Family still hopes for answers
in death of Nancy Lyons The mystery behind the death of Southwestern High School graduate Nancy Lyons has never been resolved. She disappeared nine years ago.
Saturday, June 18, 2011 11:00 AM
The family of a woman originally from Jefferson County who was missing for four months before her remains were found still hope for answers nine years after she disappeared near her home in Carthage.
Nancy Lyons' sister Beverly Tallent launched a letter-writing campaign to four state officials this year as the anniversary of Lyons' disappearance neared, hoping to open lines of communication in the cold case. More than 500 letters and signatures were sent as word spread through The Nancy Lyons Project page on Facebook.
"It certainly exceeded anything I could have expected," Tallent said.
The letters and signatures were sent to the officials from as far away as California, New York and Canada.
The project led to meetings with state police officials who assured Tallent they aren't going to forget the case and that contact has been made with outside sources for help and ideas.
"A new set of eyes may help move the case forward," Tallent said.
Lyons, 46 at the time, disappeared in June 2002. Her car was found with the engine running, a flat tire and her belongings inside. Her remains were found in October 2002 about 50 miles from where police found Lyons' car, but no one has been charged. The case remains open in Rush and Bartholomew counties.
Lyons was a graduate of Southwestern High School. Several of her family members are from the area. She is buried in Grandview Memorial Gardens.
Throughout the years, Tallent traveled the state promoting Molly's Law - named after missing Madison native Molly Dattilo - after the bill was signed in 2007 by Gov. Mitch Daniels. Dattilo has been missing since July 6, 2004.
Tallent worked with communities and law enforcement to make sure they have tools and funding to search for missing people.
Molly's Law outlines procedures for handling missing-persons cases in Indiana and helps law enforcement and families work together during the first few days of a person's disappearance when time is crucial.
Missing-persons cases throughout Indiana have made headlines since Indiana University student Lauren Spierer was reported missing June 3. Tallent said she has tried to contact the family to lend support and plans to reach out to the family again next week.
"Having gone through this, we know exactly what they're going through," she said.
The support of others who understand often helps in the days after a family member's disappearance, she said.
"Someone reached out to me" during the early days of Lyons' disappearance, Tallent said, and the two have remained close throughout the years as they search for answers as to what happened in the two unsolved cases. She hopes to offer support and help in any way she can, Tallent said.
Tallent and many families of missing persons still wait for information about their loved ones. Families often go years without any leads or communication from law enforcement about the cases. The letter-writing campaign served as a way for officials to see that families still want answers, no matter how many years go by.
"They just don't want to be forgotten," Tallent said.
Lyons will be remembered with a memorial today at 2 p.m. in Carthage near the place her car was found. But the anniversary of her sister's disappearance doesn't mark the end of the letter-writing campaign, Tallent said.
"It's a voice for her," she said. "It's not time to give up or back down."The mystery behind the death of Southwestern High School graduate Nancy Lyons has never been resolved. She disappeared nine years ago.