Deceased Tampa mom identified by breast implants

12:35 AM, Nov 27, 2010   |    comments
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 Tampa, Florida - Tracy McClelland had what most people would call - "the perfect life."

She was voted "best dressed" at her private high school.  She was beautiful.  She was smart. She dated handsome boys.

The 36-year-old came from a good home and had big dreams and goals, one of them to become a teacher. 

Tracy was the kind of her girl who got noticed. 

Everyone knew that her life would turn out perfect. Sadly, Tracy had no idea what would happen after high school.

Throughout her life, the mother of three was always best friends with her older brother, Larry. 

The two were never apart.  However, Larry suffered from schizophrenia - a diagnosis he received years earlier. He always struggled with it.

Tracy worried about him constantly. In August 1996, Larry begged his sister to help him get out of a mental institution. 

But, before she could act on his request, it was too late.

Larry hanged himself the next day.

After that, Tracy never fully recovered.  She spiraled into a depression.

Janice Garvin, Tracy's mother, still tries to understand.  "She was never the same.  It broke her heart, losing him."

Soon after, the girl who always had her act together and was attending college at USF with a major in education, began to slip.

Tracy changed.

She would go away for weeks at a time and wouldn't tell anyone where she was going, except for an occasional phone call. 

Prescription drugs took control depression and soon escalated to harder drugs.  She began using heroin and crack, according to police, and was arrested several times.  The beautiful woman who began with so much promise in life would soon be in and out of jail.

Her mother wipes away tears as she talks about Tracy. "We just never, ever thought this would happen. Tracy wasn't this way."

Even though Tracy began living on the street and squatting at various residences, she remained a loving person.  Everyone who knew her said she was kind.

Tracy's friendly nature was ultimately her downfall. Throughout the final, and what would be hardest, years of her life, Tracy fell in love with a man named Sergio Gonzalez and had a child with him in 2000.  The two lived a drug-addicted life together, police say.  Tracy was mainly living on the streets but, occasionally, she would go home to Dover.

But, ultimately, she would always disappear.

The last time anyone heard from Tracy was Valentine's Day in 2007.  After that, weeks went by. She would be dead in a month.

Much to her family's dismay and pre-conceived fears, her tragic life came to an end on the very streets where she spent her days and nights.

Her body was found in a shallow grave at the Sweeping Company of Florida, located in the Six Mile Creek area near downtown Tampa in March 2007.

Tracy's mother says, "When all this happened, I had cried, I had gotten [it] out of my system to a certain degree. There's a certain amount of peace now, knowing where she is today."

The five-foot-four stunner was identified through the serial number on her breast implants.  The question is who killed her?

Longtime Tampa detective Eric Houston has been on the case from the beginning.  He says he is not giving up on her.  "It's possible someone lost their temper, someone that knew her and did this, the connection between her murder and where she was found is a mystery so far."

That is the one part of the case where police are left baffled.  The grounds of the sweeping company are gated.  How did someone bury her there?

After doing polygraphs on everyone who worked there, they all passed, all of them, except for a former employee. 

Police are looking for that man right now as a possible suspect.

Meanwhile, on the streets, detectives have interviewed more than 100 people. Not one person considered an enemy. They all say she had a heart of gold and would never hurt anyone.

But, the killer is still out there.

"There are a couple of people we looked at, that were in the area briefly and have disappeared, so we have to track them down," Detective Houston said.

Former high school classmate, Peter Jung, heard about his friend's violent death and couldn't believe what happened.  He quickly wanted to do all he could to honor Tracy and bring her killer to justice.

Peter tells us, "We want to do everything we can for her."

Peter established a website called www.whokilledme.tv, where people can learn about Tracy's story, along with other criminal cases. 

He wants to generate enough interest so that maybe someone, somewhere recognizes her name and has heard her story. 

"Someone out there did this, and we want to help find who it is," Jung says.

If you want to read more about Tracy's case, click here to visit the Crime Stoppers of Tampa bay website.

 

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