MARION, Ind. – Tuesday marks 29 years since an Indiana Wesleyan student disappeared.
“We had her for 19 years. She’s been missing for 29 years, that’s basically a lifetime,” said Garry Reitler, Tricia’s father.
In the middle of the night on March 29, 1993, Garry and Donna got a phone call.
“At that time, we knew something was really wrong,” said Garry Reitler.
Detectives told the Reitlers their 19-year-old daughter Tricia was missing. She was a freshman at Indiana Wesleyan when she took a break from writing a term paper and walked to the store about a half mile away. Tricia never returned to campus.
“I think early on, I honestly felt like we would find her, that this case would be solved,” said Garry Reitler.
Despite a massive manhunt and countless hours of investigating, the case is still unsolved. No one’s been arrested, and no one seems to know what happened to Tricia Reitler.
“It’s time. Nobody should have to be doing this for 29 years,” said Donna Reitler.
Tricia’s parents believe she’s dead. After all these years, they’re still left questioning and playing out all the scenarios.
“I know there is somebody out there that has the answers that we desperately seek,” said Donna Reitler.
Marion police refuse to call this a cold case. Investigators tell FOX59 they got a couple tips as recent as just last fall. Unfortunately, those tips didn’t lead to anything.
“You hear about these kinds of cases but when they actually happen close to home a lot of people hold onto that feeling,” said Timothy Pauley, coordinator with Grant County Crime Stoppers.
Even with major improvements in technology since 1993, the Reitlers still feel like the break in the case is going to come from a tip from someone.
“To me it’s amazing that it’s been 29 years, because secrets are hard to keep for this time period,” said Garry Reitler.
Tricia was studying psychology with the goal of helping broken families. Today Tricia would’ve been 48 years old. Day after day, Tricia’s family does their best to remain hopefully that someday they’ll have some answers.
“We’re not looking for revenge. We’re beyond that. We just want to bring her home. It would just mean so much to all of us,” said Donna Reitler.
Several years ago, Indiana Wesleyan created a reflection area on campus in honor of Tricia. The university released a statement saying in part, “Tricia Reitler was a beloved member of our Indiana Wesleyan community, and her disappearance from campus, while nearly 30 years ago today, has not been forgotten.”
If you know anything about this case, call Grant County Crime Stoppers at 765.662.TIPS.