Band's help gives woman's case national attention

She disappeared before Crue concert

April 27, 2005|By Stephen Kiehl | Stephen Kiehl,SUN STAFF

Motley Crue was about to go onstage in Portland, Maine, on Saturday night when bass player Nikki Sixx checked his e-mail. There was a message telling him about a fan from Baltimore County who was last seen on her way to a concert by one of her favorite bands - Motley Crue.

"I showed it to the band and we were like, `We've gotta do something,'" Sixx said yesterday in a phone interview from London, Ontario. "We knew a $10,000 reward had been put up, and we decided to match that. But what we really could do was get it national exposure."

In the past few days, news of the disappearance of Tracey Gardner-Tetso has swept the nation. The 33-year-old Rosedale woman was last seen March 6, before she failed to meet friends at a Motley Crue concert at the MCI Center in Washington. Her car was later found in the Glen Burnie area, and her family has focused search efforts in that region.

Motley Crue's involvement has raised significant interest in the case from national media. The band paid to have Gardner-Tetso's photo distributed on news wires, and the TV show America's Most Wanted may feature the story. It's exactly the result the band had wanted.

"It's lit a fire," Sixx said. "I know there's a lot of people who are very motivated. Everyone's pitching in and it's good karma and hopefully we'll find her alive."

Gardner-Tetso has worked for the past five years as a dispatcher in the Laurel office of Aggregate Industries, a producer of construction materials. Since her disappearance, about 40 of the firm's employees and clients have spent their weekends searching for her. They said she was a big fan of live music and had been excited about the Motley Crue show. A friend had bought her tickets as a birthday present.

"When she didn't come to work that Monday morning, I knew right away," said her supervisor, Monika Barilla. "Tracey loves rock and roll and loves Motley Crue. She would not have missed it for the world."

Police say there is a record of Gardner-Tetso's car passing through the southbound tube of the Harbor Tunnel about 8 p.m. March 6. Her last outgoing cell phone call was about 3 p.m. that day. Friends who tried to call her later that night said her phone had been turned off.

Gardner-Tetso is described as white, 5 feet 4 inches tall, 130 pounds, with long blond hair and blue eyes.

Her mother, Cathy Gardner of Glen Burnie, said the family has been touched by the outpouring of support from the band, from friends and colleagues, and many others.

"Her father and I have been out [searching] and we've had many, many volunteers who don't even know us who have come out Saturdays and Sundays in rain, shine, cold," Gardner said yesterday, after returning from searching in Baltimore County. "Keep searching. That's it. Keep searching."

Motley Crue's involvement is not the first time a recording artist has publicized a missing person's case. In January, former Beach Boy Brian Wilson put out an appeal for help in finding a cellist from his band who had disappeared after the Dec. 26 tsunami in Southeast Asia. And in 1993, actress Winona Ryder championed the cause of Polly Klaas, a 12-year-old girl from Ryder's hometown who was kidnapped and murdered.

Motley Crue will be returning to the Washington area in August for a show at Nissan Pavilion. Sixx said he hopes to see Gardner-Tetso there.

"We'll save two tickets for her in the front row," Sixx said. "They're in her name at will call. We hope she picks them up."

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