It’s been almost 35 years since Tara Calico disappeared during a bicycle ride near her home in New Mexico, but authorities announced Tuesday that they have enough evidence now to turn the case over to the district attorney’s office for possible prosecution.
The suspects haven’t been named and court records remain sealed. Authorities said they hope to provide more information as the case progresses.
Valencia County Sheriff Denise Vigil and other officials gathered at the courthouse in Los Lunas, about 24 miles south of Albuquerque, to provide an update in the case, which has become well-known within the law enforcement community and among parents worried about their children biking through the rural county.
The 19-year-old Calico, an avid cyclist, was last seen on a September morning in 1988 bicycling just a couple miles from home. Witnesses reported seeing her riding her bicycle along New Mexico Highway 47, with an older model truck following closely behind her. By the afternoon, when she hadn’t returned for lunch, her mother reported her missing.
She vanished along with her bicycle, and was never found.
Despite having limited resources, Vigil said investigators never gave up on the case. Enlisting the help of federal investigators, she said the sheriff’s office followed up on many theories, leads and tips that poured in over the years.
Vigil told reporters that Calico’s family has suffered long enough and that while her parents are no longer alive, her two sisters and two brothers deserve to see justice.
“The people responsible will soon have to answer to this family and to the community who has never stopped thinking of Tara,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff’s office also received help from the Rocky Mountain Information Network, which provides investigative funding and analytical assistance for smaller law enforcement agencies. Officials did not provide any specifics about the evidence that was analyzed or what led to the break in the case.
In 2019, the FBI posted a reward of up to $20,000 for information regarding Calico’s whereabouts, as well as the arrest and conviction of those responsible for her disappearance.
Family and friends have told authorities that Calico was a friendly girl who was both a superior student and athlete. At the time of her disappearance, she was working full time at a local bank and attending college.