Tawnya Fay Parker

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Above: Parker, circa 1999

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: December 24 - 27, 1999 from Redondo Beach, California
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: May 29, 1969
  • Age: 30 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'4, 115 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes.
  • Medical Conditions: Parker was addicted to heroin at the time of her 1999 disappearance.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Parker was last seen in Redondo Beach, California sometime between December 24 - 27, 1999. She disappeared under suspicious circumstances and has never been heard from again. She led a transient lifestyle and worked as a prostitute in 1999. Authorities began searching for her in early 2000.

    Parker was living with her boyfriend, Thomas Freeman, at the time of her disappearance. On December 2, Freeman called the police after Parker threatened him with a knife. He said they got into a fight and she scratched his car and slashed his tires; she said he had raped her. Authorities took Parker to the hospital, where a forensic examination turned up no evidence of rape. On December 27, Freeman paid his roommate's son $50 to help him change the carpet in his bedroom. The carpet had two overlapping stains on it, one two feet in diameter and the other slightly smaller, that had soaked through the carpet and padding down to the concrete below. The stains, which were still wet, resembled blood. When Freeman's roommate's son asked about them, Freeman refused to answer what had happened.

    Freeman had a relationship with another prostitute besides Parker. The woman was in jail between March and December 1999. She called Freeman a few days before her release and heard Parker's voice in the background. When she was released from custody on December 31, Freeman picked her up and told her Parker had moved back to Atlanta, Georgia, where she was originally from and where some of her family lived. He told another woman he and Parker had broken up and she had moved to either Atlanta or to Seattle, Washington, where her two children and other relatives lived. Parker's loved ones in Seattle, however, hadn't seen or heard from her since December 1999.

    Freeman abruptly moved out of his apartment in March 2000. He discarded his mattress, which was nearly new. His roommate retrieved it, realized it had large bloodstains on it, and called the police about this and about the stains in Freeman's old bedroom. There were bloodstains on the walls as well as the floor, and indications that someone had tried to clean up. Authorities subsequently matched the blood to Parker, using her DNA they'd obtained from the rape kit they'd taken; there was enough to determine she had been seriously injured or killed.

    Neighbors reported hearing a woman scream in Freeman's apartment around the time police suspect Parker was murdered. She had said she loved Freeman and was reportedly jealous of his relationships with other women, and he was annoyed by this and furious with her for vandalizing his car. Freeman claimed the mattress was stained with menstrual blood from Parker and other women, and said he'd thrown it away so his new girlfriend wouldn't see the stains. When authorities searched his new residence in El Monte, California, they found Parker's blood on one of Freeman's sneakers.

    The prosecution offered Freeman a deal where he would plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter for an eleven-year prison sentence, but he refused the deal and went to trial. His defense argued he was innocent and there was no proof Parker was dead. Freeman was convicted of second-degree murder in November 2003 and sentenced to fifteen years to life in prison.

    Freeman's conviction was upheld on appeal in 2005. Parker's body has never been found.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Redondo Beach Police Department
    310-379-5411

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    Source Information
    California Attorney General's Office
    The Torrance Daily Breeze

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    Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated December 9, 2014; details of disappearance updated.

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