NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Metro Nashville Police Department confirmed to News 2 Sunday their Cold Case Unit, which also investigates missing persons, received an anonymous tip Tabitha Tuders may be in Nebraska.
Metro authorities then passed the information on to law enforcement in Nebraska.
News 2 also confirmed the Fremont Police Department in Fremont, Nebraska, has told their officers to be on the lookout for a woman matching Tuders’ age-progressed description.
It is the kind of thing that happens every so often in one of Nashville’s longtime missing children mysteries.
“I went out there right away when I heard,” Fremont police Lt. Ed Watts told News 2 Monday in reference the tip about Tuders.
Their police department was told she was staying at a large prominent church in the town, which is located about a half an hour northwest of Omaha.
Watts said he heard the tip from Metro police on Friday and immediately received an age-progression flyer that he took to Fremont’s prominent Good Shepard Lutheran Church.
“I knew it was not one of those churches that regularly offers shelter for people, but I checked with everyone there on Friday to see if they might have seen Tabitha Tuders,” the lieutenant explained.
He said he spoke with church staffers, ranging from the office manager to maintenance personnel, but they did not have a place where someone like the long-missing Nashville girl might have been staying.
None of the church staffers said they positively recognized the young woman shown to them in the age-progressed pictures.
“The picture is one of those that could look like a lot of people here,” added the Fremont investigator while noting that Eastern Nebraska is full of blonde women because of its heavy Scandinavian-German heritage. “But nothing jumped off the page for anyone.”
Despite that, Lt. Watts said they will of course distribute the fliers and continue to keep an eye out in the community.
“When you hear of these tips as a police officer, there is nothing more you’d like to do than deliver that missing girl to her parents,” he added.
Tuders disappeared on April 29, 2003 as she was walking to the bus stop near her east Nashville home on Lillian Street.
She was 13 years old at the time of her disappearance. She would be 25 this year.
Her disappearance is one of Nashville’s biggest mysteries. Leads and tips have come and gone. The detective in charge of the case retired and there’s a new detective with new eyes looking through the cold case.
The latest tip is just one more episode in a difficult, heart-wrenching 12 years for her parents, Bo and Debra Tuders.
“When they have tips like this, we don’t really get our hopes up real high because what happened in Vegas,” Debra told News 2. “We were real happy, thought we was going to get her back but didn’t.”
Her voice drops off when remembering there were reports of Tabitha spotted in the famous Nevada city in 2010.
“We can’t take it to heart unless they say, ‘We have her and you’ll need to come look at her,'” added Bo Tuders.
Yet, the hopeful parents are still appreciative of any help, any interest that may come to Metro police while painfully aware of a fast-approaching milestone.
“If we have to go through this another year, she will have been missing longer than we had her,” Tabitha’s father said sadly. Here more from the Tuders in the video below this story.
Anyone who may have seen or heard something that they believe could be helpful in some way is being asked to contact Metro police at 615-862-8600 or Nashville Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME.