Tara Calico

‘They started kicking her in the head’: Former classmate says she knows who killed Tara Calico

She casually told her mom that if she wasn’t back by noon to call the police. Tara Calico’s mother never imagined that her daughter’s words would come to fruition.

Tara Calico was just 18 years old when, on September 20, 1988, she disappeared while riding her bike on a 17-mile cycling trek in Belen, New Mexico. As she pedaled away listening to a Boston cassette on her Sony Walkman, something happened to her; something that is still unsolved today.

Melinda Esquibel, a filmmaker and former classmate of the victim who’s currently in the process of creating a documentary on the case, said she thinks she knows who killed Tara. 

“She went out on her 17 mile 34 mile bike ride out to the railroad tracks and it appears on her trip she had some trouble along the way. She was getting harassed by what looked to be an older vehicle following her and a group of guys and what,” Esquibel told Nancy Grace. 

According to Esquibel, two different vehicles were spotted by witnesses on the day Tara vanished, driving along the same road she rode her bicycle on: a primer grey Chevrolet International and a primer grey mid-50s Ford pickup truck.

Witnesses said several people inside the vehicles harassed Tara after she pulled her bike over. Boys were hanging out of the Ford pickup truck tugging at her shirt, trying to grab her. Initially, it looked like a “fun” outing to witnesses, who thought maybe it was Tara’s father and some friends helping her as she pedaled away. No one thought to call the authorities until it was too late. Tara had vanished.

Tara’s family and her boyfriend set out looking for her and discovered a number of items that clearly showed she didn’t leave by her own accord.

“There was a part of the of her Walkman that was found on the side of the road. There was a tape that was found there was a part of the Walkman. They were tire tracks and bicycle tracks where she was pushed off the side of the road. There was a marijuana pipe in the area that was found,” Esquibel said. 

Later, when Esquibel began an investigation into the case, she noticed that a lot of evidence was missing. Was there a cover-up? Did someone who had connections with the Valencia County Sheriff’s office or with a prominent politician  hide things so that the person of interest wasn’t arrested? 

In this episode of “Crime Stories,” Esquibel explains who she thinks killed Tara and why they still haven’t been arrested.

“Crime Stories with Nancy Grace” is now a national radio show, heard on SiriusXM’s Triumph Channel 132, five times a day. You can also subscribe and download the daily podcasts at iTunes and Google Play.

Listen to Melinda Esquibel’s Tara Calico “VANISHED” podcast here

[Feature Photo: Family Handout]