Nashville's most baffling "Missing" case remains unsolved as the Tennessee city moves into 2014.
13-year-old Tabitha Tuders disappeared in April 2003 somewhere between her home on Lillian street and the bus stop on Shelby Avenue, a distance of only a few blocks. According to reports, she left her home on Lillian Street at about 7:50am, walked north on South 14th, turned down Boscobel to catch her school bus, and disappeared. She never made it to Bailey Middle School. This is the last time neighbors and friends saw her.
Much has changed since 2003. Nashvillians have telephones that fit in the ear. Some cars now run on electricity. Several presidents have served in the office of the United States. Wars have started. The Dewey Decimal system is gone from libraries. We are aware of the word "terrorist" on our own soil. What impact would this have on Tabitha?
Friends agree that Tabitha, now a young lady in her early twenties, was destined to go to college. Her family members say she was bright, and wanted a college education. One of her best friends remembers Tabitha as a fun girl who was still a child at heart. Another friend explains when she suffered through rough issues at age twelve, Tabitha was “one of the few people who would listen. She was one of my good friends that helped me get through it all.” Tabitha was "an old soul," says a family member, but she was, after all, a little girl.
Candlelight vigils are held in the hopes of willing her home and to keep her name in the media so she is not forgotten. Many leads have been followed by law enforcement officers and this writer. Rumor mixes with fact until the truth can become so muddled. The questions are the same as they were in 2003: where is Tabitha? What happened to her? Who is not telling what they know?
Tennessee approaches a new year, excited about the prospect of changes and positive news. Hopefully that news will include a headline: Tabitha Tuders Found.
I am the only journalist working on the Tabitha Tuders case full-time. Please contact me with information you may have.