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missing: tara calico

thousands of people go missing every single year, and although the majority of people are returned to their families, a percentage of people never return. reuniting people with their families is so unbelievably important, and although there may be little you can do, there are charities you can donate to and articles you can read. becoming aware of cases and spreading awareness yourself has the ability to bring new information to light. this is for all those who have gone missing, and for all those who have lost a loved one. I hope one day the person you love returns.


Tara Calico, born 28th February 1969, disappeared near her home in Belen, New Mexico, on September 20th, 1988, aged 19. On the day of her disappearance, Tara left her home at about 9:30am to go on her daily bike ride along New Mexico State Road 47. She road along that road, accompanied by her mother Patty Doel almost every morning, however, Doel stopped riding with Calico after believing she had been stalked by a motorist. Doel advised Tara to begin carrying a form of tear gas, but Tara rejected the idea and carried on with the routine as normal. On the morning of her disappearance, she had told her mother to come and get her if she was not home by noon as she had plans to play tennis with her boyfriend at 12:30. When her daughter did not return as planned, Doel went searching for her along the usual bike route but could not find her, leading her to contact the police. Pieces of Calico's Walkman and a cassette tape were discovered along the road, however, nothing else connected to her was ever discovered. Doel believed that she might have dropped them in an attempt to mark her trail, pressuring she had been abducted. Several people did witness Calico riding her bicycle that morning, however, the bike had never been recovered. There are no witnesses to her assumed abduction, although several witnesses observed a light-coloured pickup truck with a camper shell followed her. No trace of Calico has been found since her disappearance, and there have been little leads regarding her possible kidnapping.



On the 15th June 1989, a Polaroid photo of an unidentified young woman and a boy, both gagged and bound, was discovered in the parking lot of a convenience store in Port St. Joe, Florida. The women who found the photo said it was discovered in a parking space where a white windowless Toyota cargo van had been parked. The driver of the car was a man with a moustache believed to be in his 30s. Police set up roadblocks in order to intercept the vehicle, however, this was unsuccessful and the man has never been unidentified.

The photo was broadcast on a television show in July, and Doel was contacted by friends who thought the woman reassembled Calico. Relatives of Michael Henley, also of New Mexico, who has disappeared in April 1988, also saw the episode and believed he was the not in the photo. Doel became convinced that the woman was her daughter after considering what time, growth and lack of makeup would have done to Calico's appearance. She also noted that a scar on the woman's leg was identical to the one her daughter had received in a car crash. As well as this, a copy of Calico's favourite book can be seen lying next to the woman. Scotland Yard concluded the woman was Calico, however, the Los Alamos National Laboratory disagreed, an FBI analysis was inconclusive.

Henley's mother was almost certain that it was her son in the photo. However, the identification of the boy as Henley is highly unlikely due to the fact his remains were discovered in June 1990 in the Zuni Mountains, about 7 miles from the campsite of which he disappeared. Police believe that Henley simply wandered off and died of exposure. Twenty years after the photo was found, pictures of a boy were sent to the Port St. Joe's police chief. He received two letters postmarked June 10 and August 10, 2009, from Albuquerque, New Mexico. One letter contained a photo, printed on copy paper of a young boy. A black band in ink had been drawn on the photo over the boy's mouth as if it were covered in tape. In the second letter, there was an original image of the boy. On August 12 a newspaper received a letter, depicting the same image that was marked August 10. The boy has not been confirmed to be the same one in the previous photo. There was no return address or indication to the boy's identity, which made the officials believe it may be connected to the original photo.

Two other Polaroid photos, possibly of Calico, have surfaced over the years but they have not yet been released to the public. The first was found near a construction site in California and is a blurry photo of a girls face with tape covering her mouth, and a light blue striped fabric being her similar to that in the pillow in the original photo, it was taken on film not available until June 1989. The second shows a woman loosely going in gauze, with her eyes covered by gauze and large glasses with a male passenger beside her on an Amtrak train. The film was not available until February 1990. Calicos mother believed that the first one was her daughter, however, the second one may have been a gag.
Twenty years after her disappearance, a sheriff of Valencia County claimed he knew what happened to Calico. According to him, boys who knew her drove up behind her in a truck and some form of an accident followed. Calico later died and those that were responsible covered up their crime. The sheriff claimed he knew the names of the boys involved however could not make a case due to the fact he had nobody. The evidence that led him to his conclusion has never been released by him.



As of September 20, 2017, no arrests have been made connecting to Taras disappearance/abduction and there have been no recording sightings of her since the day of her disappearance. In October 2013, a six-person task force was established to re-investigate Calicos disappearance, however, there has been no new information released.


If you have any information regarding this case, call the Valencia County Sheriff's Department at (505 866-3343 or the Bernalillo County Sherrif's Department at (505) 468-7225.


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