Saturday, July 19, 2008

Missing in America - Five Unsolved Cases


In this country, tens of thousands of people go missing every year. One case, the disappearance of Dee Scofield, occurred in my hometown of Ocala, Florida so I have a major interest in seeing it solved. [Check out my article entitled “All American Girl.”] The other disappearances mentioned here are equally as mysterious.

Dorothy “Dee” Scofield. In the shiny-new Marion County Public Library in Ocala, Florida, the ghost of a missing girl haunts the aisles. It was the last place Dorothy “Dee” Scofield was seen alive. In 1976, the building housed J. M. Fields department store. Dee, 12, walked into the store to exchange a pair of sandals. She was seen browsing in the jewelry section and later someone thought they saw her leaving. Investigators believed she walked back out into the parking lot where she was abducted. There were never any real clues, except for one possible sighting near the Ocala National Forest. A store clerk said she saw a crying girl with two men. The girl supposedly matched Dee's description. Thirty-two years later there are still no leads. It’s as if Dee Scofield simply evaporated.

Morgan Nick. On June 9, 1995, six-year-old Morgan disappeared from a crowded Little League baseball game in Alma, Arkansas. Despite an immediate search by police and volunteers, she has never been seen since. How can a little girl vanish from the midst of hundreds of people? As Morgan played with two other children a few yards away from her mother, a tall, thin man walked over to her. Her playmates heard him say something. Then came the final out of the last game that night and the crowd moved toward the parking area. In the confusion Morgan vanished. Was she snatched by a sex predator? Or by someone who wanted a child of their own? If alive today, Morgan would be nineteen.

Mikelle Biggs. The day after New Year, 1999, eleven-year-old Mikelle and her sister rode their bikes down the street from their Mesa, Arizona home to wait for the Good Humor Man. They seemed to be the only ones in the neighborhood who heard the calliope music of the ice cream truck – it wasn’t running that day. The weather was cool, and Mikelle’s sister went back to the house for a jacket. When she returned, Mikelle’s overturned bicycle was lying a few feet off the street. Two quarters she’d been holding lay on the ground. Mikelle was gone. Police began an immediate search. Sex offenders were checked out and cleared; possible sightings were investigated and found wanting; and all ice cream truck drivers in the area were eliminated as suspects. Was this an abduction by a stranger who happened to see the lone girl standing by the side of the road? Or could the kidnapper have been someone closer, maybe an unseen monster in the neighborhood? The question remains: what happened to the little girl who only wanted ice cream?

Tabitha Tuders. It took Nashville police years to admit that thirteen-year-old Tabitha was probably kidnapped. At first, they thought she was a runaway. Five years later, some cops still believe that. At about 7:50 on the morning of April 29, 2003, Tabitha walked from her home to the bus stop where she was to meet her school bus. She never got on that bus and has not been seen since. One witness said he saw her climb into a red car, but police were skeptical, claiming the boy was not reliable. As Tabitha’s birthdays began piling up with no sign of the missing girl, many cops began to believe - really believe - that the teen was abducted. What happened that morning? Did a friend or acquaintance offer Tabitha a ride to school then kidnap and murder her? Did one of the many sex predators who inhabited her neighborhood snatch her? Did she run away as cops initially believed? Where is Tabitha?

Tara Leigh Calico. Her mother died without ever knowing. Were Patty Doel's last thoughts about the daughter who went out for a bike ride and never came home? Patty and stepdad John Doel stayed in their old house in Belen, New Mexico for fifteen years after Tara disappeared. Back then, Patty was still vibrant, still full of hope that her daughter would come home. Whoever took Tara probably never understood or cared that they would subject her mother to a lifetime of torture. When the Doels finally sold their New Mexico house and retired to Florida, they hoped to get away from the raw hurt of not knowing. But they could never drive far enough away to kill the pain. A series of strokes disabled Patty, but every time someone would pass on a bicycle, she cried out. Thinking it was Tara. Thinking it was the girl whose picture was found in a parking lot in Florida. That picture, published above, is one of the most frightening in the annals of crime. Maybe John and Patty moved to the Sunshine State to be near the last sighting of their Tara. By then the years had worn Patty down, the not knowing had eaten a hole in her soul. She died still wondering, where is Tara?

Dark secrets hide grim truths in these cases. But someone knows something. Please come forward.

1 comment:

mamaduck said...

what about those who may be found and do not know it
If you had all the details of my exsitance you would have to wonder too.
I had no birth records before 2002
I have never met a single person who knew my mom before 1970.
I was 4 no one claims me as a realtive and I enter school with forged papers and no birth record my baptismal is the only recors socail security has and that is from 1972 so where do the missing go to be found before the 1980s?