"Not knowing why is the hardest part."
-Kate le Vann
It was the 6th of July 1983. A Wednesday. Eighteen year old Tammy Lynn Leppert told her mother, Linda Curtis, that she was going to Cocoa Beach with a friend, Keith Rogers. She told her that she wouldn't be long. It was around 11am when Tammy Lynn left the family home in Rockledge, Florida, United States.
Tammy Lynn Leppert
Tammy Lynn was a striking woman. Her gorgeous good looks meant she was known and popular in the area. Tammy Lynn began modelling and doing beauty pageants from the age of just four. Over the years, with her mother as her agent, she competed in three hundred competitions and won almost all of them. She got work modelling and shoots in magazines but her real love was acting. It was her dream to be a famous actor in California. And that dream was about to come true. Tammy got a small part in two films, "Spring Break" and "Scarface" and had just discovered she was set to play a lead role in a new movie called "Cover Girl Behind the Scenes." Everything was falling into place for her professionally.
Cocoa Beach , Florida
When Tammy Lynn failed to return home, Linda notified the police. They were not too concerned at first as Tammy Lynn was eighteen so an adult and often adults like to take some time to themselves. They also wondered if she had run away from home and her responsibilities in search of something more glamorous and fun. But her family believed she would not have left without telling them anything. It took the police five days to file the report into Tammy Lynn's disappearance.
When police spoke to Keith, he claimed that he argued with Tammy Lynn in the car. He said that the argument was due to his refusal to drive Tammy Lynn to see a friend two hours drive away. Keith left her in a parking lot outside the Glass Bank near an Exxon gasoline station in the vicinity of State Road A1A between 2nd Street North and 3rd Street North in Cocoa Beach. According to Keith, that was the last time he saw her. Linda wasn't convinced. She alleged that Tammy Lynn told her that she was afraid of Keith. After further investigations, Keith was ruled out as a suspect in the case.
That day, Tammy Lynn made three calls to her aunt, Ginger Kolsch, from a pay phone. Her aunt was not there to take the call so Tammy Lynn left three urgent messages for her. She also made a phone call to her friend,Ron Abeles, who owned a video store on the corner of SR A1A. He wasn't available to take the call either.
One of Tammy Lynn’s friends, Rick Adams,saw Tammy Lynn the evening before she went missing. Tammy Lynn told him that she was afraid and someone was trying to kill her. She was extremely distressed and worried that night. Linda had also noticed her daughter had changed in recent weeks. It began after she went to a party one weekend.
After "Spring Break" finished, Tammy Lynn went to a party to celebrate but claimed she saw something that would lead to her one day being killed. On the set of "Scarface", she had a breakdown. When she was on set, there was a scene that involved an actor getting shot and artificial blood was used. Tammy Lynn was hysterical and had to go home. Just one month before she went missing, she was acting in an unusual manner at home. She seemed paranoid and on the 1st of June, she screamed and used a baseball bat to break one of the windows. She accused her own family and friends of trying to poison her.
Linda took her to a mental health centre. She was there for 72 hours. Psychiatrists could not find anything wrong with her and a toxicology screen on her blood and urine turned up no indication of drug use. Linda wanted her to see a therapist but before one could be arranged, Tammy Lynn was reported missing.
Linda believed that Tammy Lynn had information about money laundering and drug trafficking which may have involved some wealthy and influential men in the area. It was reported that Tammy Lynn made a police report about it but no such report was found.
In the years that followed, a number of theories and names of men who may have been involved emerged. One was Christopher Wilder. Police looked into whether he was involved in Tammy Lynn's disappearance but did not find anything that could link him to the case. Christopher was an Australian serial killer and is linked to at least a dozen disappearances, rapes, murders and attacks of women in the early to mid 1980s.
Christopher was in Florida at the time of Tammy Lynn's disappearance. He was known to lure young models by offering them shoots and jobs. Christopher was killed during a shootout with authorities in 1984.
Another person who was investigated was John Brennan Crutchley. John became know as the Vampire Rapist because when he was sentenced to life in prison in 1986 for kidnapping and raping a woman in Orlando, Florida, it emerged that he drained half her blood and drank it. He died by suicide in prison in 2002. Police did not find anything to link him to Tammy Lynn's disappearance.
John Brennan Crutchley
Linda desperately wanted to know what happened to her daughter but unfortunately she died not knowing any of the details in relation to her disappearance. Tammy Lynn's sister Suzanne continues to seek answers and will not stop until she finds out what happened to Tammy Lynn.
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"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
- Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe
"The effects of abuse are devastating and far reaching. Domestic violence speaks many languages, has many colors and lives in many different communities."
- Sandra Pupatello