PERU, Ind. (AP) — State police investigator Mike Tarrh is hoping to jog the memories of people who knew Toni Spicer in an effort to solve her 20-year-old homicide.
The 27-year-old mother was found strangled to death Aug. 29, 1992, inside her trailer at Maple Lawn Village Trailer Court, just north of the Howard-Miami county line.
Investigators believe Spicer, the mother of three children, was murdered.
Spicer was employed at the Hip-Hugger in Kokomo. She worked the night of her death.
Police believe she was strangled sometime between the time between 3 a.m. — when her shift ended — and 7 a.m.
Her body was found by a baby sitter who brought two of Spicer's three children home.
Even though police were unable to find her killer, Tarrh said her case — like other cold cases — remains an active investigation.
"Basically, we have a new piece of information and we're hoping to generate more leads to this case," Tarrh said. "We hoping to talk to anyone that knew her or had a connection with her back then."
Detectives are hoping that with the passage of time, those reluctant to give information in 1992 will now feel comfortable talking.
"We like to hear from people who worked with her at the HipHugger in Kokomo or was with her on Aug. 28 and Aug. 29," said Tarrh.
The release of information on the case came at the recommendation of the Miami County prosecutor, he added.
Working a homicide is tough enough, but when it comes to a 20-year-old case, "it's extremely hard," said Tarrh.
"I can't tell you how many people I've talked to who had some association with the original case," he said.
Without any solid leads or eyewitnesses, investigating a cold case is even more difficult.
"Basically, it's a lot of talking with folks and a lot of dead ends," he said. "We interviewed a lot of people, but no one remembers seeing her leave with anybody."
The case has also been profiled on Crime Stoppers of Indiana.
Spicer lived in the trailer off and on with a boyfriend and her children. The boyfriend was questioned twice and "everything checked out on him."
DNA testing has proven successful in solving some old murders, but in this case, it was little help, the detective said.
"We're hopeful that might be a piece of the puzzle. We can't just rely on physical evidence or DNA. We have to try to put the pieces of puzzle together and, hopefully, getting the word out about the investigation will generate some new information."
Information from: Kokomo Tribune, http://www.ktonline.com