Missing Beauty Queen:Tammy Lynn Leppert 7-6-83 Part-2
First I would like to thank Suzanne for her kindness and patience with regards to my infinite number of questions. I imagine my eagerness to ask all those questions probably taxed her to one degree or another. During the entire day we traded emails back and forth she was always forthcoming and extremely kind. She truly is a wonderful person and for that I am truly grateful and appreciative. She continues to speak to her relatives that were closely related to Tammy from her mother's side and has nothing but good things to say about all of them. Funny thing is she has nice things to say about people who haven't treated her very kindly. Mr. Rue for example. That's just her personality. She is still very eager to find out what happened to her sister as I am sure all of her relatives still are. I will say that she has been very forthcoming over the years and most of what we discussed were just clarifications. If I remember correctly I was only able to confirm that Tammy did take her Step Father's (Richard Leppert) last name. Of which I had already established from news articles of the time. I would like to again thank Suzanne for her time and patience and hope and pray that her health issues improve so she can again lead the search to find her missing sister Tammy.
Well this case has it all:
Very Attractive Young Teenage Girl
Possible Serial Killer(s)
Possible Government Corruption
Possible Drug Connections
When one sits back and analyzes the information. You can make a "Who Done It" Murder Mystery out of this story. (Assuming one occurred to begin with)
So there are only 2 possible scenarios in my opinion.
*Tammy left of her own accord and never came back. And possibly attained an alternate identity.
*Tammy met with violence and or an accident after leaving of her own accord.
Ok, So I have seen a number of people on boards that feature this case say that Linda Curtis did it. (Tammy's Mom) I don't see any motive for that to be the case. Tammy was her bread and butter so to speak. There may have been tension at the time. But I do not think that Linda Curtis had anything to do with it. According to reports Linda Curtis was living with the Flanagans and she was running her talent agency at the same time as being Tammy's agent. A percentage of Tammy's income assisted her mother. Nothing to gain by getting rid of Tammy. I don't make too much out of the tension the two of them since Tammy was an 18 year old girl dealing with her mom. Anyone with kids can relate to that. Also, If Linda Curtis were involved in some way. She would have to have been aided by Keith Roberts. He picked her up. He was the last one to see her alive. Before she passed she alluded to Tammy being afraid of Roberts. And mentioned him in the police report. Her being involved just doesn't wash. She even tried assisting Tammy with her emotional issues she was having by having her admitted for a 72 hour evaluation. Some have hinted at psychological issues. I'm having my doubts on whether or not those issues were psychological to begin with. The Unsolved Mysteries segment tried to allude to her just being a nutcase. The more I read the less I believe that interpretation. Remember the rumor about Tammy possibly being 3 months pregnant? Maybe it was hormones.....
Or maybe she was depressed already and being pregnant triggered her
The pregnancy aspect is an interesting factor in the case. Even if I was only able to find that it was a rumor. Other say it's fact. I have not been able to confirm one way or the other. Who has the most to lose by being pregnant? Tammy's career would be slowed for awhile that's for sure. But she could resume it afterwards. We can already count out Linda Curtis. We establish she still had a business and that Tammy being gone would not help her at all. Plus she would have to have the assistance of Keith Roberts. Only to turn around and point her finger literally directly at him. Doesn't make sense. One could say the father of the baby has the most to lose. Whoever that may have been that is. I mean assuming the pregnancy rumor was true of course.
The interesting thing about Linda Curtis is her theory regarding what happened to her daughter kept evolving shall we say.
1) She was sure Roberts knew more than he let on. That Tammy was scared of Roberts. She seemed to be pointing a finger directly at him.
2) Then she was writing a book and screenplay accusing local elite of having something to do with it. Drug, Money Laundering, etc. Here is a quote from Linda Curtis about this:
"I want people over there to know I'm writing a book, I want to shake them up. I want the criminal to know they can't absorb my child or anyone's child without ultimately paying the penalty for it."
She also saidTammy stated a friend bragged to her on a large scale money operation in Brevard. Cops, Bankers, and Leading Citizens- the people in on the take were powerful enough to make Tammy fear she knew too much.
3) Then she was sure Christopher Bernard Wilder was involved. Interestingly she stated that someone who looked like him came in. She was sure it was either him or a twin.
Another statement that makes absolutely no sense in this scenario is "He talked to her, She was his contact." So she is either sure it was Wilder or his twin. Yet her daughter was his contact. She was Tammy's agent and she didn't know for sure if it was Wilder? Odd! One very interesting aspect of the Wilder scenario is that Linda filed the lawsuit against Wilder for a million dollars. She claims she only did so to get Wilder to answer questions about Tammy. Yet she filed for the lawsuit apparently (at least according to newspaper reports) AFTER Wilder was killed. So he couldn't have answered questions about Tammy. She later dropped the lawsuit tho. From what it looks like from my end. Her lawyer may have stated that its unlikely they'd win. And probably would have to put more money and effort into it than they were likely to receive even if they won.
What really escapes me is the last person to see her alive was Keith Roberts. Yet, At one point he was according to police "Immediately ruled out as a suspect" Why? I'd like to ask. I'm sure there are probably other cases where the last person to see a person alive was immediately ruled out as a suspect. But I can't remember any right off. Yet later on, Roberts broke two face to face meeting with the Police. So the Police obviously wanted to question Roberts. Yet he broke two meetings to do so. So now he was the last person to see her alive. And he also broke two appointments with Police. To be objective Roberts stated that he completely cooperated and was never asked by Police to come in for questioning. I'm not sure why the Police would lie about that. But they also stated that Linda Curtis's suspicions about Roberts never panned out either. Roberts also stated that he declined involvement with Unsolved Mysteries due in part to the questions that were being asked. Here is part of a Florida Today article by Billy Cox that talks about Roberts.
Lt. Jim Scraggs, who handled the case in 1983, says Curtis' suspicions about Roberts never panned out.
"Given no more information than we had, there wasn't much more we could do," Scraggs says. "There was nothing out of the ordinary about the guy. No criminal history, no nothing."
On the other hand, Scraggs recalls his two telephone conversations with Roberts as being "short and non-specific" He says the only thing that bothered him was when Roberts broke two appointments to come to the station for a face-to-face interview.
"That concerned me greatly," Scraggs says, adding, "Roberts was never properly interrogated."
Scraggs says he hasn't questioned Roberts in seven years.
Today, Roberts answers the telephone at a residential number on the original police report.
Roberts, a 30-year-old Melbourne car salesman, says he met Leppert in one of Curtis' acting classes around 1980. He says the Tami he remembers suffered a "drastic" and "weird" character change in the months before her disappearance. He says that she told him she was unhappy at home and that she wanted to leave.
"Everything seemed to be falling in on her at the time," Roberts says, "and she was acting real paranoid. She said that her mom had put her in a hospital against her will and that (Tami) was sleeping with a knife under her pillow - stuff like that. I don't know what happened to her. All I know is that there was this explosion, and she really freaked out."
Roberts says Leppert called him in Lakeland, where he worked in a bank, and asked him to drive over and pick her up. He says she also asked him to lend her some money.
"I didn't even have to get out of the car, she was waiting for me," Roberts says. "All I know is she wanted out."
Roberts says that he gave Leppert $300 and that she wanted him to drop her off with friends in Fort Lauderdale. Roberts says he didn't have time for that, suggesting instead that he take her home.
"At that point she said,'Let me out. Let me out! Stop, stop! So I just said OK, whatever you want," he says. "And that's the last I saw of her."
Roberts says that he cooperated fully with the police investigation and that he was never scheduled for an appointment at the Cocoa Beach police station. After initially agreeing to appear on "Unsolved Mysteries," Roberts backed out when he understood the proposed line of questioning.
"They were asking me questions like, 'Did I think Linda had anything to do with Tami's disappearance.' " Roberts says, "So I told them I wasn't gonna go on a show and start slinging mud on her mother. I told them everything I knew on the phone and that wasn't good enough."
Like I stated in Part One. Someone did post on the Sitcoms Online board and claim they were the ex wife of Roberts and that he apparently knew more or something. I saw the post. Didn't lend much credence to it at the time. If I remember right that's all the person ever posted to the board. No specifics. I could be wrong. I also read elsewhere that Roberts was arrested for aggravated assault on an ex as well. Again, Have not been able to verify that. I will continue to research that aspect of the case tho. I find it interesting that Linda Curtis was on the Unsolved Mysteries program as was Rick Adams. The story featured didn't leave you with the impression there was any foul play on behalf of the people that knew her. Yet, Roberts stated he declined to be on the program due to the questioning. He stated that they were asking questions related to implicating Linda Curtis. If you find the segment online anywhere you don't see anything related to that being implied. To be fair tho. Unsolved Mysteries could've had that approach to begin with. And then opted to do something else. But I will say that if I did do something to someone who for all intensive purposes "Disappeared". I wouldn't want my face connected to a segment on that program. I might even try to paint myself as a good guy and say I didn't do it for this or that reason. (You smell what I'm stepping in? ;) ) Now why would Roberts have a motive? It would have to be something that was sensitive in nature to him. (Stating this because he had no prior record at the time) Did Tammy know something? Did Tammy have something? In a Florida Times article dated 7/12/83 Linda Curtis stated this:
Curtis said her daughter left the house early Wednesday afternoon to go out with a visiting friend from Tampa, who Curtis only knows by the name of "Keith".
Leppert had been undergoing emotional and physical problems for a few months and had met with "Keith" to talk things out, Curtis said. But the friend dropped Leppert off just two blocks south of the glass bank on SR A1A in Cocoa Beach after a heated discussion, Curtis said. He was the last person to see her.
"From what he says she was just really upset," Curtis said, "And he didn't know how to handle that."
I found this part interesting:
LEPPERT WAS UNDERGOING EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL PROBLEMS FOR A FEW MONTHS AND HAD MET WITH KEITH TO TALK THINGS OUT.
Emotional and PHYSICAL PROBLEMS huh? Pregnancy "rumor" anyone? Not sure. But I will say that if some information comes out after all these years that says she WAS in fact pregnant. And say if continuous research going forward shows that Roberts WAS in fact arrested for aggravated assault. Whether it be an ex or not. That would be VERY INTERESTING wouldn't you say? And to talk WHAT OUT? What could it have been that the two needed to talk out? Hmmmmm ;) Apparently whatever they talked out took around 2 hours. He picked her up at 11am and dropped her off at 1pm. (In or around)
To be objective though, Six days after she disappeared an article appeared in the Florida Times by Hanah Lea Skolnick. (6/12/83) It states in the article:
Lt. David Bartman of the Cocoa Beach Police Department said his officers' task was made more difficult by the delayed report and by the fact that Leppert, who recently turned 18, is legally an adult.
They are combing the beach area and distributing fliers with Leppert's picture, as well as following up possible leads, Bartman said. But foul play is not suspected and there is no indication Leppert was taken anywhere against her will, Bartman said.
Leppert has blond hair, hazel eyes and, at 5-feet 4-inches tall, weighs about 105 pounds.
BUT FOUL PLAY IS NOT SUSPECTED AND THERE IS NO INDICATION LEPPERT WAS TAKEN ANYWHERE AGAINST HER WILL.
According to CCBPD Capt. Bob Wicker:
"I can't say there was anything unusual about the case. Other than some faintly problems I understand she was having at home."
So as you can see. The Police initially thought there was no foul play. No foul play? No Suspects. But their opinion regarding that seemed to change after a time. Otherwise they wouldn't have asked him (According to them) to come to the station for a face to face interview.
I rate Keith Roberts high on my suspects list that's IF a crime was committed to begin with.
The calls to her Aunt Ginger:
I personally believe that she didn't phone her Aunt Ginger like it was reported she had done. She may have made a call to her. But 3? But I'm not entirely convinced it went as it was reported. First why call 3 times? No one else that were close to her received any calls like the ones that were reported. Only Ginger. Plus its said that messages were left. And that she sounded scared. Why not call her mom? Or Rick Adams. Or the Police for that matter. When did this detail emerge? Because the Police initially stated that there were no hints that she was taken against her will. Did Linda Curtis not inform the police of this little detail? So Ginger didn't either? I'm not buying it. I believe this was something to try and get a reaction out of the last person to see her alive. No newspapers at the time spoke to Ginger regarding the calls or messages. And if messages were recorded. You'd think she would've saved them and gave them to police. At the time the messages were stored on the answering machine and played back until you wanted to delete them. Yet the police have yet to comment on the recordings. That's if there were any to begin with. However, If she did make a call to her Aunt Ginger's store. From a payphone that is. That backs up Roberts story of dropping Tammy off.
Conspiracy Theories involving Drugs and Money Laundering:
I looked up this but I didn't do it for very long. Like I said it was one of only a number of conspiracy theories about what may have became of Tammy Lynn. I can't correlate any direct evidence to this theory. Other than Linda Curtis. Wander what ever happen to that screenplay and book idea? However news articles regarding Brevard County show a large amount of corruption involving the local government. Even dating back to the 80s. But I haven't dedicated a large amount of time to investigating this aspect. I did provide a few links above. I'd like to state one thing about this scenario. If the local government was a corrupt as Linda stated. If they were involved with Money Laundering and Drugs etc. (Not stating they weren't.) They could've just as easily just pinned Tammy's disappearance on Wilder. Blamed him and be done with it. He can't say he didn't either since he is dead.
Not gonna spend a lot of time on this. Suzanne told me already, As I previously read. That both Crutchley and Wilder were already counted out as suspects. I wouldn't give up on the Wilder aspect so easily. But LE may have only went to him after hearing what Linda stated about him coming into the agency.
TAMMY LEAVING OF HER OWN ACCORD NEVER TO RETURN:
Very possible this happened. If she was pregnant. If there was tension between Linda and Tammy. I can see this happening. The only thing that bothers me about this is. Tammy would have to have really hated her mother. From personal experience I do NOT get along with my mother at all. I don't talk to her. However, If she was on her death bed like Linda Curtis was. And wanted to know if I was ok. Like Linda did with Tammy. I'd call or see my mom. Yet, Tammy apparently didn't. This aspect goes against everything I have ever read about Tammy. Tammy once gave up a crown at a beauty contest to someone who thought they won because the announcer called the wrong person the winner. That alone suggests to me that this scenario isn't likely. Unless, There is a lot more to the relationship between Linda and Tammy that has yet to be revealed. Roberts stated he dropped off Tammy Lynn at 1pm near Glass Bank. Suzanne stated there was a tip that a motorist saw Tammy or someone that looked like Tammy hitchhiking. If the tip is credible that not only backs up Roberts story. But also backs up Tammy leaving of her own accord. That suggests either she stayed away all this time. And never used her SSN again. (Whichever one that may have been) Or adopted an alternate identity or something. But even if she hated her mother. Which I don't believe. She would also have to hate all the members of her family that have been searching for her all these years. Kinda hard to believe. But possible nonetheless. Maybe she just wanted out completely as Roberts suggested. The calls that Harold Lewis talked about receiving at the station lends credence towards that possibility. The calls stated Tammy was alive and would contact her family soon. And the other about her becoming a nurse. Linda Curtis didn't believe that because Tammy was scared to death of blood. Hence the Scarface incident. However, I have a good friend who was also scared of blood. Who became a registered nurse. So its not outside the realm of possibility. I will also say that her best friend Rick Adams stated Tammy told him she might be going away for awhile. Which also validates the theory she left of her own free will.
TAMMY LEFT OF HER OWN ACCORD AND MET WITH AN ACCIDENT OR VIOLENCE AFTERWARDS:
This is likely as well. Maybe she left with Roberts. Things became heated. And something happened. Or maybe she asked Roberts to drop her off. He did. And she was hitch hiking and a piece of shit son of a bitch like a Crutchley or Wilder killed her. Roberts stated he loaned her money. $300 is not a bad amount of money. People have been killed for a lot less. And a gorgeous woman like Tammy hitch hiking. A beauty queen. I mean who wouldn't pull over for a damsel in distress? Or possibly it was an accident. A botched abortion? Assuming she was pregnant of course. There are so many possibilities regarding this.
The facts of the case indicate something happened of an undesirable nature to Tammy Lynn Leppert. I believe she was mad at her mom at the time. She may have wanted out as Roberts suggested. I have a tendency to believe she was in fact pregnant. And that Roberts may have been the father. I have zero evidence to back up that theory. But it fits the facts. Keith Roberts was the last person to see her alive. He went from not being a suspect. To the Police wanting to question him. And he cancelled two face to face meetings. Didn't appear on Unsolved Mysteries either. So he apparently wasn't concerned with where she was at. At least not enough to appear on the program. Even if the questions were not ones he liked. He could have just said he didn't believe Linda Curtis had anything to do with it. We have a tip involving ONE MOTORIST. I mean look at her pictures. Whether she had combed her hair or not. I think more would have noticed Tammy. I almost want to believe someone else phoned in that tip almost to validate Roberts story. I do agree with Linda Curtis. By all accounts. Roberts knows more than he has let on.
For all interested I plan on doing a follow up to this which would end up making this a 3 part post. The 3rd will be the final post on Tammy Lynn Leppert. This will likely be a month or so down the road.
"ELIMINATE ALL THE OTHER FACTORS, AND THE ONE WHICH REMAINS MUST BE THE TRUTH."