UTICA, IL — It has been 25 years since the tragic kidnapping and murder of 21-year-old college student Tammy Jo Zywicki, but the FBI and the Illinois State Police have never stopped searching for the young woman’s killer.
Now they are offering a five-figure reward to anyone who can help crack the case.
Zywicki vanished on August 23, 1992. According to authorities, the Grinnell College senior was on her way back to school in Iowa after driving to her brother to his college in Evanston, Illinois.At the time, it was reported that a tractor/trailer was seen near Zywicki’s vehicle. The trucker was described as a white male who was about 40 years old, over six feet tall, with dark, bushy hair.
Nine days later, Zywicki’s body, stabbed and possibly strangled, was found nearly 500 miles away in Missouri. She had been wrapped in a sheet and blanket and bound in duct tape.
The FBI and the state police have been working closely together to review more than 200 pieces of evidence in the case file, and determine which pieces could benefit from the newest DNA extraction techniques.
These include the blanket, sheet, and duct tape Zywicki was wrapped in, shoelaces found at the scene, and other items that investigators believe could contain the killer’s DNA. So far, they have only found DNA in one item — a beer can found near where Zywicki’s car.
According to authorities, that DNA profile has not matched any known offender — and they are not even certain if the can is connected to the crime.
Some of Tammy’s personal property is known to be missing, including a Cannon 35mm camera, a musical wristwatch with an umbrella on the face, and a soccer patch that was reportedly missing from the shorts she was wearing.
The FBI is continuing to offer a $50,000 reward in the case.
JoAnn Zywicki, Tammy’s mother, said she was happy that the investigation is continuing and hopes that it will lead to answers, saying “I never give up hope.”
Main photo: Tammy Zywicki [FBI]