Tabitha Tuders was a typical 13-year-old girl, the youngest of three, she is lovingly referred to by her family as “Boo.”
“Her name is Tabitha, but I don’t remember how she got the nickname Boo, but that’s all I can remember calling her,” says Tabitha’s older brother, Kevin Tuders.
Although Kevin is 12 years older than Tabitha and had already moved out of the family’s home in Nashville, Tennessee by the time Tabitha was 13-years-old, the two were close. Kevin recalls how Tabitha would frequently ask him for a dollar so she could go buy Slim Jims, her favorite snack. He describes Tabitha as a “smiler,” a kid who was always happy.
Jamie Pulley, Tabitha’s older sister remembers how Tabitha loved to play with Jamie’s children. She describes Tabitha as a good kid who would never skip school or lie to their parents.
“Mom and dad were the main ones who spoiled her,” Jamie says with a smile. “She was the baby.”
For many families, like the Tuders, who are searching for their loved ones, there will always be a life before and a life after. In this case, it was life before April 29th, 2003 and life after, neither of which resemble the other.
The morning of Tuesday, April 29th, 2003 was like any other morning in the Tuders’ home in Nashville, Tennessee. Tabitha’s father, Bo, woke Tabitha up for school before he left to head off to work. Just as she had done many mornings before, Tabitha headed down the street to the bus stop located at Boscobel St. and 14th St. The rest of the family went off to go about their daily routine as well, but when Tabitha didn’t return from school at her usual time, her mother, Deborah, grew concerned.
Deborah went up to Tabitha’s school and was told by a few students that they had not seen Tabitha at school that day. That’s when Deborah contacted the Metropolitan Nashville Police to file a missing person report.
Detective Steven Jolley is with the Homicide Cold Case Unit at the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and is one of a long line of detectives who have been assigned to Tabitha’s case over the years.