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ISP still on case 25 years after abduction, murder of college student

Tammy Zywicki | Sun-Times file photo

Wednesday marks 25 years since the day a college student from New Jersey left north suburban Evanston en route to a small college in Iowa, but never made it.

Her abandoned vehicle was found the next day on Interstate 80 in LaSalle County. The body of 21-year-old Tammy J. Zywicki was found a week later in a rural area of Missouri. She had been stabbed to death.

Illinois State Police and the FBI say the case remains active, they “continue exploring new leads” and they are still hoping someone comes forward with information that leads to a break in the case, information for which a $50,000 reward is being offered.

“August 23rd marks the 25th anniversary of Tammy’s death, and her case remains active,” a statement from state police said.

This jacket patch was one of the victim’s personal items which was never found. | Illinois State Police
This jacket patch was one of the victim’s personal items which was never found. | Illinois State Police

Authorities are “examining 200 items of evidence, and retesting items with modern DNA technology,” ISP said.

They are also looking for items of the victim’s personal property, including a Cannon 35mm camera and a Lorus brand musical wrist watch which played the tune “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” with a green umbrella on its face and a green band, ISP said.

There was a also a red and white soccer patch, monogrammed with “St. Giles Soccer Club, Greenville, South Carolina,” which was taken.

Zywicki was reportedly last seen with her broken down car on I-80 at mile marker 83 near Utica in LaSalle County between 3:10-4 p.m. on August 23, 1992. She had left Evanston for Grinnell, Iowa, and was expected to arrive that evening at Grinnell College, but did not show.

Tammy Zywicki’s white 1985 White Pontiac T1000 was found by a trooper abandoned on August 24, 1992, along I-80 near Utica. Her body was found a week later. | Illinois State Police
Tammy Zywicki’s white 1985 White Pontiac T1000 was found by a trooper abandoned on August 24, 1992, along I-80 near Utica. Her body was found a week later. | Illinois State Police

Her car, a white 1985 Pontiac T1000, was found abandoned by a state trooper and towed, hours before her mother called ISP from Marlton, New Jersey, to say her daughter had never made it to her school.Her body was found Sept. 1 along Interstate 44 in rural Lawrence County, Missouri, somewhere between Joplin and Springfield.

Police also reported that a semi truck was seen near her car, but do not know if it was involved in her disappearance and death. The driver was described as a white male 35-40, over 6 feet tall, with dark, bushy hair.

A convicted felon who died in 2002 was once considered a person of interest in the case, but authorities said after being investigated, they do not believe he was the killer.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the responsible party. Anyone with information should call ISP at (815) 726-6377, or the FBI at (312) 421-6700. Callers can remain anonymous.