Saturday, February 20, 2010

Still no closure for Z

Tammy Zywicki was a familiar name to many people in August of 1992.

Her name and photo and story were a constant for about 10 days nearly 18 years ago.

But unlike others who watched this story unfold, from her disappearance on a rural stretch of interstate in Illinois, to the finding of her body on a rural stretch of interstate in Missouri, I knew Tammy.

"Z" as many people called her at Grinnell College, was known by me and many of my friends at Grinnell. The school was small - 1,200 students or so at the time - and it was pretty difficult not to to know most everyone, in some way or another.

Tammy was such a strong and vibrant young woman. She was athletic, artistic, and knew how to mix working hard and playing hard. At just 5'2" tall, her personality made you think she was 6'1".

For most of the country in August 1992, Tammy Zywicki was a sad story.

For those of us from Grinnell College, she was a classmate, a teammate, a friend, a study partner, a drinking buddy...anything but just a headline.

And the reason it was her that lost her life to some monster who has never been found guilty or even charged? Because her car broke down.

In the year after Tammy's death, a group of current and former students started a non-profit group, Fearless, in her honor. I served for a short time on the board of directors, and one of the early goals was to do something to stop this from happening again.

An early plan was to fund putting emergency call boxes at certain distances across the entire US interstate system. This was in the days when cell phones were still a luxury, not commonplace.

As time went on, the technology of cell phones eliminated the need for the call boxes, and in fact made our streets and highways much safer. But it shouldn't be assumed that Tammy's story couldn't be repeated.

It could be your sister. Your girlfriend. Your neighbor. Your co-worker. It could be you.

One small thing you can do is join the group linked below on Facebook. With some strength in numbers, we might just be able to get Tammy's case back on the front page again.

Let's find out who killed Tammy Zywicki.

She deserves that, at the very least.


Jenny from the cellblock said...

I remember talking to her last on a really sunny day on Mac Field. She was riding her bike and stopped to chat. Can still see that moment so vividly.

Anonymous said...

This really shows that people do remember, great blog.