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The strange disappearance of Tara Jane Sullivan
It's been three months and police gave no word on the investigation; I decided to ask
The circumstances are an unusual one - a woman living in the village of Weston suddenly went missing, and no one quite new exactly what happened. They still don’t.
That was three months ago, when Tara Jane Sullivan went missing from her Weston home. Police were alerted to her cell phone being found in the town of Ringle. When officers went to return it to her, she wasn’t there but the circumstances at her house in Weston were suspicious.
When police arrived at her house, they found the garage door damaged, as if someone had driven a car through it in order to leave, and her belongings were strewn about. They eventually found her car abandoned on Highway 29 in Shawano County.
Deputies conducted numerous searches, K9 searches and drone searches in order to find Sullivan. Nothing yielded any new clues.
Revisiting the Tara Jane Sullivan disappearance
This week, it occurred to me it has been three months since police discovered her missing on April 18. And we hadn’t heard a word about it since early May. I reached out to the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office to ask if they had any clue what might have happened to her, if there had been any progress on the investigation.
The answer, in short, was not really. Marathon County Sheriff Chad Billeb told The Wausonian they’ve followed up on all the leads they’ve been given and still haven’t come up with much. And they aren’t really receiving new leads.
They are hearing a lot from family members and friends who are concerned for Sullivan’s safety and the investigation’s progress. Billeb says he understands their frustration and worry. He hoped renewed media attention might help bring in new leads on the case.
Sullivan lived in Weston, but prior to that she worked as a real estate agent in the Fox Valley, according to her Facebook page.
Her Facebook page doesn’t contain much in the way of clues. She posted about her real estate work and other things a woman in her 40s might post. Nothing indicated anything troubling.
A woman claiming to be her friend on Facebook posted that she worked with Sullivan as a real estate agent. She described Sullivan as talkative and friendly. Her last text from Sullivan, on March 30, said she would like to disconnect. That’s the last time the friend said she’d heard from her.
The last time Sullivan posted on Facebook - at least that the public could see — was Feb. 2 when she updated her profile picture.
In response to my inquiry, the Sheriff’s Office put out a press release Thursday morning saying pretty much what they’d told me: that new leads have dried up and they aren’t any closer to figuring out what happened to her.
“We’ve exhausted many of the traditional paths we would take with an investigation of this nature,” Captain of Investigations Jeff Stefonek of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a press release Thursday. “As we work to advance our investigation, we continue to ask the community for assistance in locating Tara and bringing her home safely. Please keep an eye out for Tara and share any new tips or information with our office.”
I had a longer section about what I’d found online, but decided to condense it to this: Conservative Milwaukee media critic Jessica McBride said she was surprised there wasn’t more media coverage about Sullivan’s disappearance. If she means statewide covereage, I agree.
There is also a “Praying for Tara Jane Sullivan” Facebook group, though there isn’t much there in the way of clues. People have made TikTok and YouTube videos about her disappearance.
Sullivan is 48, about 5’7” and 128 pounds. The DOJ’s missing persons department made a sharable poster to help spread the word and hopefully gather more clues as to her disappearance.
It’s not impossible that they could still find her. Jayme Closs was abducted from her parent’s home in Baron in October 2018. She escaped 88 days later. Many thought they would never see her again. Hopefully Sullivan can see a similar positive outcome.
If you have information about Tara Jane Sullivan’s whereabouts, or had spoken to her after April 1, contact the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office at 715-261-1200, option 5, to speak with an investigator.