Tara Calico

Tara Leigh Calico was born on February 28, 1969. Tara graduated from Belen High School in 1987 and then went on to attend the University of New Mexico – Valencia Campus, 15 miles away from her home. On September 20, 1988 at the age of 19, the promising college sophomore disappeared about 150 yards from the Rio Communities golf course near her home in Belen, New Mexico. Up until 10 years ago her case was believed to be a kidnapping and received extensive coverage on 48 hours, A Current Affair, Unsolved Mysteries, America’s Most Wanted , and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

On June 15th, 1989, a Polaroid of an unidentified young woman and a boy, bound and gagged was found in a parking lot at a convenience store in Port St. Joe, Florida. It was believed that the young woman in the picture was that of Tara Calico. The boy in the photo was believed to be a New Mexico boy by the name of Michael Henley. There has been much speculation on whether the young lady in the photo is Tara Calico, in which her mother, Patty Doel, believed it was.

After the photo was found the case on Tara Calico had seem to have gone cold. It wasn’t until the 20th anniversary of Tara’s death in 2008 that the Belen News Bulletin published an article stating that Rene Rivera, Sherriff of Valencia County, knew what happened to Tara Calico. Rivera states, he knows the names of those involved, but without a body he cannot make a conviction stick. Since this is an ongoing investigation he cannot release the names of the young men and the community leaders that were “allegedly” involved in Tara’s death and disposal of her body and bike.

In this documentary we will remember Tara and let the world know what happened to this young woman. Through this we hope to bring forward information to be able to locate her body, so that she may finally be put to rest.

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Filmmaker Statement:

With the blessing of her stepfather, the documentary was started out of outrage and frustration on my part when I read the article on the 20th anniversary of her disappearance. Outrage at the cover up by the parents who were involved with her disappearance, and frustration that several of the boys, now men, that were involved with her death, are alive and well and living in the community.

I knew Tara, like most people in the community did, and when I heard of her disappearance I was deeply saddened by it. Over the years we would get bits and pieces of information, basically leading nowhere. We all had hope that maybe one day Tara would show up somewhere and we could watch her grow old and lead a fulfilling and promising life. Just like she was supposed to........just like the rest of us.

That day never came.

It took me a year to decide to do this documentary. There are many important reasons why I shouldn’t do it, but the few reasons on why I should do it out weighted the former and won the argument. When I started out on this journey, I was very determined to tell the world who these people were and to bring them to justice. What I wasn’t prepared for was to actually find out what had happened to her.

I think it is important to tell her story to the world for many reasons, but more importantly, I think we should remember Tara, and the beautiful spirit she really was. I also sincerely hope that one day we can find her remains and put her body to rest appropriately.

I have worked on many important causes and projects over the years, but this is one of those projects that actually changes you, and I feel myself changing everyday.

I would like to say a special thank you to everyone who is currently donating their time to help move this project forward or helping the project in general. They include: Miguel Govea, Kurt Weiss and ThinkTank LA, Alan McBride, Jorge Montijo, Melissa Balin, my New Mexico friends who feel passionately about it (but have to remain nameless for specific reasons) and those who have yet to come forward.

This project couldn't move forward without all your help!



If you have information, memories, or photographs of Tara that you would like to share please email



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