Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Case of Tammy Zywicki

A Case Gone Cold

On August 23rd, 1992, 21-year-old Tammy Zywicki dropped off her younger brother Daren at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and headed to Grinnell College in Iowa. The siblings had left their home in New Jersey and were set to begin another college semester. That night, an Illinois state trooper found her abandoned white 1985 Pontiac T1000. The next day, Tammy's mother JoAnn called authorities, telling them that her daughter had not arrived at college. Over the following days, JoAnn prayed for her daughter's return, but the discovery of Tammy's car suggested that hope was growing dimmer by the minute.

One week later, on September 1, a body was discovered 490 miles away in Missouri. The body, bound with duct tape and wrapped in a red blanket, bore grim evidence of sexual assault and murder. Police soon identified the body as Tammy's. The ambitious college student had been stabbed in the chest seven times, and once in the arm.

Now, seventeen years later, Tammy Zywicki's murder remains unsolved. The life of a young woman, set to enter her final year of college that week, was cut woefully short just off Interstate 80 in Illinois, and no one has been charged with the crime. JoAnn Zywicki, who for seven dreadful days clung to an ever-diminishing possibility of her daughter's safe return, now only hopes that Tammy's killer will be found and justice will be done.

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