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WA TAMI KOWALCHUK: Missing from Tacoma, WA - 25 Dec 1999 - Age 17

Discussion in 'Missing 1990 to 1999' started by Scorpio, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2017
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  2. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

    Missing Person - 1999
    Tami Kowalchuk

    Tacoma Police detectives need your help to locate a missing woman, feared to be the victim of foul play. Tami Kowalchuk has been missing under suspicious circumstances since December of 1999.

    The last known sighting of Tami Kowalchuk occurred on the night of December 25th, 1999, when she was seen entering a small white car occupied by unknown person(s) outside of her family's home on E. Morton Ave. in Tacoma. Kowalchuk did not take any clothing or personal items with her. Kowalchuk's family reported her missing in 2004, and police have been unable to locate her or any persons who have had contact with her since 1999.

    At the time of her disappearance Tami Faye Kowalchuk was a white female, 17 years old, 5’ tall, 100 lbs., with blue eyes and blonde hair. She was known to also use the name "Tabitha" on the street. Detectives are looking for any information regarding Tami Kowalchuk’s disappearance and/or her whereabouts.
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  3. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

  4. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

    Tami age-progressed to 28 years. Tami has a teardrop tattoo near her right eye.
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  5. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Why did she have a teardrop tattoo? That's not a good sign...
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  6. spike

    spike Bronze Member

    I know it's often a gang sign.
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  7. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    It can have several meanings. It can signify the wearer has murdered someone, that the wearer was raped while incarcerated, or can symbolize the loss of a family or fellow gang member.

    Amy Winehouse also had a teardrop tattooed to mark her distress that her husband Blake Fielder-Civil was remaining on remand at Pentonville Prison
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  8. spike

    spike Bronze Member

    So it has some kind of meaning to her.
    Gosh. So sad.
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  9. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    She looks like she was having a rough life - and only at 17 years old. :(
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  10. spike

    spike Bronze Member

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  11. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    Missing: Tacoma teen vanishes after telling mom she was with truck driver

    TACOMA — Tami Kowalchuk was a troubled teen who thought she “knew the ropes.” Despite her troubles, Tami was always honest with her mom.

    “She communicated a lot with me,” said Cindy Cherry.

    On Dec. 26, 1999, 17-year-old Tami told her mom she was going out with friends and that she would be back later. She called her mom later in the evening, and said she ran into an acquaintance, a truck driver named Tony. She wanted to come home and get some clothes so she could go one of his long-haul trips.

    Cindy knew her daughter’s history and said no. Tami had a court ordered curfew of 10 pm. Her mom told her she needed to come home.

    That was the last time Cindy heard her daughter’s voice.

    “Tami thought she knew the ropes,” Cindy said. “And she didn’t. She caught up with someone a little bit smarter than her.”

    A young girl’s hopes turns to struggles
    As a little girl, Tami wanted to help. She hoped to grow up and become a veterinarian.

    “She had the knack,” Cindy said. “She could walk up to any animal and make friends with them.”

    “There’s not a day I don’t wake up in tears.”

    At 5’8″ with blue eyes and blonde hair, Tami painted a gorgeous figure.

    “She was beautiful and she knew it,” Cindy said.

    As Tami grew, she had trouble controlling her actions. She was expelled from “every grade school in Tacoma,” her mom says. Her parents fought to keep her from running away.

    “I’d be at the front door and she’d slip out the back,” Cindy said.

    Tami was eventually diagnosed with ADHD and other behavioral disorders. She tried to self-medicate with methamphetamine.

    “It didn’t work,” Cindy said. “She got very violent.”

    She turned to prostitution because she found it was the “quickest way to make a buck,” Cindy said. Trouble was never far away, and more than once she was abused or raped by Johns who paid for sex.

    Eventually, Tami was caught with drugs and sentenced to Echo Glen Children’s Center in King County, a facility for troubled youth. She learned to read and write and Cindy says, and things looked up for a while.

    “I had a lot of hope,” she said.

    Shortly after Tami left Echo Glen, she disappeared the day after Christmas.

    Human skull found by mushroom pickers in wooded area in eastern Pierce County

    The search
    Cindy drove the streets of Tacoma where Tami used to work as a prostitute, talking to anyone who might know her daughter along South Tacoma Way and Pacific Avenue in Pierce County. She learned Tami used the street name “Tamira” and that some local girls may have seen her before.

    Cindy is haunted by the thought that her daughter is trapped and imprisoned. Or, the victim of a serial killer.

    “I thought about the Green River murder, the pig farmer murder,” Cindy said.

    It’s not knowing, Cindy says, that is the hardest part, “There’s not a day I don’t wake up in tears.”

    Tacoma Police Detective Lindsey Wade says to be Cindy – the mother of a missing child – is heartbreaking. There’s no closure. “Maybe your child is still alive so it’s very difficult for families to have missing kids because they just don’t know what to do and they don’t know whether their child is alive or dead which is really hard,” Wade says.

    There are 18,061 missing persons in Washington state.

    Cindy pleads with anyone who may know Tami, who she was hanging around with or who may have some clues to her disappearance, to come forward.

    Tami is considered a missing or kidnapped person with evidence of foul play. She was born on Aug. 16, 1982. She is white 5′ tall and weighed 100 pounds at the time of her disappearance. She was last seen at 234 E. 64th Ave in Tacoma.

    If you have any information that can help locate her, call Tacoma Police or the Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit at 1-800-543-5678 or email them at MUPU@WSP.WA.GOV
  12. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member



    TACOMA — The discovery of a partial human skull last month in a wooded area in East Pierce County has reignited interest in solving some long-term missing persons cases.

    Investigators won’t know if the skull fragment is from a man or a woman until DNA test results are complete.

    “Anytime there are human remains found in the state, loved ones of missing persons from around the state and sometimes bordering states will reach out and make sure that we are making that comparison and ruling out or checking on their loved ones,” said Carrie Gordon with the Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit.
  13. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you @Scorpio for posting the articles about Tami and the other missing Tacoma women.

    It certainly sounds like a serial predator, if not a serial killer. As all of the teens/women had a connection to sex work in the area. Gary Ridgeway (Green River killer) is possible for some, but not all.

    But Tacoma didn't use to be the best of places. So it's also possible they are all separate incidents and not related at all. 1994-2010 is a big time frame.

    "There are more than 1,800 missing persons statewide and 146 of those are women in Pierce County."

    When I first saw the headline - "Vanished: Search for 5 women missing in Tacoma includes possibility of serial predator" - my heart rate increased and I was worried that I hadn't heard anything about 5 women missing in Tacoma recently. I live here so that should be pretty big news. Upon reading, I'm so glad that they are bringing attention to these cases. Not only did they do the "serial predator" article, but individual articles for each woman. Great job Q13!
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  14. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

    There's definitely a pattern. All the women had connections to prostitution, all were young, beautiful and most all, vulnerable. The detective wants to hear from about other girls who worked as escorts in the area and time frame these women disappeared, they want to know about bad dates or experiences the women had. Helen Tucker was actually the victim of a sexual assault the day she disappeared.
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