Tammy J. Zywicki, W/F, born 3/13/1971 disappeared on August 23, 1992 and her body was located September 1, 1992. She left from Evanston, IL, headed for college in Grinnell, Iowa, where she was expected to arrive later the same evening. She was ready to start her senior year in college at Grinnell. Her car was found by an Illinois state Trooper and ticketed as being abandoned the day she disappeared.
Her body was located along Interstate Highway 44 in rural Lawrence County, Missouri, which is located between Springfield and Joplin, Missouri. Zywicki was stabbed seven times, with a small knife, such as a pen knife. Her body was found about 14’ from the pavement, wrapped in a blanket with duct tape on the ends. She was dressed in different items than the ones she was wearing when she left Evanston and wearing underwear her mother stated were not hers and that she would never have worn.
She was last seen with car on Interstate 80 at mile marker 83, which is in LaSalle County, Illinois, between 3:10pm and 4:00pm on August 23, 1992. A tractor/trailer was reportedly seen near Zywicki’s vehicle during this time period. The driver of the semi was described as a white male between 35 and 40 years of age, over six feet tall, with dark, bushy hair.
Tammy’s personal items were missing when the car was recovered, including a Canon 35mm camera and a musical wrist watch that played “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head,” with an umbrella on its face.
Tammy Zywicki is one of the many women who have disappeared while traveling on the interstate. Nationwide, many many women have gone missing in this manner and truckers are suspected in some of these crimes, being natural suspects due to the nature of their jobs and in some cases, because a trucker was seen near the crime scene.
Tammy didn’t have a cell phone, GPS, nor any of the other safety features that young women might have available today.
Tammy was well liked, active in sports and popular in her hometown. Her cat, Bob, thought the world revolved around her.
A now deceased trucker, Lonnie Bierbrodt, was identified as the man who was seen talking to Tammy the day she disappeared but he has not been definitively identified as her killer. A witness reported seeing a green Datsun pickup parked behind her. The hood of her car was reportedly up and the previous day her car had overheated. Bierbrodt was not only a trucker, allegedly on vacation at the time Tammy went missing, but he owned a green Datsun pickup that was found after it had been steam cleaned and sold.
Tammy’s car was a white four-door 1985 Pontiac T1000 hatchback.
The Illinois State Police requests that anyone with information about this case contact Special Agent Jorge Fonseca, 815-726-6377, ext. 286. If that special agent is no longer available, inquire for the new agent assigned to this case. It is not unusual for people to get promoted, transferred, retired, etc. and case responsibility for cases can change often. That lack of continuity can also affect case management.
Maybe you were traveling somewhere along her route on August 23, 1992. That was a busy travel time for college students headed back to school.
Maybe you know of similar homicides that occurred in that decade, along a lonely stretch of interstate.
It only takes one right tip to lay the case to rest, the right tip. Newly elected Gov. Rauner of Illinois is being requested to release more information about this killing, with the hopes that it will jog someone’s memory about that fateful day in August 1992.