On April 29, 2003, Tabitha Danielle Tuders left her home on Nashville’s Lillian Street, walked two blocks, and became one of Nashville’s high-profile unsolved cases. 12 years later, another vigil is planned at the destination she never met, Bailey Middle School. This writer has been covering the case exclusively for zoomdune.com, and despite thousands of hours of interviews and investigative hours, is still as baffled as in 2005 when I learned her name.
It started simply. In 2005, I posted “missing” posters of local persons in a criminal justice school I helped create. Students flocked to the poster of Tabitha; many grew up on the same streets where she walked to school, visited with friends, and went to the corner market for her favorite treat, Dr. Pepper and Slim Jim beef sticks. “What do you think happened?” I was asked. Not being from Tennessee, I was unfamiliar with Tabitha’s story. Their concern touched me; I tucked the case away in my thoughts.
In 2012 I became a True Crime Examiner and began writing articles for various online law enforcement-related websites. I knew what story I wanted to cover exclusively; I notified Tabitha’s parents, requesting an interview. Gregarious and kind, they allowed me in and I began covering the case from a journalist’s angle. I spoke to many of Tabitha’s friends and neighbors. I followed leads. I passed everything on to local law enforcement in the hopes maybe a shred of something would lead to everything. I had a reconstructionist make a new age-progressed photo. So many times I would hear something and ask, “Did you tell the police or anyone about this?” The answer: always a “no.” (I spend far, far more than I make at this job, for anyone concerned)
I found people will send you information, if it does not pan out, then you are either wrong, or stupid, or did not do it right. I met nonprofit agencies that will not share information. I learned people get angry over what you can find, don’t find, do find, and might find. Too many people said, “Well I heard-“ which led to rumors that have already panned out to be false. People blamed her disappearance due to suspicions based on race, socioeconomic status, background, and even by the way someone walked down the street. One man screamed at me, “Why do you care? She’s been gone a long time!” There are honest souls who want to help, there are crazies who need a connection to a crime, and there are sharks that want something – profit, a name, power – from a case.
In the middle of it all is a little girl whose nickname is “Boo.” She loved to play “chase” with her friends. She was thin and lanky, on the cusp of childhood to teenager. Her family was not wealthy and her enjoyments were simple: baseball games, car races, Taco Bell, and slumber parties. Her name is Tabitha Danielle Tuders; she has been missing for 12 years. Those of us always searching will not give up until her story is complete.
Information on vigil:
Vigil for Tabitha Tuders: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 7:00pm at Bailey Middle School, 2000 Greenwood Avenue, Nashville, TN 37206-1756.
Here is the map: HERE
Follow the zoomdune.com articles on Tabitha HERE
If you have any information on the Tabitha Tuders case, please call Detective Jolley at 615-862-7845. Your information will remain confidential. Also you can click HERE