Nevada police have identified the body of a 41-year-old cold case as Tammy Corrine Terrell. The 17-year-old disappeared Sept 28, 1980, and police were finally able to match the remains to the DNA of her two living sisters. Officers hope this will lead to her killer.
According to reports, the young girl was last seen at a restaurant in Roswell, New Mexico with an unidentified white male and female at around 10 p.m. It was right after the state fair in Roswell, and police believe that the trio was planning on traveling to an unknown location in California.
A couple weeks later, on Oct. 5, 1980, the body of Terrell was found naked in a secluded area near Arroyo Grande Boulevard and Lake Mead Parkway, just outside Las Vegas. Her body was discovered by a motorist who was passing by. Police were unable to identify the body and she was called Jane “Arroyo Grande” Doe for the last 41 years.
Police officers reported that they had finally identified her remains during a press conference on Thursday.
“Now we’re only halfway there,” Henderson Police Captain Jonathan Boucher said. “Now the pursuit of Tammy’s killer or killers begins.”
Henderson police officers hope they can now identify the man and woman that Terrell was last seen with to better understand how the young girl died.
A Clark County coroner examined the body and determined that the young girl had died from blunt force trauma. Her death was labeled a homicide and according to reports she also had multiple head wounds, stab or puncture wounds in her back and face injuries. One of her front teeth had also been knocked out.
At the time of her death, no one came forward to identify the body. But that didn’t stop the Henderson police from working hard to identify Tammy Corrine Terrell.
Her information, including dental identifications and fingerprints, were logged into the national databases along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2015. Police circled a computer drawn picture of her hoping that it would lead to someone coming forward.
Identifying information in her file mentioned that she had a poorly drawn blue ‘S’ tattoo on her forearm and a vaccine scar on her bicep.
In 2016, officers exhumed her body for DNA testing and on Nov. 10, 2021, they were able to match Tammy Corrine Terrell’s DNA with two of her living sisters. They were able to do this through investigative genetic genealogy, which identifies certain characteristics in a person’s DNA and tries to match them to a living relative.
“Through this lengthy process, we located two of Tammy’s sisters who were able to confirm her identity when they supplied us with DNA,” said Boucher. “Tammy’s sisters, I will tell you were tremendously grateful to finally know what happened to their sister 41 years ago.”
According to the Henderson police, many of the officers developed a deep interest in the case of missing Tammy Corrine Terrell. Detective John Williams, who was one of the first officers to work on the case, paid for the young girl’s burial and even continued to investigate after he retired in 2006. Williams still visits her grave every year on the anniversary of her death.
“I was working homicide for several years,” Williams said. “And this was just one I basically took home with me.”
During the press conference, Boucher praised the work of the current lead detective, Detective Joseph Ebert, who put a lot of hard work into the case and was able to finally identify the young Jane “Arroyo Grande” Doe. Police hope to find more leads in the future and hopefully identify her killer or killers.
Anyone with information on the Tammy Terrell case is asked to contact Henderson Police Department at (702) 267-4750 or Crime Stoppers at (702) 385-5555 for anonymous calls.