Details of Disappearance
Tammy and her friend, Angela Rader
, were dropped off at William Ruffner Junior High School by one of the girls' relatives on February 7, 1977 in Roanoke, Virginia. The girls did not attend classes that day and were last seen hitchhiking in the city. Neither girl has been heard from again.
Angela and Tammy had run away together several times before their disappearances in 1977. The police originally did not take their disappearances seriously as a result.
Several months after their disappearances, one of the girls's mothers got a phone call from someone saying she was her daughter and was all right. Tammy and Angela were also allegedly seen in a grocery store in the months after they vanished but that sighting was never confirmed.
The girls' mothers told authorities that Tammy and Angela worked for a friend of their families, Earl Conrad Bramblett, in 1977. A photo of Bramblett is posted with this case summary. Tammy's mother stated that her daughter was friends with Bramblett and his wife at the time, frequently spending time at their home. He did not seem to have any adult friends, just children. Investigators believe that Bramblett may have been involved in Tammy and Angela's disappearances. He reportedly told friends at a party in 1980 that he wished he did not "hurt Tammy" back in 1977.
Bramblett was charged with molesting a ten-year-old girl in 1984 but acquitted. Tammy's older sister says he molested her when she was twelve years old and she believes he molested Tammy as well. Bramblett convicted of murdering a Virginia family of four, Blaine and Teresa Hodges and their two children, in 1994 and sentenced to death. He was living with the Hodges family at the time of their homicides.
A jailhouse informant told police that Bramblett had told him that he killed the Hodges family after being caught molesting one of the children. The informant later recanted his statements, but Bramblett was executed in April 2003, still maintaining his innocence. It's worth noting that Bramblett has many supporters (particularly online) who believe he was wrongly accused. The same people maintain that both Tammy and Angela ran away from Roanoke voluntarily in 1977.
Eight months after Bramblett was sent to death row, authorities dug up the yard of the house he had been living in when Tammy and Angela disappeared. They found nothing and the residence's current owners did not give them permission to search inside the house, so they never had the opportunity to look in the basement where they believe Tammy and Angela may be buried.
Bramblett always maintained his innocence in the missing girls' cases. He said he was drunk when he made the statement about "hurting Tammy" in 1980 and his comment was misinterpreted. He said he believes Tammy died in a bonfire in central Florida in 1980 and the police know about it and have tried to cover it up. There is no evidence to support Bramblett's theory, however.
Authorities never charged Bramblett in connection with the girls' disappearances. Angela's mother has since died; she believed her daughter was still alive. Tammy's family believes she is deceased and Bramblett was connected to her disappearance.
Tammy's and Angela's cases remain open and unsolved.