Tabitha Tuders: Today marks 18 years since disappearance; police still following tips in the case

Posted at 6:56 AM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 13:21:07-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Thursday marks 18 years since Tabitha Tuders disappeared in East Nashville. She was 13 when she left home to catch the school bus near her family's home on Lillian Street.

In the eyes of many, this case is the most high-profile missing person’s case in Music City.

Detective Matthew Filter said one witness reported in 2003 they saw someone call Tuders over to a car and she willingly got into it with somebody, while heading to the bus stop. Detective Filter said over the years, there have been so many leads and tips that have come in and many of them look promising.

However, he said then they get to the end of that trail, and it’s just another dead end. Then they’re back to square one.

"In a way we hold out hope that she is maybe is alive. That perhaps she was abducted and is the victim of human trafficking. But at the same time, we have nothing that necessarily points to that or there's nothing we can at least confirm that says she’s alive or dead at this point,” Filter said. "It’s just still a really active investigation even after 18 years. There's just a lot going on with it all the time.”

Last year, detectives searched a rural part of Hickman County after receiving a tip about the case. Records show the property was once tied to a man long considered a person-of-interest in Tabitha's disappearance.

Detective Filter said there’s still some information they’re working on in regard to that search, even all these months later, and there are still several persons-of-interest.

"Over the years, there’s been so many leads that have come in and tips that we’ve gotten and when we started looking into them and following that trail, things look really promising. It looks like this is it. This is what is going to solve this. We’re going to find out what happened to her or find out where she’s at or find out who did this and then we get to the end of that trail and it’s just another dead end," he said.

It’s been 18 years but detectives said if you know anything about the disappearance of Tabitha Tuders to give them a call or crime stoppers at 615-74 CRIME. Tabitha’s family is still hoping someone can step forward and give them closure.

Although many missing children remain missing after reaching the age of 18, their disappearances still remain under investigation by the TBI. The bureau has posted online a list of Tennessee's missing children, as well as children who went missing but would now be above the age of 18.