TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — On August 2, 1985, Marcie Fuller Swinford, 21, seemed to have lots of life ahead of her.
“I just remember always thinking she was beautiful,” said Swinford’s niece, Courtney Lash. “She was of course taller than me. She had strawberry blonde hair.”
“She’s been described as just a free spirit and just a very loving, good natured person,” added Det. Mary Parmer with the Vigo County Sheriff’s Dept. “Just a wonderful mother. A very committed mother.”
On a cooler than normal summer day, Swinford arranged for someone to babysit her four children. She had a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old and a set of 1-year-old twins.
“She was going to go out for an evening with my mom,” said Courtney Lash.
But first, Swinford had to run some errands.
“She had to exchange some blue jeans at Hills department store,” continued Lash.
According to Vigo County Detective Mary Parmer, Swinford also wanted to buy some groceries.
“There’s receipts that kind of show that she made it to those places and just never moved on from that, that we could find,” stated Det. Parmer.
A few days later, Swinford’s car was discovered at 12th and Eagle in Terre Haute.
“The groceries that I had mentioned before were found inside the vehicle, along with her keys, her purse and things like that,” said Det. Parmer.
Det. Parmer has studied the case file. She knows the discovery of the car and those items would have alarmed investigators.
“Obviously, huge red flags at that point,” said Det. Parmer.
Nine days after Swinford disappeared, her decomposing body was found by a passerby. It was located in a wooded area along State Road 63 in southern Vigo County by what’s now Rigney Road.
“She was a mom, she was a daughter, she was a sister, she was an aunt and she had a whole bunch of people who loved her and then she was taken from us. It’s not fair,” added Courtney Lash.
Her killer is still unknown.
“There were many ‘persons of interest’ back then and as years went by, there had always just been tips and persons’ names that come up. Unfortunately, nothing significant enough to later file charges on,” said Det. Parmer.
According to Swinford’s niece, the years that followed her aunt’s death have been difficult for her family.
“Not knowing who brutally murdered your family member, everybody’s always looking over their shoulder,” said Courtney Lash. “Was it someone that was close to us or was it someone random?”
She and other family members hope there’s a person, who can come forward with a tip, and help police make an arrest. If you have any information that could help solve this crime, you’re asked to please give the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department a call at 812-462-3226.