

The battle of the psychic and the sheriff

There is a version that two similar pictures were found years later in the Californian commune of Montecito. One depicts an already dead girl with a sealed mouth. On the other, a victim with closed eyes was sitting next to a certain man. Investigators provided Patty with identification footage. Doel could not tell for sure if her daughter was in these pictures.

In 2003, Mark McCracken was convicted of the murder of his wife. Law enforcement officials suggested that the man could have killed Tara, whom he met before her disappearance. However, the investigators did not find any evidence of this theory.

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In 2008, Valencia County Sheriff in New Mexico, Rena Rivera, stated that he knew from the beginning what happened to Tara Calico. The policeman is sure that the student was chased by two teenagers in a white pickup truck. At some point, the young men accidentally hit the girl. In panic, the young people killed her and buried her. Rivera said that he could not name the criminals, because without the body it would be empty accusations.

In 2009, a woman who calls herself clairvoyant told investigators that she knew Tara - they worked together in a strip club. The psychic reported that she allegedly had a vision according to which Calico was killed and buried somewhere in California. The police, of course, checked the witch's words, but they were useless for the investigation.

In the same 2009, David Barnes, Sheriff of Port St. Joe, received two letters sent from the city of Albuquerque. The envelopes contained pictures of a boy whose mouth had been painted over with a black marker: the photo resembled that very frame of 1989. Image analysis again yielded no results.

The case of the disappearance of Tara Kaliko is still open, but now the law enforcement agencies no longer consider the pictures as evidence.

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