48 Hours on ID: NCIS is investigating the 1989 murder of Jean Marie Tahan, who everyone called Annie by her boyfriend and US sailor, Chief Petty Officer Michael Paalan.
On November 7, 1989, a passing motorist on State Highway 46 near Ridgeland, Jasper County, SC, noticed the burned remains of a human body on the side of a road.
Further investigation of the remains revealed that the victim had been placed in a Navy bag before they were set on fire. An autopsy also proved that they had been savagely beaten and stabbed over 30 times.
Unfortunately, the body had been so badly mutilated that it made identification impossible. The case was put down as a Jane Doe and remained unsolved for years.
It was 1995 before a facial reconstruction of Jane Doe’s face led the remains to be identified as belonging to Annie Tahan. Annie was a mother of three who had gone missing from her home near the Charleston Naval Base in November 1989.
NCIS began investigating the case of Annie Tahan
NCIS agents began looking into the investigation after members of Annie’s family started asking questions around the naval base in Charleston about her death. They soon discovered a link between Paalan and Annie.
According to friends, Annie had been swept off her feet by Paalan, who she found to be charming and intelligent. Annie was ecstatic to learn that she was pregnant once again, and she hoped she and Paalan could build a life together.
NCIS agents later learned that Paalan had bludgeoned Annie to death at their home in Charleston. He then left her remains by the side of the highway in Jasper County.
In 1996, Paalan was charged with premeditated murder and was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. He served approximately 17 years of his sentence at the US Army Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
Annie’s family became very distraught when they learned he was released to a halfway house in February 2013.
More from 48 Hours on ID: NCIS
Follow the links to read about more murders investigated by the navy’s agents.
Marine Justin Huff was abducted from a naval base in Virginia and had his throat slashed by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cooper Jackson. Jackson mistakenly assumed that Huff had raped his girlfriend.
Pamela Hartley slowly fed her husband, Navy Lt. Lee Hartley, arsenic poisoning for months. Doctors were unable to comprehend why Hartley was sick, and he eventually died in agonizing pain. His wife later explained that she wanted out of the marriage but didn’t want to give up her status as a Navy wife.
48 Hou on ID: NCIS airs at 8/7c on Investigation Discovery.