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  #151  
Old 12-23-2003, 03:00 PM
johnny johnny is offline
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Tabitha's family holds out hope for Christmas miracle

http://www.wkrn.com/Global/story.asp...9&nav=1ugBJpdg


The holiday season has been tormenting for the family of Tabitha Tuders. The East Nashville girl has been missing since April. Now her family is holding out hope they will receive the best Christmas gift ever - that she will be found.

Beautifully decorated and adorned with just the right ornaments, the Tuders family Christmas tree is almost perfect. Except this year, 13-year-old Tabitha isn't here to help in the holiday tradition.

Tabitha's father Bo Tuders said, "Me and Tabitha we usually put it up. I actually didn't want to put one up, 'cause she wasn't here, but then we had to put it up because of the grandkids and stuff."

Ceramic angels hang from the limbs. They were the decorations that Tabitha loved most.

"She just liked them - I guess because they're pretty and stuff, and because they're angels, she really liked them," said Bo.

At the top of the tree, the family has placed missing posters as a reminder this Christmas will be unlike any that the Tuders have ever had before.

Bo said, "It's actually hard to describe - it's heartbreaking. We don't know if she's going to be here for Christmas, but we're still prepared either way. We still got gifts for her that we're going to stick up under the tree and stuff."

Metro Police tell News 2 their search for Tabitha is neverending.

Metro Police Det. Faye Okert said, "Something happened that morning. What it is we don't know, but we're developing people of interest, and we're interviewing, and we're actively searching for her."

One frustrating aspect of this investigation for detectives is they still run into people who think Tabitha's come home already or that she's been found. But they say people need to remember that she is still missing and she needs to come home. A $21,000 reward is being offered for information that can help find Tabitha. If you have any information, you're asked to call Metro Police at 862-8600.

Dorinda Carter for News 2 at 10 pm
12.22.03
__________________
So you think that the world owes you something, Hey baby so do I
But you sink like a stone from the weight of the debt
Its so heavy it makes you cry
And you think that your innocence is somewhere
south of the Georgia line
But for all of the days that you spent headed south its still five below when you open your mouth
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  #152  
Old 12-23-2003, 07:50 PM
johnny johnny is offline
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Family Keeps Hope That Tabitha Is Still Alive

http://www.newschannel5.com/content/...tabitha+tuders

Despite bad news from a nationally known psychic, relatives of a missing 13-year-old girl from Nashville aren't giving up.



Tabitha Tuders parents said they're still holding out hope their daughter will be found alive.

The Tuders said their grandchildren are the only thing that keeps them going.

Tabitha disappeared in April somewhere between her house in east Nashville and her school bus stop.

A psychic on the Montel Williams show spent about 15 minutes with the Tuders before telling them their daughter is dead.

“Once she told us she was deceased, it hurt…Until (the police) bring me her body and tell me she's gone, I'm going to believe she's still out there somewhere,” said Debra Tuders, Tabitha’s mother.

The Tuders said they turned the psychic's information over to Metro detectives.

The Tuders said other psychics have given them hope Tabitha is still alive, maybe in Louisiana, Mississippi or Texas, so they’re not giving up on their daughter.

They urged anyone with information in the case to call police.
__________________
So you think that the world owes you something, Hey baby so do I
But you sink like a stone from the weight of the debt
Its so heavy it makes you cry
And you think that your innocence is somewhere
south of the Georgia line
But for all of the days that you spent headed south its still five below when you open your mouth
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  #153  
Old 12-24-2003, 01:16 PM
johnny johnny is offline
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Psychic tells parents Tabitha is deceased

The parents of missing east Nashville teen Tabitha Tuders were told their daughter was dead last week by a popular psychic at a taping of the Montel Williams talk show in New York.

Psychic Sylvia Browne gave them some specific information about locations and possible names related to the case, which neither the family nor the police would talk about in detail.

Detective Faye Okert said police are looking into the information but are continuing to knock on doors, conduct interviews and track down people of interest.

''A psychic is a psychic, but we're following up with anything we get,'' Okert said. ''I guess she could be right.''

The 13-year-old girl disappeared on her way to the bus stop April 29, seemingly without a trace.

Debra and Bo Tuders were one of six families on the daytime television talk show who received Browne's insight into their personal tragedies.

Tabitha's parents sat on a couch facing the psychic. Browne told them at the beginning of the reading, ''Your daughter is no longer with you,'' Debra Tuders said yesterday.

''When she told me, my heart just fell, but I'm not going to really believe her until they bring me Tabitha's body. I'm not going to believe it.''

The appearance, scheduled to air at the end of January or in early February, was the second national TV appearance the Tuderses have made. They were on The John Walsh Show in June. The Tuderses said this was another opportunity to show Tabitha's name and face to a national audience.
__________________
So you think that the world owes you something, Hey baby so do I
But you sink like a stone from the weight of the debt
Its so heavy it makes you cry
And you think that your innocence is somewhere
south of the Georgia line
But for all of the days that you spent headed south its still five below when you open your mouth
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  #154  
Old 12-28-2003, 07:37 PM
johnny johnny is offline
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So-called psychics prey on desperate people

To the Editor:

One cannot blame Tabitha Tuders' parents for going on the Montel Williams show and trying to find a glimmer of hope concerning her disappearance. (''Psychics tell parents Tabitha is deceased,'' Dec. 24)

The sad thing is, too many people who suffer a great loss like that rely on the words of so-called ''psychic mediums'' like Sylvia Browne. She and others like her (John Edward, James Van Praagh, et al) no more know the fate of a disappeared or deceased love one than any person off the street. They use a method of questioning called ''cold reading,'' which means they ask a person a lot of questions using names, letters and numbers at random. Once a person identifies with anyone of those, the ''psychic'' will build on this with more of the same until they have a general story about the missing or deceased.

The person in question's family, distressed and wanting to help as much as possible, usually gives all the answers about a person that the ''psychic'' would not know otherwise. These people prey on the emotions of others who have suffered a great loss and many get rich doing it.

Tabitha's parents should give no weight whatsoever to anything Sylvia Browne or those like her say concerning their daughter. Until Tabitha is found, hopefully alive, do not give up hope.

Ronnie Crutcher

Clarksville 37043

robinronnie@aol.com



My wishes for happier, cost-effective new year - Sunday, 12/28/03
...• Someone finds out what happened to young Tabitha Tuders.
__________________
So you think that the world owes you something, Hey baby so do I
But you sink like a stone from the weight of the debt
Its so heavy it makes you cry
And you think that your innocence is somewhere
south of the Georgia line
But for all of the days that you spent headed south its still five below when you open your mouth
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  #155  
Old 12-28-2003, 07:52 PM
johnny johnny is offline
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http://www.tennessean.com/government...nt_ID=44328215

Deb Faulkner

Position: Acting Metro Nashville police chief (2003 to present)

Years in law enforcement: 30

Age: 52

Race: White

Education: Doctorate, human development counseling, Vanderbilt University

Master's, criminal justice administration, Middle Tennessee State University

Bachelor's, broadcast journalism, University of Memphis.

Other notable experience: Faulkner, who had planned to start a career in journalism, worked briefly for WSM-Radio at the Grand Ole Opry as a college student. She was recruited to the Metro Police Department from the University of Memphis and has been there since.

Major recent accomplishments: Faulkner values service and volunteerism and serves on 16 community boards, including the YWCA, Girl Scout Council of Cumberland Valley, Catholic Charities, Goodwill Industries and You Have the Power.

Past positions: Faulkner is the highest-ranking woman to serve in the department. Before being appointed acting chief after former Metro Police Chief Emmett Turner retired in March, she served as a deputy chief over Field Operations, assistant police chief over Uniform Services and Administrative Services. She also has been an internal affairs investigator and headed the professional standards division.

The dish: Faulkner is a native Nashvillian who has garnered a great deal of support for police chief, but her leadership as acting chief also has been questioned, including by some black Nashvillians and some citizens concerned about the department's investigation of the Tabitha Tuders disappearance. A lot of her spare time is spent working on community boards, and she reaches out to neighborhood groups and citizens groups.

What others say: ''She's just an incredible force, and we in Nashville are very lucky to have her,'' said Verna Wyatt, a victims-rights advocate with You Have the Power.

What she says: ''I've worked very hard. I've been a very dedicated law enforcement professional. I care deeply about the city and the people that we serve, and I also care very much for the officers that wear our badge. I see it as a tremendous challenge, an honorable opportunity to represent the men and women in this department and to do all I can to make Nashville a safe place to live and work and raise our children.''
__________________
So you think that the world owes you something, Hey baby so do I
But you sink like a stone from the weight of the debt
Its so heavy it makes you cry
And you think that your innocence is somewhere
south of the Georgia line
But for all of the days that you spent headed south its still five below when you open your mouth
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  #156  
Old 01-08-2004, 11:56 PM
johnny johnny is offline
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Meet the Chief

Ronal Serpas--reformer, Cajun cook--comes to town

http://www.nashvillescene.com/cgi-bi...ws:City_Limits
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  #157  
Old 01-09-2004, 12:20 AM
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Ghostwheel Ghostwheel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny
Tabitha's parents sat on a couch facing the psychic. Browne told them at the beginning of the reading, ''Your daughter is no longer with you,'' Debra Tuders said yesterday.
You know, their daughter IS no longer with them. She MISSING! Hello...? How cheesy can you get?
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  #158  
Old 01-10-2004, 11:23 AM
johnny johnny is offline
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New Metro police chief ready to get started

http://www.tennessean.com/local/arch...nt_ID=45342678

In April 2003, Tabitha Tuders, a 13-year-old from east Nashville, disappeared on way to the school bus. Her case remains unsolved. How, as chief, will you proceed with this investigation?

I suspect that there is a lot of information about this case that I don't know, because I haven't had a chance to be brought up to speed on it.

I believe it is a tragedy to the family and the community. I believe it's the business that we're in to try to give some type of resolution for those tragedies. Anytime you have a child who has been taken from their family, I mean, that is really as (central) as it gets in our business, protecting children.

I'm going to want to know everything there is to know about that case as I would any case involving a child or a tragic loss of life. My style of management is I like to be up to speed on every case as they occur in Nashville. I have a BlackBerry (wireless communications device and organizer) I like to use. I like to get beeped by the communications section and say, ''Yeah, we had a shooting here tonight'' or ''We had an armed robbery.''

I want to know those things, because I believe they are important to my job to serve the community. So, in the case of the tragedy involving Tabitha, just as with any other child, I am going to want to know all about that case and want to know where we've been, and where can we go. Anything that comes to us. What more is a government's duty than to protect children? That's as fundamental as it gets.

Why did you become a police officer?

It was the family business. Before I became a police officer, I had been working in the respiratory care field. I really believe — and this sounds Pollyannaish — but I really believe it is a calling to want to help people. Over time, I realized being a police officer was where I thought I could do most of that, and I haven't turned my back on that since.
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  #159  
Old 01-17-2004, 11:47 AM
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Top cop says Tabitha top case, doesn't believe teen ran away

The search for missing east Nashville teen Tabitha Tuders is the Metro Police Department's No. 1 case, Police Chief Ronal Serpas said yesterday afternoon.

Also, for the first time since the 13-year-old disappeared April 29, Serpas publicly said the department does not consider her to be a runaway.

''I've been here for a week,'' he said. ''And in my mind she's not a runaway.''

Tabitha's father mouthed a silent ''Thank you'' when he heard those words spoken by the chief.

''She's not a runaway and everyone should know that,'' Bo Tuders said.

From the day Tabitha disappeared to the day Serpas took over the department, Acting Chief Deborah Faulkner never met with the Tuders couple, family spokesman Johnny White said. Yesterday was Faulkner's last day on the force.

Faulkner had been criticized for her handling of the case, including the department's initial stance that the girl who sometimes slept at the foot of her parents' bed might have left on her own. From the beginning, the Tuders family was vehement that Tabitha did not run away.

Faulkner talked to Bo Tuders twice on the phone and once drove by the house, where the Team Tabitha headquarters is based, waving but not stopping, White said.

Faulkner, who has resigned and taken her pension, could not be reached for comment last night.

Serpas met about 4 p.m. at the Criminal Justice Center with Bo and Debra Tuders ''to get brought up to speed, to put a family with a face and a mother and father with a child.''

The chief said he had been briefed about the case by detectives E.J. Bernard and Faye Okert, who also were present at the meeting.

''Effort is the wrong word'' for actions being taken by the two detectives, whose primary duty is the Tuders case, Serpas said. ''It's dedication.''

Okert said tips from the public have dropped off to a trickle but that she and Bernard were still following up on leads and rechecking facts.

''We welcomed him here,'' Bo Tuders said after speaking with Serpas. ''We want him to find our baby.''

Debra Tuders said she did not have any criticisms about the way the department has handled the case.

Serpas said keeping the case before the public was one of his primary strategies in the new year.

''The public should never forget any little piece of information, no matter how insignificant, may be important,'' he said. ''Give us the benefit of that information. We're not going to stop.''
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  #160  
Old 01-17-2004, 12:07 PM
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New Police Chief Meets with Tuders
Posted: 01/16/2004 8:26:49 PM

Metro's top cop says the search for Tabitha is the department's "number one" case.



The leadership at the Metro Police Department may have changed, but at least one of the department's priorities has not. New Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas met Friday with Bo and Debra Tuders. The Tuders' 13-year-old daughter, Tabitha, disappeared from their East Nashville neighborhood on April 29. Chief Serpas said he had been briefed on the case, but wanted to meet the Tuders personally. "I wanted to put a family with the face and I wanted to put a mother and father with the child," Chief Serpas said. The chief said he does not think Tabitha ran away. He urged anyone with information to call police.
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  #161  
Old 01-21-2004, 01:08 PM
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http://www.nashvillescene.com/cgi-bi...ws:City_Limits

Can Serpas Make Up for Lost Time?

The new police chief gives the Tabitha Tuders case top priority--nine months after her disappearance


By Matt Pulle


When new Police Chief Ronal Serpas declared publicly that he believes missing teen Tabitha Tuders didn't run away, he didn't just comfort her parents--he made it clear to both his force and all of Nashville that he's a new kind of boss. Unlike both acting Police Chief Deborah Faulkner, who resigned last week, and former Chief Emmett Turner, Serpas is more visible, outspoken and involved in day-to-day cases. He's the police chief Tabitha Tuders needed the day she disappeared from her East Nashville neighborhood.


Last Friday, Serpas held a press conference during which he announced that not only does he believe that the missing girl was abducted, but that the case will be the department's top priority. "I've been here for a week," he said. "And in my mind she's not a runaway."

It took the police department and then-acting Chief Deborah Faulkner months to come to the same conclusion. After Tuders disappeared from her East Nashville home on April 29, the police department insisted that she might have fled on her own, effectively dampening public interest in the case. In fact, Tuders, 13, earned straight As in her latest report card, left all her money behind in her room and had made plans with her friends later that week. A's Serpas quickly realized within days of being sworn in, Tuders hardly fit the profile of a runaway.

"After talking to the detectives, I don't believe she ran away," the chief tells the Scene. "I believe that given her background with her family, what happened that week, I just don't believe she ran away."

Under Faulkner, the police department lagged at keeping Tabitha's parents, Bo and Debra, updated about the case. Sometimes, the Tuders first learned about new developments by turning on the local news. And police were often slow to follow up on leads. In fact, it may have been the department's handling of the Tuders case that partly undermined Faulkner's candidacy for the job. (She failed to make the short list from which Mayor Bill Purcell chose Serpas.)

Meeting last week with the chief let the Tuders know that the investigation into their missing daughter wouldn't stall.

"It made us feel good to meet Chief Serpas," says Debra Tuders. "Chief Faulkner never came out and visited us face to face. I don't know why."

Serpas says that he met with the Tuders "to put a family with a face." He says, "I just wanted to know who they were."

To some more cynical observers, the chief's press conference might have seemed to be more about him than Tabitha. After all, he could have met with the family privately rather than invite local news crews. But the chief says that he wants to keep Tabitha's name and face in the press. In any case, part of his modus operandi clearly involves being a take-charge chief, a sharp departure from the laid-back, office-management approach that his predecessors took. Serpas, who wears his uniform every day to work, says that he wants people to see him and other command officers on the street. Being visible is an asset, he says. And many say that's one reason why he got the job.

"This is pure guesswork on my part, but I think that this is what Mayor Purcell wanted in a new police chief," says Metro Council member Mike *******, whose East Nashville district includes Tuders' neighborhood.

Johnny White, a family friend of the Tuders, is glad the chief is taking a more hands-on approach than his predecessor. "I think Chief Faulkner just got too callused," he says. "I had high hopes for her, but I kept waiting for her to come by and show us some effort was being done on the case." He adds, "If we could go back eight months with this chief I don't know what the outcome would be, but there would have been some major differences in how the investigation went. Especially early on."
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  #162  
Old 01-23-2004, 06:14 AM
dannyodie dannyodie is offline
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I just heard on the morning news on channel 2 that a small human foot was discovered in lavergne tn. not far from nashville, police are going to search the area today with more day light at hand. they believe that it is a foot of either a small petite woman or a child. at this time there is no link on the news 2 webpage since the page has not been updated. for those websleuthers that would like a link to the news site you can find it at www.wkrn.com
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  #163  
Old 01-23-2004, 02:16 PM
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At first they thought the foot was that of a person, then this morning they thought that it was that of an elderly person with arthritis.....turns out they found the foot to be that of a Black Bear that possibly a taxidermist disposed of the carcass.

http://www.wkrn.com/Global/story.asp...9&nav=1ugBKNSl
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  #164  
Old 01-23-2004, 02:20 PM
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Overhaul sex crime registry, group says

http://www.tennessean.com/local/arch...nt_ID=45878938
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  #165  
Old 01-26-2004, 01:05 PM
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Let public report on sex offenders, DAs say



_____Today's Top Stories_____

• 'Final mission': 101st heads home
• Let public report on sex offenders, DAs say
• Decade on death row hasn't altered plea: I didn't do it
• Williamson dog shelter overrun with gifts
• La Vergne considers land-friendly zoning category
• No Child Left Behind law providing stability to state's homeless students





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By IAN DEMSKY
Staff Writer


Proposed legislation would allow anyone with knowledge to disclose whereabouts

Proposed legislation to toughen state sex offender laws would allow any ''credible source'' to forward information to law enforcement about an offender's whereabouts, a draft of the legislation obtained Friday by The Tennessean says.

Under the state's existing laws, only the offender can update his or her information in the state's registry.

Last year, an examination of the state's sex offender registry by the newspaper found that 37% of the offenders in the state were not in compliance with registration laws or their whereabouts were unknown — even though some of the offenders were under probation or parole supervision or had been incarcerated. Others listed as in jail or prison had been out for some time.

District Attorney General John Carney, who was instrumental in researching and proposing changes to the law, gave an example of how the new law would work:

A sex offender moves from Knox County to Montgomery County and does not appear in person to notify law enforcement within the required 48-hour period. If a neighbor, his mother or another member of the public — what Carney called ''good citizen informants'' — phones in a tip that the offender has moved, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation would notify the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, which would try to verify the tip by going to Knox County.

Tips now are noted in an offender's file, but no one is charged with verifying them and the TBI cannot update an offender's information, even if the new information came from a district attorney or other official source.

In the example, if the sex offender were found to be living in Montgomery County, he could be arrested on a charge of violating the registration law, which under the new law would be a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

Or, if the offender was not living at the address at which he previously registered and had not notified law enforcement, a felony warrant could be sworn out for his arrest. The warrant would be entered into a national database, and if the offender was found anywhere in the country, he could be extradited to Tennessee for prosecution. The local district attorney decides whether to extradite.

''We designed the new law to utilize every bit of law enforcement function and ability,'' Carney said.

Under existing laws, convicted sex offenders must mail back registration cards every 90 days. If one comes back ''return to sender,'' another is sent 90 days later. If that comes back, too, the offender's address is updated in the state's computer system to ''unknown.''

''That's 180 wasted days,'' Carney said.

Then the local district attorney, after sending for an affidavit from the TBI on the violating offender, decides whether to prosecute.

District attorneys must be ''100% on prosecuting statewide,'' Carney said. ''We've got to, and we will.''

The proposed laws do away with the mailed cards, instead requiring violent offenders to register in person with local law enforcement once every 90 days and nonviolent offenders once per year, within the two-week period before and after the offender's birthday.

This will save the state $80,000 in mailing costs per year, Carney said. There will be a yearly fee the offenders will pay to help with the costs of administering the new laws.

Also, Carney said, if a missing offender from Knox County is found living in Montgomery County, he can be prosecuted there under the new law.

Another change to the law would require sex offenders who live in another state but work in Tennessee to register.

Proposed sex-offender laws

Here are some of the details of the proposed sex-offender laws, including some items that would be unique to sex-offender laws nationwide:

• There would be a distinction between violent and nonviolent sex offenders. Violent offenders would be required to register four times per year; nonviolent offenders would register once. All would have to register in person with their local law-enforcement agency.

• Once convicted and sent to prison or jail, sex offenders would have to register 48 hours before they were released. (Currently, they have 10 days to register after they get out.) When they change addresses, they would have 48 hours to re-register.

If they went back to jail for another offense or for violating their parole or probation, they would have to immediately update their information with the appropriate law enforcement agency. They would have to re-register within 48 hours of release.

Offenders living in nursing homes wouldn't have to register in person; however, a guardian or the facility's administrator would have to notify the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation of any address changes.

• Law enforcement would notify another state when a sex offender said he or she was moving there; they would ask the other state to verify the offender's address. If not, a felony arrest warrant could be issued for the offender.

• The agency that the offender registers with would have 12 hours to enter the information into the state's online database.

• Offenders would have to sign a registration form signifying they understand the laws and registration requirements. That way, they couldn't argue later that they didn't understand.

• A system is being developed also to track sex offenders who are considered ''homeless'' — defined as someone without a primary or secondary residence.

A primary residence is where a person stays for at least 14 consecutive days. A secondary residence is a place a person stays for 14 days out of a year, a place of employment or school where the person is for at least 14 days out of the year; or a place where a person stays four days in a row or four days out of any single month.

Offenders who move a lot, staying with relatives or friends, would still be required to register within 48 hours if they meet the secondary residence requirements, which also apply to out-of-state residences.

If they are truly homeless, they would still be required to register but could do so in person with any law enforcement agency. That agency, or any police officer who checked on them, could enter notes into the state database, updating the offender's most recent location and stated destination.

The details of the system to track ''homeless'' offenders are being developed.

• Each time an offender registered, he or she would be fingerprinted and photographed.

• After 10 years of good behavior, nonviolent offenders would be eligible to be excused from the registration requirements. However, failing to register or committing another offense would set that 10-year count back to zero
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  #166  
Old 01-27-2004, 06:21 AM
dannyodie dannyodie is offline
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sure would have been nice for this to have been inforced from the beginning. its about time that the state takes a look at a broken system, it would also be good that a offender not be allowed to live within 1 mile of any school system, but then that would probably be another issue all together.
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  #167  
Old 01-30-2004, 02:30 PM
johnny johnny is offline
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As far as sex offenders not living within a mile thats not quite stiff enough... maybe just drop everything except the not living!

Looks like there is a movement to make it mandatory for schools to call the parents if there kid is not in school by the second period. Possibly Senator Haynes is sponsoring the Bill and naming the Bill the Tabitha Law.
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  #168  
Old 02-05-2004, 07:50 PM
johnny johnny is offline
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SHE IS STILL MISSING!

We have taken up space here for over nine months and soon Tabitha will have a birthday Feb. 15 2004 and she'll turn 14. Doyle if you read this its ok to move her over to the missing but not forgotten.

She never was given our cities support that she deserves.
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  #169  
Old 02-06-2004, 06:31 AM
Doyle Doyle is offline
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Johnny,

You have done great efforts in your efforts to help...What can we do to help? Anyone live near Nashville?

Are there any search activities going on right now?
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  #170  
Old 02-06-2004, 07:41 AM
mindys mindys is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny
SHE IS STILL MISSING!

We have taken up space here for over nine months and soon Tabitha will have a birthday Feb. 15 2004 and she'll turn 14. Doyle if you read this its ok to move her over to the missing but not forgotten.

She never was given our cities support that she deserves.
No, not yet, don't give up hope, remember Elizabeth, just over 9 months later she came back, other's too. It can happen! Please don't move especially in the next few days as the Missing Forum is getting more traffic than usual.

http://www.rinokids.com/Children/Tuders/
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  #171  
Old 02-06-2004, 04:37 PM
johnny johnny is offline
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This guy reminds me of Calie Brucia's murderer (Joseph Peter Smith)

A New Suspect Emerges

Detectives investigate a convicted rapist who lived near Tabitha Tuders


By Matt Pulle


Metro Police detectives looking into the disappearance of Tabitha Tuders are investigating a prime suspect: Millard Earl Smith, a 52-year-old convicted rapist.


Smith is currently in jail, charged with attempted sexual battery and solicitation of a 13-year-old boy who went to school with Tuders at Bailey Middle School in East Nashville. He was arrested just in June, one day after a teenage girl claimed that he raped and kidnapped her in yet another case.

"They're putting a lot of emphasis on him having something to do with this little girl," says Smith's sister, who didn't want to be identified by name. "My brother has problems, but as far as him physically hurting a child, he's never done that." Smith was convicted of raping a woman in Rutherford County in the 1980s and was charged with rape in the 1970s.

While Metro police detectives have investigated several men with questionable backgrounds whom they thought might have had something to do with the 13-year-old girl's sudden disappearance last April, Smith's rape conviction and alleged involvement in two more recent sex crimes makes him, in the eyes of police, a strong suspect.

On May 23, less than a month after Tuders went missing, Smith allegedly lured a young boy onto his motorcycle after leading the boy to believe that he knew his mother. He picked up the boy outside his East Nashville home, just a few blocks from where Tuders was seen walking to the bus the morning she disappeared. According to Stephanie Machado, the boy's mother, Smith told him that he knew his mother, mentioning that she played pool at Harold's, a bar on Gallatin Road, and that she didn't drink. While Machado says that's an accurate description of her, she says she never met Smith and doesn't recognize him from his picture.

Still, Machado says that she took her son to the bar to watch her play pool a few times and wonders whether that's where he spotted him. If so, Smith must have studied her closely, and followed her home to figure out where she and her son live. "He had to have been plotting this for a long time for him to have known what he knew," Machado says.

According to the warrant, Smith took the boy to an abandoned trailer on Heathcoat Avenue off Fessler's Lane. Smith went into the trailer, at the top of a steep, secluded hill with a cemetery behind it. He tried to get the boy to follow him inside, promising a CD player, a radio, new clothes or $20 as a reward. The boy refused and, according to the 13-year-old, Smith said, "I'm going to break it down for you. I want you to come in here so I can masturbate you."

The boy ran to the trailer of a local groundskeeper, who promptly called the police.

"He was so terrified," Machado says. "When I got there, he just held me and cried." Machado, who notes that her son wouldn't even go outside to play until Smith was arrested, says that she hopes increased public attention on the case will make it more difficult for Smith to get out on bail. In the event that happens, she says her family will move.

Exactly a month after Smith picked up the boy, he allegedly lured a teenage girl from the Greyhound bus station by telling her that her boyfriend said it was alright for him to give her a ride. He took her on his motorcycle to the same abandoned trailer off Fessler's Lane, where he allegedly raped her at knifepoint. According to sources close to the investigation, the girl noted the license plate number of Smith's motorcycle. Police arrested him the next day at his sister's house in East Nashville. Shortly after that, the boy identified Smith from a photo lineup. The girl did the same. In addition, a medical exam found Smith's DNA on the girl. He remains in a Metro jail on $270,000 bond.




Accused of two sex crimes and now the focus of an investigation into a missing person case, Smith has a long criminal history that includes several rape charges, trespassing, disturbing the peace, arson and grand larceny. His sister says that he has served the better part of his adult life in prison. Smith was released from Riverbend Maximum Security Institution last November, and while his sister claims that he registered as a sexual offender, a search for him on the TBI's Sexual Offender Registry didn't turn up his name.


Sgt. Keith Elliott, who has monitored the investigations into Smith, says only, "I will let his criminal history speak for itself."

Astonishingly, Smith is hardly the bad seed of his family. His brother, Oscar Franklin Smith, was sentenced to die for shooting and stabbing to death his estranged wife and her two sons. Evidence presented at the trial included a 911 tape that recorded one of the boys saying, "Frank, no. God help me."

Police detectives confirm that they have talked to Smith and that he continues to be a "person of interest." Complicating the investigation into Tabitha's disappearance is that there is no shortage of shady characters who have frequented the young girl's neighborhood. One couple, who lived five houses down from Tabitha, were arrested for raping a minor. Another man who lived nearby frequented Tabitha's block, handing out bicycles as gifts to area children. He also spoke suggestively about the missing 13-year-old girl to several people, including Scene reporters.

Smith is different from the others in that there's no evidence he knew Tabitha or her family. Members of the Tuders family who were shown a mug shot say that Smith doesn't look familiar. But what makes him a prime suspect--in addition to his sordid criminal background--is that Smith was hardly a stranger to Tabitha's neighborhood. He picked up the young boy just a few blocks from where Tabitha waited for the bus each morning. He lived only a few miles away. And according to a source close to the investigation, Smith also apparently tried to entice girls onto his motorcycle at Shelby Park, less than a mile from the Tuders' house.

Smith's sister, who let her brother stay with her family shortly after he was released from prison, claims that he's innocent in both of the recent cases against him. "I guess the kid wanted to take a ride," she says, denying that her brother tried to molest the boy. As far as the rape charge, she says that there are no witnesses.

The sister seems torn by her obvious feelings of loyalty and the fact that her brother has lived a very troubled life. "He's never gotten any kind of rehabilitation," she says. "We've tried to get him some help, but you put someone in an animal atmosphere like that; what do you expect?"

The sister says that she can't vouch for her brother's whereabouts at 8 a.m. April 29, when Tabitha Tuders disappeared. He had been working as a mechanic at a small garage her brother and husband operated. He didn't have to sign in, so there's no record of when he arrived that day. She says that he normally arrived at work after 9 a.m. Asked further about what her brother might have been doing that morning, she says that "the detectives are aware of our routine, and he was part of our routine."

While continuing to concede that her brother did pick up a 13-year-old boy on his motorcycle, she insists he didn't try to molest the child. "He gave rides to kids in my neighborhood," she says. "He's not a mean, violent person; he's not a vicious person. He may have a bad side." According to police sources, there is an "open investigation" into whether Smith might have molested other children as well.



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  #172  
Old 02-07-2004, 12:42 AM
johnny johnny is offline
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http://www.wsmv.com/Global/story.asp...8&nav=1TcRKg7M

February 6, 2004

Do Metro detectives have the clue they need to solve the Tabitha Tuders disappearance case? It's possible, and it was found in the most unusual place.

Investigators have been super quiet about a glass window removed from a Metro Jail Cell. Scratched on the inside of the window was some writing that police believe could be connected to the disappearance and probable murder of the 13-year-old East Nashville girl.

Tabitha has been missing for more than nine months and up until now investigators have failed to turn up a single clue.

Metro Detective E.J. Bernard, recently assigned to the case, confirms the glass was removed from the cell door and has now been turned over to a handwriting expert. Handwriting samples have also been taken from a number of the jail inmates.

But the veteran detective refused to reveal details about the writing that was first discovered by sheriff's personnel. It was found after Bernard and others questioned five prisoners in the cell. One prisoner who reportedly had access to the cell is described by Bernard as a person of interest.

The officer says, "The writing on the glass window could be very helpful if the person we think wrote it actually did."

Metro authorities have also been in contact with Memphis police and the Shelby County Sheriff's office, but declined to say why.

Police here are now convinced Tabitha is not a runaway, as initially believed, but has been murdered.

More than a dozen polygraph tests have been conducted, including all of the family members twice, without any results.

Some on the city's sexual offenders list, neighbors, and numerous school children have been interviewed and re-interviewed without developing any evidence.

Bernard says Police Chief Ronal Serpas has put a high priority on the case.

If you think you can help with the Tabitha Tuders case please contact the Metro Police.
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  #173  
Old 02-07-2004, 12:48 AM
johnny johnny is offline
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From being treated like a runaway for nine months to reading the writing on the wall (or window) now they think its a possible homicide without any clues?

ps. They didn't have the compassion to call Debra and Bo (the parents) and let them know this story was going to air and for them to here for the first time that the police now are treating the case as a homicide?!?! The two detectives closest to the case whom Debra and Bo trust completely................. Somewhere there's a person that took there daughter and now the police have taken away ther hope.
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  #174  
Old 02-07-2004, 01:06 AM
cjones08
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Sex Offender Registry

I think that the TBI should allow parents to subscribe to the sex offender registry. That way a parent could be notified if a sex offender moves into their neighborhood. We need to be more proactive verses reactive.
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  #175  
Old 02-07-2004, 03:15 PM
dannyodie dannyodie is offline
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I think the idea that cjones has about people that register for email updates of sexual offenders which are about to be released from the system should be notified, the information is public info any way. in the most recent event of carlies abduction it really brings the reality of child abduction into the nations face, to actually get to witness the whole abduction on tape and to sadly learn of the outcome later., should be a wake up call to the law makers of this country that something has to be done to help protect our children,and in some cases old and young adults that turn up missing. the law should realize that not every sexual offender released is rehabilitated, it is a mental sickness and some of them are never cured of it.. and our children pay the ultimate price for there over sitesightness.
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