Parents of Tabitha Tuders react to possibility their daughter was sex trafficked

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tabitha Tuders’ picture still hangs outside of her home on Lillian Street while inside, her bedroom is still the same as it was when she left that morning nearly 17 years ago.

​”Everything is still in there and all her little trinkets are on her shelf. All our memories are in this house,” Bo and Debra Tuders ​showed News 2.

As the family prays for the day their daughter will return home, detectives are following leads that Tabitha may have been drugged, abducted and forced into prostitution.

“We don’t see our daughter doing that, but we know with all the trafficking and all the people abducting children that it could be possible,” they said. ​​After a slew of leads has turned up empty over the years, the Tuders feel little emotion over the latest developments.

“We just don’t let our hopes get up. We still have hope and faith that we are going to find her, but we don’t let our hopes get to high because it hurts,” they explained.

While detectives say the latest leads don’t point to Tabitha being alive, they aren’t giving up along with the family.

​​”In my heart and the way I feel as a Mother, I believe my daughter is still out there somewhere,” said Debra.

Tabitha was last seen by a neighbor on Boscobel St. between 14th & 15th Streets as she walked to the school bus stop in April 2003.

​​”It’s like the earth opened up and she just fell in,” they said.

It’s hard for the couple to fathom that it’s been nearly 17 years.

​​”It’s really hard to describe, it’s like somebody reached into your chest and takes some of your heart away and it’s gone and you can’t replace it,” ​Tabitha’s father Bo explained.

Saturday is Tabitha’s 30th birthday.

“It’s hard for us to get the 13-year-old girl that we saw last out of our mind, that’s how we will remember her,” they said.

​Now the couple is pleading for closure, knowing no matter how the case ends one day the family will all be together again.​​

“We want our daughter back so bad, but you just got to keep the faith that one day we will be together. We are not going to give up, because I feel like she is still here but we will be together again in heaven.”

If you have any information contact Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME. There is a reward of more than $50,000 for information the leads to an arrest and conviction in the case. 

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