Tara Calico, then 19, left her Belen, New Mexico home on the afternoon of September 20, 1988 to ride her bicycle on Highway 47. She, nor her bike, were ever seen again despite numerous searches and media coverage including being featured on Unsolved Mysteries, America’s Most Wanted, Vanished, Current Affair, etc.
Tara’s unsolved disappearance came back into the limelight when, on June 15, 1989, a woman found a picture in a parking lot outside a convenience store in Port St. Joe, Florida. A white van had previously been parked in the spot and the photo featured a teenage girl and an unidentified young boy, both were bound and gagged in the back of a van. It was speculated that the girl in the photo might be Tara Calico and that the boy was possibly Michael Henley, a 9-year old who vanished on a camping trip in NM the previous year. However, Michael’s remains were soon found in the same area he originally went missing.
Two other photographs featuring a gagged girl resembling Tara surfaced over the next few months, though they have never been released to the public.
Photo of an unidentified young female and boy gagged and bound
There are many theories revolving around this case and it seems like the majority believe the young woman was kidnapped however, years after Tara went missing a Valencia County sheriff publicly stated his belief that she was killed the day she disappeared when two local residents accidentally hit her with their truck and disposed of her body, but he had insufficient evidence to make an arrest. But if this theory is true, then what’s the story behind the two kids in the photograph?
Tara Calico was born February 28, 1969 and would be 44 years old today.