Tara Cossett Cossey

Left and Center: Tara circa, 1979

Right: Age Progressed to age 46

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: June 6, 1979

Missing From: San Pablo, Contra Costa County, California

Classification: Non-Family Abduction

Date Of Birth: August 24, 1966

Age: 12 years old

Height and Weight: 4’11” and 65 pounds

Distinguishing Characteristics: Biracial Female; Tara is Native American and White, Black hair, Brown eyes, Tara is of Choctaw descent, some missing persons agencies tend to spell her middle name as “Cossette” or “Cosette”

Clothing/Jewelry Description: A blue tank top, a pair of cutoff Levi’s jeans, thong sandals, Tara was last known to have a red long sleeved shirt tied around her waist

NCMEC Number: 895143

Details of Disappearance

Tara was allegedly kidnapped from San Pablo, California on June 6th 1979. She went to Pirelli’s liquor store to purchase a bag of sugar for her mother. She was last seen during the day inside of the Montalvin Shopping Center. Tara never returned to her family’s home and has never been seen or heard from again. The bag of sugar she purchased for her mother was later found. Investigators believe individual(s) unknown we’re responsible for Tara’s presumed abduction. Her case may be linked to the abductions of other girls in the Bay Area.

In June of 1988, Amber Jean Swartz Garcia was abducted from the front of her house as she played with a jump rope in Pinole, California. In November of 1988, Michaela Joy Garecht was abducted from the outside of a market as she was retrieving a scooter in Hayward, California. In January of 1989, Ilene Beth Misheloff was kidnapped while she walked home from school in Dublin, California. In December of 1991, Amanda Nicole Campbell was abducted from the road as she rode her bike to a friends house in Fairfield, California. Authorities have not conclusively linked the cases but believe that they may be connected.

A man named Timothy Binder has been treated as a suspect in Tara’s abduction for years. He’s suspected in the other cases of kidnapped girls as well. He was described as weird and odd and may have been playing mind games with the families of the abducted children. He may have been manipulating them into believing he was involved in the kidnappings. Binder came to be suspected after he sent girls of the Bay Area cards because they were “lonely”.

Investigators asked Amber Swartz-Garcia’s mother, Kim, to maintain a friendship with him in order to see if he knows the whereabouts of the missing girls. She agreed that he seemed to be playing mind games and was manipulative. He did not reveal anything of significance in the cases. Binder strongly resembled a man sought in Ambers disappearance. It should also be noted that his van had pictures of young children in it. There were also posters of Ambers disappearance were on the sides of his van.

Binder would frequently visit the grave of Angela Bugay, she was 5 years old when she was kidnapped and murdered in Antioch, California on November 19th 1983.

Angela’s body was found buried in a shallow grave a few days after her disappearance. Tim was considered a suspect in her unsolved murder for years until it was solved in 1995. Her mothers ex boyfriend, Larry Graham, was charged with killing her in April of 1996 after his DNA was found to be a match to a semen sample found on her body. He was convicted of killing her in 2003. He took his own life in his jail cell in 2009.

Investigators traced the scents of Amber and Amanda to Bugay’s grave. He has not been connected to the girl’s disappearances. He sent various letters and odd things to police and the FBI. Prior to Michaela’s abduction, he told the FBI that he beloved the next child to be taken would be 9 years of age. Michaela’s kidnapping took place shortly after he told them this. She was 9 years old when she was taken.

In 1990, Binder sent a holiday card to a FBI profiler. The card depicted a child holding up 4 fingers. Amanda Campbell’s abduction took place in December of 1991. She was 4 years old when she disappeared. He also sued Amanda’s hometown of Fairfield for defamation of character and won a $90,000 settlement.

Investigators have not conclusively linked Binder to Tara’s case and some have suggested another person was probably the one who took her. Tara’s abduction remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

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

Contra Costa County Sheriffs Department 925-646-2441

Source Information

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

California Department of Justice

The Charley Project

The Doe Network


Justice for Native Women