Tammy Jo Zywicki memorial ride from Shorewood to Seneca set for Sept. 10

Zywicki was killed Aug. 23, 1992, after experiencing car troubles near La Salle

Tammy Jo Zywicki, an Iowa college student last seen after her car broke down on Interstate 80 near La Salle.

It’s been more than 30 years since the mysterious disappearance and death of Tammy Jo Zywicki, an Iowa college student last seen after her car broke down on Interstate 80 near La Salle.

Zywicki, who grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, was killed Aug. 23, 1992, after dropping her brother off in Evanston and heading to Grinnell, Iowa, for college.

Zywicki’s childhood friend Maryanne Fox said she has made it her mission the past few years to keep her friend’s case in the spotlight. Teaming with the Facebook group “Who Killed Tammy Zywicki?” to organize a motorcycle ride in Zywicki’s memory.

“It’s about allowing people to know who she was and that her case is still unsolved,” Fox said.

The ride will leave at 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, from Conrad’s Harley-Davidson at 19356 NE Frontage Road in Shorewood, make a stop on Interstate 80 at mile marker 83, where Zywicki last was seen with her car, and end at Fat Daddy’z Bar and Grill, located at 176 W. Jackson St. in Seneca.

Fox will be holding a memorial ride in South Carolina during the same time. Even though it’s unlikely Zywicki’s killer is “sitting somewhere in S.C.,” it’s a way to keep her case public, Fox said.

“Somebody knows something,” Fox said. “People can’t just keep things to themselves – maybe there’s a person who’s aware of what happened that will have the courage to finally come forward.”

Tammy Zywicki's car is impounded in 1992 at the Illinois State Police Headquarters in La Salle.

Zywicki was seen last on the afternoon of Aug. 23, 1992, according to the Illinois State Police website.

Nine days later, her body was found along Interstate Highway 44 in rural Lawrence County, Missouri, between Springfield and Joplin. She had been stabbed to death.

According to the FBI website, a tractor-trailer and its driver were spotted near Zywicki’s car between 3:10 and 4 p.m. Aug. 23. The driver of the tractor/trailer was described as a white man with dark and bushy hair who was between 35 and 40 years older and more than 6 feet tall.

Years passed without any new leads, until May 2020, when authorities in Iowa apprehended a long-haul trucker who had been implicated in the murder of three women in the 1990s and may be responsible for other homicides, according to The Associated Press.

According to news reports at the time, a day later, Illinois State Police released the following statement: “At this time, [he] does not appear to have been involved with the murder of Tammy Zywicki, who was abducted and murdered by an unknown assailant after experiencing vehicle troubles alongside I-80 near La Salle, Illinois, in August 1992.”

Anyone with information about the Zywicki investigation is asked to call the Illinois State Police, Division of Criminal Investigations Zone 3 at 815-726-6377. Callers can remain anonymous.

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