Authorities expect Tara Calico case to go to the DA soon

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VALENCIA COUNTY, N.M. — Authorities said Tuesday they have enough evidence to soon turn the case of Tara Calico’s 1988 disappearance over to the district attorney.

Tara’s sister, Michele Doel, was there as investigators said they have persons of interest in the case.

The FBI and the Rocky Mountain Information Network have helped the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation. Collectively, they followed up on all the theories, leads and tips over the years.

While they couldn’t provide any further details, this development is significant to Tara’s family. After 35 years, they believe this is the closest they’ve been to getting justice for Tara.

“In the coming months, VCSO looks forward to working with Valencia County prosecutors to get justice for Tara and her family,” Sheriff Denise Vigil said.


On the morning of September 20, 1988, Calico went for her daily 17-mile bike ride in Belen. Witnesses spotted her riding a neon-pink mountain bike just before noon. Then, around two miles from home, on NM-47, she and her bike disappeared.

Authorities say a light-colored pickup truck with an attached camper shell was close behind her as she rode toward home.

In the nearly 35 years since her disappearance, various leads have emerged, even photos claiming to show her. In 1998, a judge also reportedly ruled Calico dead by homicide.

The case lay dormant until 2013. Then, in 2019, the FBI posted a reward of up to $20,000 for information regarding Calico’s whereabouts, as well as the arrest and conviction of those responsible for her disappearance.


“Rest assured, investigators have followed up on all theories, leads, and tips. When we can share case updates or information, we will do so directly to the community through official channels.

At this time, law enforcement believes there is sufficient evidence to submit this investigation to the District Attorney’s Office for review of potential charges. Currently, the identities and specifics of the persons of interest are sealed by the court and will remain so until a court orders otherwise.

Regardless, community members remain a vital resource and we always welcome additional information.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the ongoing efforts of the FBI, the Rocky Mountain Information Network, and the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, who have assigned their very best to this case in the pursuit of justice.

Most importantly, I would like to thank the members of the Calico and Doel family for their unwavering support and patience.

In the coming months, the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office looks forward to working with prosecutors to obtain justice for Tara and her family.”