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BREAKING: FBI Makes Breakthrough Announcement
After saying goodbye to parents Hank and JoAnne, Tammy Zywicki took off in her 1985 Pontiac to attend her senior year at Iowa’s Grinnell College. The last anyone saw the sweet girl with long blond hair and radiant eyes was along Interstate 80 near LaSalle, Illinois, where she was spotted standing next to her car on the side of the road.
Nine days later, Zywicki’s body was discovered 500 miles away in Missouri with multiple stab wounds and wrapped in a blanket secured with duct tape. But now a cold case is heating up. The day before the 25th anniversary of Tammy’s kidnapping, local authorities and the FBI announced that they are using the latest crime-solving technologies to investigate the case, and a $50,000 dollar reward is being offered for information leading to the identification of Zywicki’s killer or killers.
Heating up a cold case
In a statement appearing in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois police spokesman Master Sgt. Matt Boerwinkle noted that the Zywicki case has failed to generate any leads or produce promising results.
There have been and continue to be several persons of interest. However, no suspects have been named, and no arrests have been made.
However, the FBI announcement brings hope that modern science can help solve a kidnapping murder that has eluded investigators for so long. A news release from state police on Tuesday outlined how some 200 pieces of evidence have been examined and re-processed using modern DNA-testing procedures.
According to Department of Justice archives, the federal government “laid the groundwork” for the sophisticated modern system in use today for forensic testing by creating an intricate database at local and national levels.
Every year, dozens of cold cases are solved because of advances in DNA testing. For instance, in the 2001 “Green River” killings investigation, it was DNA evidence that provided the information necessary to solve a case that went years without any new leads and cost state and local authorities $15 million.
Boerwinkle explained how the science of testing biological materials is constantly evolving, adding that advancements are periodically made within FBI and local law enforcements labs, as well as in the private sector. Investigators are hopeful that genetic testing can help provide clues concerning the truck driver that at least one witness reports was seen pulled over on the interstate near Zywicki.
Accompanying the FBI’s report of the agency’s renewed efforts at solving Zywicki’s murder is a press release poster relating important facts of the case. The fact sheet describes the driver of the tractor-trailer spotted on I-80 near the broken down Pontiac:
The driver of the tractor trailer is described as a white male between 35 and 40 years of age, over six feet tall, with dark, bushy hair.
In addition to the persons of interest that could provide vital information to law enforcement and the family of the victim, certain physical evidence could be instrumental in breaking the 25-year-old case. The FBI fact sheet lists missing property belonging to the deceased that could be exactly what investigators are looking for to bring justice to Zywicki’s survivors.
Some of the victim’s personal property is known to be missing, including a Cannon 35mm camera and a musical wrist watch. The watch is Lorus brand, with a green umbrella on its face and a green band. The watch plays the tune “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.”
The shorts Zywicki was wearing when she was killed are believed to have had a “St. Giles Soccer Club” patch on them prior to her murder. Locating this patch, or any of her other personal items could be all that police have if genetic testing fails to return any results.
Persons with information that may assist investigators in the case are asked to contact the Chicago FBI field office. A reward for $50,000 still stands for any information that leads to the “identification of the individual or individuals responsible for this crime.”
After 25 years, Hank and JoAnne Zywicki are still waiting for answers. Family members of Tammy claim that her parents have remained resilient in the aftermath of her untimely death, and they have refused to let the tragedy drive them apart.
This, at least, is a small comfort in a heart-rending misfortune.
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