Vernon Parish investigators are cautiously optimistic that they may have obtained new evidence in a murder case that has gone unsolved for more than 30 years.
On Friday, detectives wrapped up a week-long search in a remote area of the Kisatchie National Forest in the same area where the remains of 15-year-old Tammy Call were discovered in January 1997 by a local hunter. She had been missing for seven years at that time.
Sheriff Sam Craft said that during the search, detectives honed in on areas alerted to them by a cadaver dog who was brought through the area recently with the hopes of breathing new life into the cold case. Their efforts were rewarded, and
Craft said the dog identified two “hot spots” that detectives excavated this week.
“During the search, we did locate some objects of interest that have been recovered and are being sent off to a lab for testing,” Craft told the
Because the investigation is ongoing, Craft declined to comment on what the objects of interest were.
The findings could be an exciting turn in the decades-old investigation that was reopened in Dec. 2017 when Sheriff Craft created a Cold Case Team of detectives. The team selected cases they believe have a true chance of being solved with today’s science and DNA testing advances, which included Tammy Call’s case.
Chief Detective Rhonda Jordan, a member of the Cold Case Team, said the potential new evidence recovered from the scene fueled the efforts of the detectives to push harder than ever, as they strive to make good on promises made to the grieving families behind their cold cases.
“We work as hard as we do because the victim’s family is left not knowing what happened to their loved ones. For those families, the feelings of grief and loss are as fresh as when they learned their loved ones had been murdered. Our job is to work as hard as we can to obtain justice for these victims and their families. It is an extremely rewarding feeling to be able to provide those families with answers,” Jordan stated.
Jordan also expressed appreciation to the Fort Polk Military Police and the US Army Criminal Investigators Division, whom she said provided assistance in the investigation.
“The intensive grid search of the area would not have been possible without the resources provided by the Army,” Jordan stated.
Call’s case has remained relatively unchanged before Friday’s revelation. No cause of death has ever been determined, and no primary suspects have ever been identified.
Tammy went missing on Feb. 20, 1990, when her parents said she did not get off of the school bus. Her father, Joe Call was a soldier stationed at Fort Polk at the time, and said he and his wife immediately knew something was wrong. They contacted VPSO, who tried to tell them to wait a day or two before reporting her missing.
“They said because kids do this all the time, but we told them ‘you don’t know this girl. You don’t know our family’,” Call told the American Press in a previous interview.
VPSO detectives would later learn that Tammy had agreed to skip class with one of her friends the day she went missing. The two had agreed to meet near a wooded area behind Leesville High School, but they never did. Tammy’s backpack was found some time later under a nearby bridge.
Tammy was missing for seven years before her remains were located, which included only a few teeth and a single shoe.
Sheriff Craft said it could be six to eight weeks before any potential results can be determined from the objects located on Friday.
“We hope that this can lead us on a path to finding justice for the Call family,” Craft stated.