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Questions unanswered: One year after the disappearance of Tara Sullivan

Posted at 6:35 PM, Apr 16, 2024

MARATHON COUNTY (NBC 26) — One woman's disappearance leaves detectives with more questions than answers. NBC 26 spoke with one of the investigators on the case almost a year after Tara Sullivan seemingly vanished.

  • Tara Sullivan was 47 years old when her disappearance was discovered in April 2023
  • Since then detectives have had several leads, but all turned out to be dead ends
  • Detectives have no reason to suspect foul play at this point in the investigation
  • Anyone who had contact with Sullivan in the days leading up to her disappearance, or people with any information are asked to call the Marathon County Sheriff's Department at (715) 261-1200 or reach out to Marathon County Crime Stoppers

(The following is a transcription of the broadcast story.)

Tara Sullivan's car was discovered right here in rural Shawano County. I'm Pari Apostolakos and one detective tells me now evidence like the car has helped little to answer the question "Where is Tara?"

The Marathon County Sheriff's Office says Tara Sullivan was first discovered to be missing a year ago this week. They say, right now, they have little to go on.

"Have you ever encountered a situation like this, where somebody disappears without a trace?" I asked Marathon County Sheriff's Department Detective Cassandra Seubert.

"No," she said. "Not at all."

Seubert says Sullivan's phone was found on the side of the road in Ringle on April 18, 2023.

She says Deputies tried to return it to her home in nearby Weston, but Sullivan was gone. Other than a heavily damaged garage door, Seubert says the home looked normal.

"It looked like somebody was going to be coming back," she said.

Shortly after, police found her car just off Highway 29, between Wittenberg and Shawano.

Seubert says they've downloaded her phone more than once, and what was strange, she says, was not what they found, but what wasn't there.

"There were no messages that were, like, consistent story messages," she said. "It would be like one text message from somebody, and then a text message from her, and then like two or three messages back and forth."

Seubert says Sullivan was not very close with her family. We reached out to her brother and a friend, but have not yet heard back.

A woman who says she was Sullivan's boss years ago told me she had a former partner. Seubert says detectives quickly ruled him out in the disappearance.

The Sheriff's Office has considered that Sullivan may have chosen to leave based on text messages.

"She wanted to disconnect, [she] was following God and going the religious route," Seubert said.

For now, Seubert says, they're simply waiting for more leads.

"We all want to find her, that's the end goal," she said. "That's the reason why we haven't given up on this case."