VALENCIA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Nearly 35-years after her disappearance the Valencia County Sheriff’s Department says they have a suspect in Tara Calico case Tuesday. Officials say they believe there is sufficient evidence to submit to the District Attorney’s office for review of potential charges in the case. KRQE News 13 asked if there were multiple suspects, however, officials could not comment on that. According to VCSO, the identities and specifics of the suspects are sealed by the court and will remain sealed until court ordered otherwise. No other information was released at the news conference. The 19-year-old went missing in Valencia County in 1988.
Officials say Tara Calico left her Rio Communities home to go on a bike ride on Sept. 20, 1988. She was last seen riding along Highway 47 south of Belen. Witnesses also reported seeing an older model truck following closely behind Calico as she rode along Highway 47.
The day that Calico disappeared she was wearing a white, First National Bank of Belen t-shirt, white shorts with green stripes, white socks, and white and turquoise Avia tennis shoes. She was also wearing a gold butterfly ring with a diamond insert, a gold amethyst ring, and gold hoop earrings.
Despite a massive search for the young woman, the case didn’t make much progress over the decades despite the attention in the case until now. “The people responsible will soon have to answer to this family and to the community who has never stopped thinking about Tara,” Valencia County Sheriff Denise Vigil said.
There have also been many theories surrounding what happened to Calico. One claimed the son of sheriff Lawrence Romero was involved in the disappearance. On Tuesday law enforcements put those rumors to rest, saying all public theories have been ruled out.
The case has gained national attention over the years and was highlighted by People Magazine in 2018. One of Calico’s classmates and filmmaker Melinda Esquibel also started a podcast called Vanished: The Tara Calico Investigation.
During Tuesday’s news conference, law enforcement officials say they cannot reveal all information that has been learned in the investigation; to preserve the integrity of the case.
Calico’s parents have since passed away but she still has two sisters and two brothers alive. Right now there’s no timeline about when this case might go to a grand jury.