Though hundreds of miles and four-and-a-half decades from where I am now, this tale of murder and the hunt for justice within one family hits close to my childhood.
Mummified remains, covered in a quicklime mixture, were found along the North Canadian River, near Jones, Oklahoma, on April 18, 1980. Investigators learned that the victim, a female, had been shot three times elsewhere, then discarded by the riverbank.
The medical examiner estimated that she was between 18 and 25, five feet six inches tall, and weighed between 115 and 120 pounds. She had a heart and ribbon tattoo above her left breast and an appendectomy scar and was dead about ten days.
One of the wounds contained clothing fiber and a dime, driven into her chest by a .45 caliber bullet. Because quicklime was spread over her in a possible attempt to accelerate decomposition, she became known as the Lime Lady.
Investigators used traditional techniques to attempt to identify her, but all efforts failed. Finally, in 2014, viable DNA was extracted and the Doe Project began testing in 2019, generating a usable profile by year’s end.
On January 30, 2020, Tamara Lee Tigard finally got her name back.
Tamara was born in Alameda, California, on April 18, 1959. Incidentally, that is the date on which she was first found dead in 1980.
She joined the U.S. Army following high school, attaining the rank of Specialist E-4. It remains unclear if she had already been mustered from the Army or was still in.
She married Chadwick Ryan Carr, who was last known to be living in Tennessee, on February 24, 1979, in Las Vegas. Accounts vary as to whether they were divorced or not.
She was seen last on March 21, 1980, in Las Vegas, on a walk.
Her immediate family, Patsy and James Tigard, and sister, Cynthia Butts are deceased. Meanwhile, Tamara is interred in an Oklahoma Cemetery under a brass marker that, aside from her name, year of birth and death, and branch of service, “Beloved Daughter and Sister.”
Tamara is a cousin of Patricia Ann Tigard, a woman I grew up with and who was found murdered in October 1976 and left like so much trash near the Smith River along Hwy 199, between Crescent City and Hiouchi, California. Her murder remains unsolved because her killer is widely believed to be already dead.
Today is Tamara’s birthday. She would be 62-years-old.
The investigation into Tamara’s murder is ongoing. If you have any information, call the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office at (405) 713-1017.