An Unexpected Discovery
“On the morning of September 20, 1988, Tara Calico left her home in Belen, New Mexico, to go on her customary bike ride. She told her mother to come and get her if she was not home by noon. Her mother went searching for her daughter along her usual bike route, but could not find her and contacted the police. Pieces of Tara’s Sony Walkman were found along the bike route and her mother believed she was marking her trail. Several witnesses who did spot Tara riding her bike that day recall seeing a light-colored pickup truck with a camper shell following closely behind her.
The case nearly went cold until June 1989 when a peculiar Polaroid photo was discovered in a Florida parking lot outside of a convenience store. The Polaroid photo featured a young woman and young boy, both gagged with black duct tape and bound. The person who found the photo said it was in the place of a white windowless cargo van that had been parked there before. The woman in the photo bore a striking resemblance to Tara. Tara’s mother pointed out a scar on her leg that was identical to the scar Tara had. Also resting by the female’s side was a copy of the book My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews, which was said to be Tara’s book. An FBI analysis of the photo could not conclusively identify the woman as Tara.
In 2008, the sheriff of Valencia County reported that he was given information that Tara was accidentally hit by a couple of teenage boys in their truck, and they had panicked and killed her to cover it up. However, without a body, the sheriff was unable to pursue those leads.
In 2021, both Valencia County Sheriff’s Office and the New Mexico State Police announced that they have a new lead on the case and have a sealed warrant for a residence in Valencia County. Since then, there have been no updates on the case. To this day, Tara remains missing and is presumed dead for obvious reasons.”