New information in Tabitha Tuders case gives parents hope

Age progression of Tabitha Tuders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Metro police detectives are busy fielding tip calls after the release of new information in the Tabitha Tuders case.

“We just got to keep praying every day that we are going to find her,” said Debra Tuders, Tabitha’s mother. “The not knowing is the hardest part.”

Tabitha Tuders (Photo: WKRN)
Tabitha Tuders (Photo: WKRN)

Tabitha was last seen walking to her school bus stop when she was 13 years old in April 2003. Monday is her 26th birthday.

“I’m a strong person and I am going to keep staying strong until we find my daughter,” said Debra.

She is keeping her word even during her battle with Leukemia. She was diagnosed in June.

“I knew I wasn’t going to give up because I had the faith that I could survive it and I got the faith that I am going to find my daughter one day,” Debra explained.

She is now in remission as detectives investigate the new lead in her daughter’s case.

On Tuesday, Metro authorities released a mugshot of man named Juan who they want to talk to in relation to the Tabitha Tuders case.

The new information has generated information that police are looking into.

Investigators say Juan may have lived or hung out in East Nashville when he was 19 at the time of Tabitha’s disappearance.

Detectives believe the information they’ve received after News 2’s story on Tuesday is credible.

(Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)
(Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)

The Tuders family told News 2 they are very hopeful that this latest development might lead to a break in the case. Debra’s husband Bo said it is reassuring.

“It lets us know that they are still working on it. They’re like us, they’re not going to give up,” said Bo.

Debra and Bo both said they don’t recognize Juan. Still, they hope someone will recognize him and call police.

“Maybe we’ll find out where she’s at or who’s got her, if she’s deceased,” said Debra. “If anybody knows the Juan guy, I pray and wish they would just come forward and give the detectives any kind of information that they got that can lead me to my daughter.”

Any with information about him or the case as a whole should contact Det. Steven Jolly at 615-862-7843.

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