Tammy Sue Rothganger

Left and Center: Tammy circa, 1984

Right: Age Progressed to age 42

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: May 16, 1984

Missing From: Eldon, Miller County, Missouri

Classification: Non-Family Abduction

Date Of Birth: August 10, 1968

Age: 15 years old

Height and Weight: 5’7″ and 140 pounds

Distinguishing Characteristics: White Female, Blonde/Brown hair, Brown eyes, Tammy has a scar on her left arm and a tattoo of the letter “R” on the same arm, she has several moles located on her cheeks and chin

Clothing/Jewelry Description: A sweatshirt, Nike shoes, a chained necklace with an arrowhead pendant, Tammy was also wearing a leather wristband at the time of her disappearance

NCMEC Number: 601885

Details of Disappearance

Tammy was last seen at approximately 7:45 am in Eldon, Missouri. She was last seen at Eldon High School but according to her mothers live in boyfriend at the time, Martin Dean Priest, she did not actually go inside the building. He pulled up to the curb and asked her where she was going.

Tammy reportedly told him that she was going to skip school and meet with friends at Rock Island Park. Priest offered to take her there. She was witnessed getting into a blue Plymouth outside of the school. She never attended her classes that day and has never been seen or heard from again. Her family reported her disappearance that afternoon.

Martin is the prime suspect in Tammys disappearance. In 1980, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for second degree murder in the death of a 13 year old girl. He was dating the victims mother at the time. He served approximately three years in prison before being released when the verdict was overturned on appeal.

Months after Tammy disappeared, he was accused in the 1984 double slaying of William Mayhugh and Frieda Bayliff. He was convicted of killing William but acquitted of Frieda’s death. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime.

Ok November 16th 1984, exactly 7 months to the day that Tammy vanished, 15 year old Katrina Cheely disappeared from her home in Witchia, Kansas. Priest offered to drive her to school because she was running late. Her case was initially treated as a runaway case.

On February 28th 1985, a can collector found Katrina’s body in a culvert on 151st Street West. She was shot to death. Priest was originally charged with killing her but he was acquitted during his trial.

On January 5th 2016, Martin was charged with Capital murder in Tammy’s case. The break came when an unidentified person came forward claiming he was a direct witness in Tammy’s murder. He stated that he was in the car when Martin hit her in the head with a wrench to knock her out and when raped and strangled Tammy. He and the unidentified man left her body in a local residence before burying her in an unknown location. Her body has never been recovered.

The witness and associate to Tammy’s murder and coverup would have been a juvenile at the time of the murder. He has only been identified as “D.N”. It’s unclear if he has been charged with his role in Tammy’s case.

Tammy remains missing and her whereabouts unknown. Her case remains classified as an abduction.

Investigating Agency

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

Eldon Police Department 573-392-5611

Source Information

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The Charley Project

The Doe Network


Find a Grave

NBC News

Lake News Online

Lake Expo