Family, Friends Of Tabitha Tuders Hold On To Hope

"It has been 14 years of hell."
Posted at 10:38 PM, Apr 29, 2017

It has been 14 years since her disappearance, but family and friends have continued to hold on to hope for the safe return of Tabitha Tuders.

In April 2003, the 13-year-old vanished as she was heading to catch the school bus. However, Tabitha never made it on board or attended school. 

On Saturday, her loved ones gathered for a vigil around a memorial in her honor outside East Nashville Magnet Middle Prep. Holding a vigil has become a tradition on each anniversary of her disappearance. 

"You wake up one morning and you kiss her goodbye and you don't see her anymore for 14 years, it's a nightmare," Bo Tuders, her father, told NewsChannel 5. "It has been 14 years of hell."

Investigators have received hundreds of leads and two federal subpoenas were even issued but it all turned out empty. 

Despite the frustration, those close to Tabitha have not given up.

"I love her now and I'll miss her always, but I'll see her again. She's out there, and she is coming back," a family member said during the gathering.

Family and friends also shared fond memories they have of Tabitha. Meanwhile, her family made it a mission to spread awareness about her case now that social media has become a powerful tool over the years.

"We want to let people know that she is still out there somewhere and she needs to come home where she belongs," Bo added.

Her father also said he sympathized with parents of missing children including Devin Bond of Murfreesboro. Bond was last seen on March 30 with a possible sighting on Barfield Crescent Road. His family and friends have focused on community searches and fliers to help with the case. 

"The parent of a missing child always pays attention to stuff like that," Bo said. "I would tell his parents to stay calm and maybe one of these days he will come home."

Last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation doubled the reward to $50,000 for information leading to the recovery of Tabitha and the prosecution of those involved in her disappearance.