CAPTURED EPISODE 2 UNSOLVED
TARA BAKER, 23
A University of Georgia Law School student, Tara Baker was caring, popular, and known for working hard to achieve her goals. She'd signed up for the hardest college classes and completed her undergraduate degree in just three years. On the last day anyone saw her alive, January 18, 2001, Tara was seen buying groceries at a local supermarket. She went to the law school library to study, then went home for the night. The next morning, a neighbor called 911 to report flames coming from Tara's home. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze, but inside they found Tara. She was dead, and it was clear from wounds found on her body, that she hadn't died from the fire.
Police were able to determine that the killer entered the home while Tara was getting ready for a class that morning. She had been beaten, and there was evidence of a struggle. Her body was found in her locked bedroom. The killer then set fire to the house, turning all four burners on the stove to the highest temperature, hoping to destroy evidence of the murder he'd committed inside.
The only thing missing from Tara's home was her computer; nothing else of value was taken. The only lead for police was a man seen running from the area about four hours before Tara's body was found.
A neighbor described the man he saw around 7am as a white male with average build, wearing a t-shirt and jeans. The t-shirt seemed like an odd choice, because it was a cold, rainy morning. That man has never been identified.
Tara's parents, who were only able to salvage a handful of precious memories from Tara's burned home, say they can't imagine who would want to kill her, although they believe the crime was committed by someone she knew. They say Tara was very safety-conscious and would never have let a stranger into her home.
Police say the case is wide open. Tara's computer has never been found. Police say they need to hear from anyone with information about anything suspicious they might have seen the morning of, or even during the weeks leading up to Tara Baker's murder.
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Athens-Clarke County Police Department: (706) 613-3337