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Old 09-02-2014, 06:28 PM   #106
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Hi all, I'm glad to see Tara still being discussed. It's one of those cases I can't forget.

I don't think it is Tara in that Polaroid. I think she had an "accident" while riding her bike that was not really an accident so much as someone harassing her, or following her, to the point of foul play. Although I don't rule out the possibility that it was an opportunistic abduction and whoever did it took the bike so no one would know the exact point she vanished from.

When I first saw that Polaroid I thought it was kids playing around with a Polaroid camera and doing a goofy kidnap spoof. I wouldn't have put it past my friends and I when we were young, had we thought of it. But then I see the marks on that little boy's neck and... Also, I believe the police Id'd the interior as a white commercial van, so not something you would expect kids to ride around in. And then that girl's photo turned up in California so to me, unfortunately, that sounds like possible pornography. If they were being moved around in a van they may have been "used" at truck stops.

I agree, Tara's age progression sketch is just awful. Too bad someone can't make a better one.
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:50 AM   #107
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Quote:
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If they were being moved around in a van they may have been "used" at truck stops.
as horrifying as that sounds, that may explain why the boy and girl were together. Perhaps the actual abductor didn't want to use either of them for his own sexual gratification, but was using them for monetary profit by providing them to other people.

This case is often disturbing just thinking about it.
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:59 AM   #108
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I agree wiseguy, unless you accept that it was just a kids' prank then it's pretty disturbing no matter which way you look at it.

Although you would think a perp like that would keep better track of their Polaroids. Maybe there was a reason for peeling away so carelessly, like the kids had made a noise.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:24 PM   #109
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I think I'm in the minority, but I think the polaroid was placed there to be found. I don't think someone carelessly let it fall from their van.

The main reasons I think this was a prank/fake:

-No one (besides Tara Calico) has even come close to matching the girl. The boy has had some close matches, but since his distance is farther away in the picture and somewhat shadowed, it's hard to make a good analysis. But LE now believes Calico met with foul play shortly after she disappeared. There has to be information they're privy to that they're not letting the public know to come right out and say that. So in all probability, IMHO, the girl in the picture isn't Tara. You would think by now SOMEONE with a missing child would have came forward (thanks to the publicity of the picture) and had a close enough match after all these years.

-If this was some sickos way of having "torture kiddie porn" with either kidnapped children or their own (or relatives), what is the point of having the girl's hands hidden behind her back? If the motive was to show some sort of domination or bondage, wouldn't that be displayed more prominently? The only hint of any sort of "bondage" is the tape over their mouths.

-The odds that both of these kids were kidnapped by the same person is astronomical. In almost every case of a kidnapping, the kidnapper has a preferred gender to abduct. It's very unlikely that this person would abduct a girl around Tara's age, and then abduct a boy several years younger.

-I may be the only one, but I don't think either kid in the photo looks terrified. The boy looks tired and the girl looks bored.
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:55 PM   #110
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-I may be the only one, but I don't think either kid in the photo looks terrified. The boy looks tired and the girl looks bored.
RSBM

You're not the only one. I don't think they look afraid either. They look...disinterested?

But, I don't know what expression someone who has been chronically exploited might have. Maybe they are just resigned.
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:14 AM   #111
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I don't know what photo you guys looked at, the boy clearly looks terrified.
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:56 AM   #112
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For those that think the picture is genuine, what exactly would the reason be for leaving the picture in a gas station? If the intent was to let people know someone abducted these children, why not include some sort of ransom or taunting message? What was the point of leaving it at that particular gas station?

Other reasons I think it was staged:

-IIRC, the FBI identified a squirt gun in the photo. Why would this be there if these kids were abducted?

-Port St. Joe is a tourist destination. It wouldn't be that uncommon for a vacationing family to have a camera ready to stage this picture. Plus, that would give a reason as to the location of where the picture was found.

-The VC Andrews book is displayed prominently. Not only did these kids get to play with squirt guns, but they also got to read books. If these were indeed abducted children, and their kidnapper obviously let them have some sort of "freedom", why feel the need to bound and gag the children? If the girl was in the middle of reading the book (seems likely due to it being located right next to her) before the picture was taken, why go through the trouble to tie her hands up just for the picture if you're not even going to show the restraints?

-Who's more likely to have carelessly left the photo in a public place? A couple of kids staging a photo, or an abductor who's gone undetected for over twenty years?

-The photo appears, IMO, to have been taken haphazardly, and it looks rushed. That would be why the book was found next to the girl (she was reading it), and the squirt gun and various other clutter is seen in the picture. It just seems more likely that a couple of kids got the idea of to make this photo up, all they really needed was a roll of tape and the polaroid camera.
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:06 AM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCars1986
I may be the only one, but I don't think either kid in the photo looks terrified. The boy looks tired and the girl looks bored
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ava
You're not the only one. I don't think they look afraid either. They look...disinterested?

But, I don't know what expression someone who has been chronically exploited might have. Maybe they are just resigned.
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I don't know what photo you guys looked at, the boy clearly looks terrified.
Therein lies the problem...how they "look" in terms of the emotions they are supposed to be expressing in that picture is entirely subjective. We all see different things, and I tend to think our own theorizing plays a part in guiding us to an emotional filled conclusion of our own. Of course, if we think the photo is a hoax, they look "bored" or "uninterested." If we think the photo is real, they look "terrified." Personally, I don't give much weight to any of this emotion-based "evidence", but that's just me...

The one thing I can't get over is the bruising, assuming that is what it is, on that boy's neck. That may suggest that he has been choked or otherwise abused.

One thing I will say here is that if the bruising is real, I have a hard time imagining that a parent would let their own kid out in public like that. I also have a hard time believing that if a parent took this photo, they would carelessly discard it or even want it to be found in the first place. So, maybe this is more evidence in favor of the abducted and/or exploited children angle. Assuming the photographer intended the picture to be found, he probably wouldn't want there to be an obvious connection between himself and the subjects. On the other hand, we can't assume the photographer and the person who dropped the photo are one in the same.

Regarding the way they are tied up, it makes sense if the point was to restrain them. Ever wonder why the cops seldom handcuff a prisoner in the front? Because a person cuffed in the front can still raise their arms over their head and administer a "hammer" (I think that's what it's called) or double fist punch to the head. Handcuff a person behind their back - problem solved. The same basic reasoning applies here. Assuming the person who tied them up was intending on preventing retaliation by way of a blow to the head from one of the kids, that is the correct way to restrain them.

I don't know where I am going with all this. Just thinking out loud...
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:50 AM   #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCars1986
-The VC Andrews book is displayed prominently. Not only did these kids get to play with squirt guns, but they also got to read books. If these were indeed abducted children, and their kidnapper obviously let them have some sort of "freedom", why feel the need to bound and gag the children? If the girl was in the middle of reading the book (seems likely due to it being located right next to her) before the picture was taken, why go through the trouble to tie her hands up just for the picture if you're not even going to show the restraints?
Has anyone here actually read this book and can provide a condensed review?

Is there any way any part of the story could line up with what is depicted in the Polaroid?

Maybe the Polaroid was part of someone's school project or book report or something?
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:33 PM   #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justins5256
Has anyone here actually read this book and can provide a condensed review?
Is there any way any part of the story could line up with what is depicted in the Polaroid?
Maybe the Polaroid was part of someone's school project or book report or something?
Wikipedia gives a detailed synopsis that's too long to copy here, but here's the link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Sweet_Audrina

Here's an irreverent detailed review (warning: language):
http://foreveryoungadult.com/2011/06...ok-in-history/

I don't see any obvious correlation between a plot point in the novel and what's depicted in this Polaroid. Maybe I missed it.
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:39 PM   #116
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Therein lies the problem...how they "look" in terms of the emotions they are supposed to be expressing in that picture is entirely subjective. We all see different things, and I tend to think our own theorizing plays a part in guiding us to an emotional filled conclusion of our own. Of course, if we think the photo is a hoax, they look "bored" or "uninterested." If we think the photo is real, they look "terrified." Personally, I don't give much weight to any of this emotion-based "evidence", but that's just me...
I agree with this. I think it would all depend on the context of when the photo was taken. If the girl and boy were photographed immediately after they were taken captive, they're more likely to look terrified. But if they were photographed after having been held captive for a long period of time and being bound and gagged is no longer a new experience for them, they might have resigned looks on their faces which come across as looking "bored" or "uninterested". A lot of people seem to think that the boy looks more frightened than the girl, but for all we know, maybe she had already been held captive for awhile before her abductor decided to go out and kidnap a boy as well. The expressions on their faces can just be interpreted in so many different ways.
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:39 PM   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justins5256
Therein lies the problem...how they "look" in terms of the emotions they are supposed to be expressing in that picture is entirely subjective. We all see different things, and I tend to think our own theorizing plays a part in guiding us to an emotional filled conclusion of our own. Of course, if we think the photo is a hoax, they look "bored" or "uninterested." If we think the photo is real, they look "terrified." Personally, I don't give much weight to any of this emotion-based "evidence", but that's just me...
I was thinking something similar this A.M. We all interpret things differently. I have no idea how I would view the expressions on the individuals' faces if I was unaware of the Tara Calico case, because for me, the photo has always been associated with it. Aside from that, the two appear to be bound and have black tape over their mouths, and that image immediately conjures ominous feelings, so of course many people are going to interpret fear on the faces of those people. I know I have. But I can also definitely see why other people have many different feelings on what those facial expressions convey, and I don't think any of us are necessarily wrong--or right.

I think of those photos that got thrown into the Johnny Gosch case. I don't know the circumstances behind those photographs, but it wasn't an abduction or even coercion, according to the boys themselves. But I can tell you that if I found a photograph like that just lying around, I would be frightened and worried for the people in it. I wouldn't have the context to put it in, of course, and ultimately, neither do we with the so-called Tara Calico photograph.


Something I never noticed before until today: we actually have no way of knowing whether those individuals are in fact bound. They clearly have their hands behind their backs, but it's impossible to tell if they are actually restrained.
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:47 PM   #118
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I've never read anything by V.C. Andrews, but many years ago I had a few discussions with people who had. Her books were reasonably popular with teenaged girls back in the mid-late eighties. Some of her works depict incest, kidnapping, keeping women or children imprisoned in a house, things like that. It's made me wonder if the photographer knew the general vein of those kind of books when he/she took the image.
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:52 PM   #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justins5256
Therein lies the problem...how they "look" in terms of the emotions they are supposed to be expressing in that picture is entirely subjective. We all see different things, and I tend to think our own theorizing plays a part in guiding us to an emotional filled conclusion of our own. Of course, if we think the photo is a hoax, they look "bored" or "uninterested." If we think the photo is real, they look "terrified." Personally, I don't give much weight to any of this emotion-based "evidence", but that's just me...
This is true. However, the two main reasons I keep reading on why people think it's genuine are the resemblance of the young woman to Tara Calico, and the fear in the boys eyes. But if the girl in the photo isn't Tara (as law enforcement now believes), the only thing to rely on is the "look" of the boy in terms of believing this is a real abduction. There is no concrete proof of an abduction. No solid leads tying any missing person from the US that match the boy or the girl in the photo. The only thing people have to go in is based off of their own individual impression of the photo. And for me, that doesn't work. I have to go with Occam's Razor. If this were a prank/hoax, there wouldn't need to be any corroborating evidence, because either the kids in the photo are grown up and have no idea of the attention it attracted, or are too ashamed to come forward. You need to really rely on pure emotion from looking at the photo to believe it was a real abduction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justins5256
The one thing I can't get over is the bruising, assuming that is what it is, on that boy's neck. That may suggest that he has been choked or otherwise abused.
I've looked and looked at this photo repeatedly ever since reading this thread and I do not see bruising on the boy.



Quote:
Originally Posted by justins5256
Regarding the way they are tied up, it makes sense if the point was to restrain them. Ever wonder why the cops seldom handcuff a prisoner in the front? Because a person cuffed in the front can still raise their arms over their head and administer a "hammer" (I think that's what it's called) or double fist punch to the head. Handcuff a person behind their back - problem solved. The same basic reasoning applies here. Assuming the person who tied them up was intending on preventing retaliation by way of a blow to the head from one of the kids, that is the correct way to restrain them.
Assuming they were handcuffed or restrained from behind, we still have no way of knowing whether or not their feet were bound. Regardless of how their hands were bound (or not), they still could have possibly used their feet in some sort of escape attempt. And if the purpose of taking this photo (if it indeed were real) was for some sick fetish, wouldn't the photographer have made a better effort to show the fact that these kids were bound outside of two pieces of tape? It just seems amateurish to me.

ETA: I honestly used to believe that there was a possibility that the girl was Tara Calico. But as I got older and realized how rare and unusual it would be for a child abductor to abduct two children of different sexes with a different age, I had some doubts about the photo being authentic. That changed again when LE came out with their new theory on Tara being hit while riding her bike. That made me realize that the girl in the photo probably wasn't Tara, and since there have been no other missing girls who have come close to matching the girl in the photo, in all probability this was just some sort of weird prank. I could envision this scenario:

A vacationing family makes a pit stop somewhere (possibly where the photo was found). The parents go inside, while the 3 siblings are outside stretching their legs. The middle sibling grabs a camera, goads his older sister into "posing" for the camera while the younger brother willingly obliges. The sister was probably in the middle of reading the book, which is why it is right next to her in the picture. They take some tape, put it over their mouths, and then pretend to have their hands tied. The middle sibling takes the picture, and the photo is dropped either where it was taken, or elsewhere (if the picture wasn't taken where the polaroid was found). Or there was no 3rd sibling, and the parents took the picture as a joke/gag to send to one of their relatives back home (kind of like a postcard like photo, saying something to the effect of "look what we had to do to keep the kids quiet for the long ride" type of thing). Either they never knew of the attention it got, or were fearful for coming forward due to the belief that the children in the photo were abducted or abused.

Last edited by TheCars1986; 09-04-2014 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:23 PM   #120
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I also doubt that it's Tara in the photo. I think the other theory (truck on the road while she was biking) is more likely.

What was mentioned upthread, prostituting these kids at trucks stops or similar, is something I never contemplated before. Horrific. I certainly hope that isn't what was happening to these kids, but if the pic is genuine, then something terrible was happening to them anyway.

I could also see a scenario like someone mentioned above about siblings taking a silly photo as a prank. (I hope that's what happened.) And then maybe one of them grabbing it and tossing it out the window because they didn't like how it looked or they didn't want their parents to see that they'd been horsing around like that.
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