Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Disappearance of Tabitha Tuders

Tabitha Tuders was only 13 years-old when she vanished on April 29th, 2003. She was last seen at her family’s Nashville, Tennessee home that morning around 7am, shortly after her father woke her up to get ready for school. Tabitha’s father left for work shortly after he woke her up–she was watching TV when he left and nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary. Just like every other day, Tabitha planned to walk to her bus stop on 14th and Boscobel Street to board the school bus at 8am. A few witnesses saw her walking towards that direction before 8am, but unfortunately Tabitha never made it to the bus stop or to school that day. When she did not return home that afternoon as planned, her parents called the school only to find out that she had not attended her classes at all that day. Tabitha was then reported missing around 6pm that evening.

Due to Tabitha’s age, authorities initially treated her disappearance as a runaway. Her parents have never believed that she left on her own accord; she has no history of running away and she was a straight-A student who took pride in her perfect school attendance record. Additionally, Tabitha left behind all of her personal possessions and money. At this time investigators have changed their tune, and have stated that they now believe Tabitha was abducted.

At first, there appeared to be a lot of potential clues in Tabitha’s disappearance. A young boy told authorities that he saw Tabitha get into a green car with an African-American man the morning of her disappearance. The description of the man matches the description of Tabitha’s sister’s ex-boyfriend, however police have never been able to connect said man to Tabitha’s case. Additionally, the young boy’s story has never been confirmed, but search dogs traced Tabitha’s scent along a route similar to the one that boy described.

Another potential clue came from a piece of paper found in Tabitha’s bedroom. In Tabitha’s handwriting, the paper reads “T.D.T -N- M.T.L.” TDT are Tabitha’s initials, but it is unclear who the other initials belong to. Tabitha’s family stated that she did not have a significant other, and police could not find any evidence that she ran away to be with a romantic partner. Tabitha’s friends were interviewed and a computer she used was analyzed; neither provided any evidence that Tabitha was lured away by a predator.

Over the years, there have been numerous unconfirmed sightings of Tabitha in various places throughout the United States. A few young women that resembled Tabitha even submitted DNA samples that ultimately confirmed none of them were her. Despite this, Tabitha’s family still holds out hope that she is alive. The FBI is actively investigating her disappearance, and a $50000 reward has been set up for information that leads to the recovery of Tabitha and the prosecution of those involved in her disappearance. If you have any information that could help, please submit a tip here.

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