What happened to Tammy Mahoney?
Missing since May 8, 1981 from Oneida, Madison County, New York.
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: August 29, 1961
Age at Time of Disappearance: 19 years old.
Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5’3″; 130 lbs.
Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Shoulder length brown hair; Green eyes. She has freckles. Pierced ears May bite nails they are short.
Clothing: Possibly wearing blue jeans or bib overalls, 29″. Dark sweatshirt or large black top with white embroidery around the neck line and wrist. Dark colored or denim jacket. Bra size 36D. Possibly wearing white, low cut sneakers or clog/sandals, size 6.
Jewelry: Possibly worn at time of disappearance: Silver ring with green stone size 5-6; medallion with a guardian angel over a bridge with 2 children walking across bridge ( medal is very thin and the size of a dime) ; possibly a cross necklace (small cross with turquoise stones). It is not known if Tammy was wearing these items at the time of her disappearance however they were determined to be missing from her possessions.
Other: X-rays / Radiographs on file: chest and hand ( no known anomalies, taken during examination). Fractures – lower possible left leg – at age 6, wore a cast – there are no known radiographs on file.
Circumstances of Disappearance:
Tammy was brutally murdered on the evening of Friday, May 8, 1981 at the age of 19, Tammy was picked up while hitchhiking in the City of Oneida, Madison County, NY and taken to a party on the Oneida Indian Territory, Route #48 in the City of Oneida.
The events of the evening of May 8, 1981 resulted in the rape and eventual brutal death of the teenager. The young men responsible for Tammy’s senseless and untimely death remain in the central NY area today.
She was never seen again after that night, and her body has never been found. On May 11, 1981, a missing person report was filed with the Oneida City Police. Originally from Long Island, Mahoney moved to Oneida, where she was studying husbandry at SUNY Morrisville.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Madison County Sheriff’s Department
Undersheriff Douglas Bailey
Agency Case #: 81-1985
NCIC Number: M-118604726
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.
Tammy Mahoney timeline
May 8, 1981: Tammy Mahoney, 19, disappears on her way to visit friends in Hamilton. She is last seen hitchhiking south on Route 46 in Madison County.
May 11, 1981: Mahoney’s boyfriend reports her missing.
November 1981: Police and dogs comb the woods near the Onondaga Nation after receiving a tip.
April 1989: Police hold a news conference to renew public interest in the case and to try to come up with leads.
November 1997: Police uncover a woman’s partial skeleton in Manlius. They determine it’s not Mahoney.
June 1999: Detectives say DNA tests conducted on human remains found in Manlius don’t match Mahoney.
May 2000: Investigators reveal they believe Mahoney was gang-raped and killed on Oneida Indian Nation land the night she disappeared. Her body was never found.
June 2001: Police, following a tip that remains were found on Oneida territory, turn up only deer and cat bones.
October 2001: Madison County Undersheriff Doug Bailey says they have identified suspects in Mahoney’s murder. He says the suspects know they are suspects.
June 2002: Madison County sheriff’s deputies dug up a former pond on Oneida Indian Nation land looking for a car Mahoney may have been placed in after her death. They did not find a car.
May 2004: Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office searched a site on Route 46 south of Union Street near the Oneida Indian Nation.
March 25, 2016: A search is underway for what may be Mahoney’s remains in the woods in Oneida.
ONEIDA >> Oneida City Police are working on fresh leads that have come in recently regarding a case that has gone unsolved for more than 33 years, according to Oneida City Police Chief David Meeker.
Meeker declined to disclose the substance of this new information.
Police have long been confident that Tammy Mahoney, an Oneida city woman missing since May 8, 1981, was kidnapped, raped and murdered. They also believe her killers are walking free in the area.
Mahoney was born on Aug. 29, 1961 in Farmingdale, a town on Long Island. After graduating high school, she moved to Madison County where she studied animal husbandry at Morrisville State College.
Since her disappearance, Tammy’s family has requested to remain private on the matter.
Friends say she wanted to be a veterinarian, loved cooking and had a smile for everyone.
A Facebook page dedicated to Tammy’s memory was started about two months ago. It can be found at: http://on.fb.me/1u1yIdI
“Tammy lived just three blocks away from me. We walked to school together,” remembered childhood friend Theresa Harman in a recent email communication. Harman now lives in Pennsylvania.
“We grew up in a town in which we felt safe and people took pride in their youth and kept an eye out for each other,” Harman continued.
She remembers Mahoney as often having a smile and being “good-natured.”
“We attended Woodward Parkway Elementary, Mill Lane Junior High and the high school together. I treasure those walks we had now. Such good memories,” Harman noted. “When I knocked on her door I was always greeted with smiles. Her home was warm and a nice place to be. What a nice family. Her mother would send us off by saying ‘behave yourselves and be safe.’”
She said Tammy had a dog they both loved. “I wasn’t able to get a beagle at the time so her dog became my dog and to this day, I have had only beagles,” Harman added.
Harman recalls walking with Mahoney to get ice cream, and hanging out at nearby Jones Beach.
“These times spent and the memories we made in innocence will remain as pictures in my mind of a girl who only wanted what all of us want in life – to be happy and to make others happy. She was such a good friend and she taught me perseverance. I will never give up searching for the justice this friend deserves,” Harman wrote.
Police have never closed the case, either.
Police believe she was last seen hitchhiking on Route 46 between 5-7 p.m., and was seen by some being picked up in a vehicle near Fairview Avenue. She was on her way to a friend’s house in Hamilton, but was taken to a party at a residence on the Oneida Nation’s 32-acre territory.
Mahoney was last seen wearing a dark-colored v-neck sweater or sweatshirt with white embroidery at the neck and wrists, blue jeans or bib overalls and a dark colored or denim jacket. She was 5-foot-3 and weighed about 130 pounds. She had pierced ears, brown hair, green eyes and freckles. She may have had a habit of biting her short fingernails.
Karl Lockwood, her boyfriend at the time, filed a missing person report with Oneida City Police three days later.
Police have long said they know she was raped and murdered that evening, but have never been able to locate her body. At one point, local, state and federal law enforcement officers conducted a dig at a location on Route 46 to look for clues in the case.
For years police have said that as they get close to the truth, sources clam up and go silent.
Many people claim to have knowledge of the incident, but will only speak anonymously. Further, not all their stories line up.
Some say she was buried on the Oneida Nation Territory; others say she’s on the Onondaga Nation Territory near Syracuse, or somewhere in between near a pile of rocks next to a large tree.
Several sources say Mahoney was hit in the head with a rock by her attackers.
Who was involved varies based on who’s telling the story; some say there was a young teenager somehow involved in the crime.
“We are our worst enemy,” said one man, a Native American who says his own people are responsible for killing Tammy Mahoney.
There is a need for closure, he said, adding that people have said the truth is “heavy on their souls.”
A thread on social bulletin board website Topix.com started in August 2013 has amassed hundreds of posts regarding the incident. Some posts name names, some are off-topic and many conflict with one another. Some posts hint at suspects; many speculate on where Mahoney’s body is buried. Some share news articles and some are posts from those who knew Tammy when she was alive.
To view the thread, visit: http://bit.ly/1zmC3pW
When it comes to case prosecution, there is no statute of limitations for murder; for rape and kidnapping, the statute is five years.
In September 2013, Syracuse-based U.S. Attorney John Duncan said in all the time the case has been active, “there has never been viable evidence that would support federal prosecution.”
To date, no one has ever been charged with anything in the case. “The older a case gets, the harder it is to solve,” he noted.
He adds that federal prosecutors typically don’t get involved in homicides. However, if Mahoney had ever been found on Native American land, then it would be in federal jurisdiction. That’s why they have kept an eye on it all these years. Otherwise, the case could be handled by the county district attorney, Duncan said.
Duncan said there are a lot of different variables involved in determining such things.
Law enforcement officials say it is possible to prosecute a murder case without a body, but it is more difficult. One would need credible witnesses to tell the story.
Cops say there are dental records available for Mahoney, and over the years the records have been reviewed against many unknown victims whose remains were found.
Since 1981, the case has been investigated by Oneida City Police, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, the Oneida Nation Police, New York State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Years ago, the Oneida Nation put up a $10,000 reward for information that lead to a prosecution in the case. Recently, when asked if the reward still stands, Joel Barkin, vice president of communications for the tribe wrote in a statement: “Oneida Nation Police continue to be a part of a joint investigation with local law enforcement officials on this matter and the reward remains in place.”
When Tammy Mahoney went missing, Meeker said he’d only been on the force a few months. One of the early police officers working the case was Doug Bailey, then a city cop. When Bailey left to join the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, he took the case with him. After Bailey’s retirement as undersheriff in November of 2010, the case came back to the Oneida Police Department.
Meeker said his department has been going through case files, which started out on paper but have long since been converted to digital files. The case is now so old that paper files would already be yellowing with age. It’s never been closed.
Meeker says the police files contain hundreds of leads which have not panned out for one reason or another.
“It’s not ever closed until it’s resolved,” Meeker said. “It stays open.”
Search for Tammy Mahoney turns up empty: