Tammy ZywickiBy: Kat Mccullough
Blond haired, green-eyed Tammy Zywicki was the "All-American girly girl," according to her mother JoAnn. It was late August, and Tammy had just dropped her brother off at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and was headed to her college in Iowa, when the unimaginable happened. Along a quiet strip of highway, surrounded by small towns and corn fields, someone took Tammy.
The soccer player had been studying Spanish, and was contemplating grad school. She was thinking of being a teacher, but also loved taking photographs. She collected seashells, and adored Garfield the cat.
Just off Interstate 80 near Peru, Illinois, Tammy's car broke down. She pulled to the shoulder, turned on her hazards and hoped for a good Samaritan. Police say a truck driver stopped, and then Tammy was gone. The Grinnell College coed would not be returning for her senior year. Police found her abandoned car the next morning and the investigation began.
It is a case unsolved for over 20 years. I remember it vividly, because I was a child in Peru, Illinois, less than a mile away when Tammy vanished. My close-knit community was rocked to the core. How could this happen? How could it happen here, in the summer haze of sleepy farmland, in broad daylight? Was Tammy still nearby, held against her will? Or had some monster passing by on the highway taken her far away?
The questions began to be answered nine days later when Tammy's body was found over 500 miles away, near I-44 in Missouri. She had been stabbed numerous times, her body wrapped in a blanket and sealed with duct tape. But the answers stopped there, and the question of who had committed the heinous crime still remains today. Was it the truck driver?
"We've never really conclusively identified where that truck was from, what truck line or trucking company it was part of. And we don't even know if the truck driver was responsible for her kidnapping," FBI Special Agent Ross Rice told reporters in 2012. Despite physical evidence recovered at the scene, Rice explained, "The problem with all physical evidence you recover, whether it's DNA or a latent fingerprint, you have to have a known sample to compare it to. And right now, that's what we don't have."
On the 10-year anniversary of the case a former FBI task force member alleged that a suspect should have been arrested but never was. Martin McCarthy claimed that the man he suspected was a felon who lived in Missouri where Tammy's body was found. The man had been visiting family near where Tammy disappeared, and the blanket Tammy's body was wrapped in bore the same logo as the one on the man's truck.
Unfortunately, the possible suspect died in 2002, possibly taking with him any hope for justice for Tammy.
Tammy's mother still hopes for answers. "Twenty years has been a lot harder than I thought it would be," JoAnn said. "We just have too many memories with her not around. It would just be nice to get some kind of closure."
If you have any information regarding Tammy Zywicki, please contact the Chicago FBI Division at 312-421-6700. There is a $50,000 reward.
Holly BoboBy: Kat Mccullough
By Kat McCullough
The pink purse belonging to missing woman Holly Bobo was located this week, bringing renewed attention to the search for the young woman missing over two years. Could this finally bring answers to the family of the 20-year old nursing student?
On April 13, 2011 Holly was abducted from her family's Tennessee home, the events playing out like everyone's worst nightmare. Holly's brother reported seeing her being led into the woods by a man in camouflage, who he initially thought was her boyfriend Drew Scott. They were in a wooded area of Tennessee where men in hunting clothes are not unusual. After Clint Bobo saw blood in the grass, however, he became concerned and called 911.
While the investigation began in earnest, with police putting up roadblocks and questioning neighbors, the case had gone cold until this week.
According to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's Kristin Helm dogs found the purse about a mile from the Bobo home. After the discovery of the purse TBI, along with other law enforcement agencies, began a massive search of the area.
Holly's mother, Karen Bobo, released this statement, "The family is so thankful that TBI is working the case. I understand a purse has been found. Our family has cooperated with TBI and begged TBI to show us the purse but we haven't actually seen it." Karen has maintained that she believes Holly is still alive, and the family has continued searching all these years.
Why anyone would want to harm the beautiful nursing student is possibly the greatest mystery of all. There have not been any arrests made in the case, and officials have said they do not believe Holly's boyfriend or family were involved in the abduction. The abduction also happened in broad daylight, around 8 in the morning after Holly left her home to go to class.
Holly is 5'3", 110 lbs with light blond hair. If you have any information about Holly Bobo, please call 1-800-TBI-FIND.
What happened to Jennifer Kesse?By: Kat Mccullough
Jennifer Kesse's family immediately knew something was wrong. The beautiful 24 year-old college grad was never out of touch long, keeping close to her family, sorority sisters, friends and boyfriend. She was always on time for her job as a financial analyst. For her to disappear was unthinkable.
As was the norm, Jennifer spoke with her mother, father, brother, friends and boyfriend the night of Monday, January 23, 2006. It was the last time they would ever hear from her.
"Every day would either call me just to say good morning, have a great day or just text me to wish me good -- you know, have a good day, love you, that type of thing," Rob Allen, Jennifer's boyfriend, said. "When I didn`t receive it Tuesday morning I thought it was odd."
Allen tried to reach her at work the following morning and was told she had not yet arrived. Her boss quickly notified Drew and Joyce, Jennifer's parents, who called the police. Jennifer had recently moved into her own dream condo, and when her parents and the police arrived they found everything in place. There were no signs of forced entry or a struggle, and the only items missing were Jennifer's phone, car keys and iPod.
"It looked like she slept in her bed. She had two or three outfits laid out on the bed as if she was choosing an outfit to wear," Drew told Nancy Grace. "The bathroom looked like someone got ready to go to work. The rest of the condo was just perfect. It honestly looked like a maid came through right down to a full setting -- four piece setting table setting in -- on her dining room table."
"My personal gut feeling is she got ready to go to work as normal and as soon as that condominium door closed I don`t know what happened from that point," Drew said. "That`s where I think it started to happen."
Two long days passed without any significant leads. Then a break in the case- Jennifer's Chevy Malibu was found at a condominium complex 1.2 miles from her house. Surveillance video showed a person parking Jennifer's car in a visitor's space, waiting in the car for around 30 seconds, and then walking away without turning back.
Despite being caught on video, police have not been able to identify the person driving Jennifer's car after her disappearance. The FBI identified the "person of interest" as being between 5'3" and 5'5".
As is nearly always the case, police first focused on those closest to Jennifer. Her father, Drew, was asked to take a polygraph. "Once I got done laughing and said, ‘Yes, hook me up,' they told me that there was no time left," Drew told Nancy Grace. "Someone knows something. We`re still looking for Jennifer, all right? That`s the main thing here."
"This whole thing has just been one hellish nightmare," Joyce Kesse said. "She`s just a beautiful, caring, thoughtful, kind person, has a lot going for her, has always been someone to reach for the stars and, for the most part, she has always grasped all of them."
Over seven years have passed, but Jennifer Kesse's family is still looking. Drew and Joyce wrote on their website (jenniferkesse.com) "We wish there was more to say, a direction to go, evidence to share. Truth is there is not; at least that we know of or have been told. This fact eats at our hearts and souls minute by minute and the pain and despair only grows day by day that Jennifer is not found and brought home where she belongs."
Isabel Celis vanished from her own bedroomBy: Kat Mccullough
It has been more than 300 days since Isabel Celis was last seen, but her parents are reportedly not giving up hope of finding their little girl. Isabel, then 6 years old, disappeared from her own bedroom sometime between 11:30pm and 8:00am April 21, 2012.
"There is somebody out there that knows something. They just have to have the courage to come out and tell us where Isa is," Becky Celis told Katie Couric in December. The couple also said they believe someone who knows them well was involved in Isabel's abduction.
From the start the disappearance of Isabel raised many questions. Her father, Sergio, called 911 after going to wake her around 8:00am. When the police arrived at the Celis home the window in Isabel's bedroom was open and her screen was in the yard. Apparent blood was found in Isabel's bedroom, and red-brown stains were found on a shower curtain and hat in the family car.
Speculation quickly fell on Sergio Celis, and police documents revealed reports that he owed money. Isabel's mother Rebecca quickly defended her husband, calling him a "great father". She told a local television station, "He's a great husband, a great father to the boys and to Isabel. At the end of the day when Isabel comes home, everybody's questions will be answered."
Hundreds of federal and local police officers were assigned to the case, and canvassed the neighborhood repeatedly. Sex offenders were eliminated, and DNA swabs were taken from both Rebecca and Sergio. DNA was also taken from the window frame. Tips poured in, but answers did not.
In the weeks and months after Isabel disappeared, a number of questions have gone unanswered. The Celis' had three dogs, and neighbors reported hearing the dogs barking around 2am on April 21. Celis neighbor Alicia Stardevant told Nancy Grace she woke up around 6:30am to strange noises.
"I noticed the male voices, multiple male voices. And I noticed that the Celises` dogs were going crazy. And they bark a lot, but this was a different type of barking. This was a very, very frantic barking," Stardevant told Grace.
Now the leads flowing in have slowed to a trickle, and the Celis family has opened up to the media in the hopes that new leads will help find Isabel. This is in stark contrast to their behavior early on in the investigation, when they refused to speak at all for a number of days following Isabel's disappearance, heightening the scrutiny on Sergio.
Rebecca and Sergio Celis have remodeled Isabel's room, decorating it in pink and purple- their daughter's favorite colors. There is also a new purple bike. All are waiting for Isabel to come home.
Faith Hedgepeth Cold CaseBy: Kat Mccullough
Faith Hedgepeth was living the college coed dream- the popular biology major had won a prestigious scholarship to attend University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor or veterinarian. Then one night in early September 2012 Faith went out with friends for a night of dancing near campus. She would never be seen alive again. And her killer has yet to be brought to justice.
The morning after their night out, Faith's roommate Karena Rosario found her cold and unresponsive in the apartment they shared. Chapel Hill police have remained tight lipped since, refusing to release 911 calls or the manner of death. What they have confirmed, though, is that Faith Hedgepeth was murdered.
A member of the Haliwa-Sapoli Native American Tribe, Faith grew up largely insulated from the world in tiny Hollister, North Carolina. Money was tight, and Faith worked hard to win a Gates Millennium Scholarship which allowed her to fulfill her dream of attending college. While at UNC she worked at a nearby Red Robin restaurant in order to pay her bills.
Despite an already busy schedule with work and school, Faith was very active on campus. "She was so warm, she was always willing to help or volunteer," said her friend April Hammonds, who she met through the Carolina Indian Circle.
"Everybody liked Faith. She was bubbly, she always had a smile on her face," her father Roland told me. "She loved music, she loved to dance. She loved her family more than anything." He said she had dated but that there wasn't anyone who seemed like trouble. Her roommate, Karena Rosario, was not so lucky.
Following an incident in July where a boyfriend became violent with Karena, Faith drove her to the Durham County Courthouse to obtain a restraining order, which was granted. Karena has not spoken out regarding her roommate's murder, despite repeated requests. The ex-boyfriend has also remained quiet.
This year there was a break in the case. While police still have not named any suspects, the North Carolina State Crime Lab did confirm that DNA from an unidentified male was found in the apartment. And in January FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit issued a profile of the man they believe killed Faith Hedgepeth. The profile is of a man who knew Faith, who likely lived near her, and who may have made comments about her to friends.
Roland Hedgepeth received a last text from his daughter the night before she died. "It just said ‘Hey Daddy I love you. I've been going through some personal things and she was concerned about me. She just told me to have faith and that God is going to take care of it."
Now family and friends hold on to hope that somehow Faith's killer will be caught. In late February her hometown of Hollister paid tribute to Faith when the band Dark Water Rising filmed a music video in her honor. Hundreds of people joined in on the song in memory of Faith, "Hometown Hero".
If you have any information about the murder of Faith Hedgepeth, call 919-942-7515.