Tara Leigh Calico missing and the creepy polaroid

Tara Leigh Calico
New Mexico
20 September 1988
The Story: 

Tara Leigh Calico was a young New Mexico woman who suddenly disappeared 31 years ago. The teenager went out by bike on 20 September 1988 at 09:30 am, because she wanted to go playing tennis with her boyfriend, who waited for her for two hours. The girl told to her parents that she would come back home at lunch but she never came back. A few hours later her boyfriend and her father went out to look for her, following the only street that Tara could have done, along State Road 47. The girl must have walked along that road, because of her mother’s advice: it had already happened that she had been molested by some people, so that time she maybe talked along a safer road. But nothing: Tara seemed to be gone. The family asked the police for help, so the policemen started a detailed research and found some pieces of her walkman on the side of the road. The shop assistents of the place were questioned by the police, and most of them remembered that girl on her bike every day, but no one was able to say if that day, or the previous one, she had passed by her bike and her walkman. The only sign that the agents had was the presence of a white pick-up that pulled a roulette, that was marked in the area: nothing else. For one year nobody had seen Tara anymore.

Tara Leigh Calico

On June 1989, almost a year later, a woman found in a market parking a polaroid photo, maybe fallen from a white van that this woman saw leaving. In that photo there were a young woman and a child tied and gagged with a black insulating tape: in the image these two people were lying in the van’s bed. The woman that found that photo also tried to give to the agents an identikit of the man that drived that caravan. She described him us a tall and thick man with the mustache, she thought he was between thirty and forty years old. In spite of the man’s identikit, the police didn’t find the van and they failed to identify the driver. The polaroid photo, that meanwhile went around the world, was analyzed in specialized laboratories and in this way it was discovered that the image was recent, because the picture was taken by a film on the market for a few weeks. At first, after a Scotland Yard’s laboratory analysis, they believed that the girl in the picture was Tara, but this news was denied by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, that provided that she looked like Tara, but she wasn’t Tara.

thanks to trace-evidence.com for the video.

So the young woman’s parents, completely desperate, relied on a television program about missing people. They were sure that their baby was in that photo for two reasons: her hair had grown because it had passed one year and in the leg of the girl in the picture there was the same scar that Tara had from an accident that was happened to her a few years earlier. But not only Tara’s parents: even the child’s parents were sure that the child in the photo was their son. Their son, Michael, was 9 years old and he desappeared one year earlier in a New Mexico camping during an holiday. In 1990 the Michael’s desappearence was solved by a body that the police found near that camping. It seems that the boy had voluntarily left the camping and that he dead because of hunger and thirst. So nobody discovered who was the child in the picture, that became a mystery of this story.

This strange story continued until 2009, 21 years later, when David Barnes, a boss agent of Port St. Joe police, received two bizzarre photo, dated 10th of June and 10th of August, that showed: the first picture a blonde guy with a black insulating tape drawn in the face, in the same position of the girl in the photo of twenty years earlier, the second one the same guy in a normal position. On the same day the journal “The Star” received an other photo showed the boy's face gagged with an insulating tape. The police thought that was a message from the man who For the police, it is a message from the man who robbed Tara 21 years earlier. In the last years other two photos have been found, one in California and the other one in a train. Both of them showed a gagged girl but in this case FBI didn’t want to divulgate these photos. An important declaration of a sceriff of Valencia told that Tara had been robbed by some guys with a van and that she dead because of an accident. But this version of the facts was improbable.

Tara Leigh Calico bike

In 2013 FBI created a team of investigators to do a detailed research about the disappearance of Tara Calico again, offering $ 20,000 to anyone who can provide informations about this absurd case. According to the special agent James Langenberg, the team leader, "It’s time for someone that let Tara comes back home. The police never stopped looking for her". Still no news today: Tara is totally disappeared. 

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