Girl, 15, missing search under way Atholton student disappeared July 22

August 11, 1993|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Staff Writer

Howard County police are investigating the disappearance of a 15-year-old Columbia girl who has been missing for almost three weeks.

Tara Allison Gladden of the 5600 block of Vantage Point Road has not contacted her family since the time she was reported missing July 22, police said.

Tara has run away in the past, but never for such long period of time, said her mother, Johanna Gladden.

Mrs. Gladden said no matter what the situation, she's sure of one thing -- Tara would have called home.

"I know in my heart something is wrong," Mrs. Gladden said. "I don't believe she just ran away."

Mrs. Gladden and her mother-in-law, Dee Gladden, were at police headquarters in Ellicott City yesterday submitting a new poster for distribution. In the past two weeks, the women have placed posters with Tara's picture around Howard County, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Harford County and other areas.

They described Tara as an introverted, impressionable and shy girl who did not go out much.

Tara would be an 11th-grader at Atholton High School this year. Her parents took her out of Wilde Lake High School a year ago because they felt she was associating with a "bad crowd," Johanna Gladden said.

She last spoke with her daughter by phone July 22 around 10:30 a.m. When Johanna Gladden arrived home later that day, she found the basement door open and her daughter absent. She said none of Tara's personal belongings had been taken -- including her purse, some gifts, orthodontic items and "Huck," a stuffed doll she has cuddled to at night her whole life. "She did not leave my house thinking she wasn't coming back," her mother said.

Sgt. Gary Gardner, a police spokesman, said, "At this time, there's no evidence or proof of foul play."

Tara is a white female, about 5 feet 2 inches tall, with brown eyes and brown shoulder-length hair.

Tara's family is offering a reward for information leading to her safe return. Anyone with information should call police at (410) 313-2266.

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