Tara Calico

Image credit: Valencia County News-Bulletin

Tara Calico disappeared on September 20, 1988 while on a bike ride from her home in Belen, New Mexico. She had used her mother’s bicycle because hers had a flat. Tara had planned several things that afternoon. She had classes at University of New Mexico at the Valencia Campus where she was classified as a sophomore. She also had plans to play tennis later that day. When she did not return, her mother went out to look for her but found no trace. Her birth father and mother were divorced and both individuals, along with their family members, continued to look for her, work with authorities and follow her case. Various items were found on her probable route, including parts of a portable cassette player and MP3 player, but her mother’s bicycle was never found. Tara had been seen by several witnesses. All leads were investigated but appeared to go nowhere.

Less than a year later, a Polaroid photo was found in a convenience store parking lot in Florida. It included two young individuals in some kind of bedding. Both their hands and feet were bound and there appeared to be tape or some other type of material covering their mouths . One was male and one was female and the female was older than the male. Various tests were performed on the image to see if the female could be Tara. Results were inconclusive. There was another lead several years later concerning the possible involvement of local individuals in her disappearance but nothing came of it either.

Partly due to the mysterious Polaroid image and the timing and similarities in the two incidents, the Tara Calico case was also thought to have possibly been connected in some way to the disappearance of nine year old Michael Henley. Young Henley had vanished while on a camping trip in the Zuni Mountains with his family in April, 1988. However, remains found by a rancher riding fence in the same mountains southwest of Grants in 1990 were found to be Michael’s. Foul play was ruled out in the Henley case.

There have been documentaries, other videos, podcasts, blog posts and the like concerning Tara’s disappearance. There are also many good websites that deal with Tara’s case, if you would like to know more. The websites and other electronic material can easily be located on the internet, so we are linking here the FBI Kidnappings/Missing Persons page and Tara’s Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department’s Cold Case page. If you have any information that you think may be connected to the case, please notify the Albuquerque office of the FBI, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s department, Valencia County or Belen law enforcement agencies or your local law enforcement agency.

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