This week Mystery Close to Home examines the murder of high school student Tara Rose Munsey, who was murdered and dumped in a ravine.
16-year-old Tara Rose Munsey was a student at Radford High School in Radford, Virginia, who was just your average American kid until she went missing.
Tara worked at Taco Bell in Fairlawn and the alarm was raised on January 25, 2000, after she failed to turn up home following her shift. A few weeks later on February 10, her body was found in a ravine near Parrott, she’d been sexually assaulted and shot dead.
The crime shocked the community and by 2001 the police had arrested family friend, Jeffrey Allen Thomas, and charged him with murder and attempted rape. Some gun casings found near Tara’s body and DNA found on cigarette filters that he liked to pull off linked him to the crime.
A jury found him guilty and without her mother’s intervention, he might have gotten the death penalty. A subsequent plea agreement saw him get life without the possibility of parole.
Doubly tragic in the case was that in 2013 just five days after Tara would have turned 30 and three days before the anniversary of her body being found, her father’s home burned down. Taking with it all his physical memories of Tara as her untouched room was destroyed in the blaze.
However, the community did rally and helped him with accommodation and even more importantly with some photos of Tara.
Mystery Close to Home airs on Tuesdays at 10:00 PM ON Investigation Discovery.