An investigation into the disappearance of a 13-year-old city girl almost 25 years ago has been reopened and a former state corrections officer has been identified as a person of interest in the case, police said Tuesday.
That person identified is Arthur M. Slaybaugh, a corrections officer who died at age 41 after a heart attack in 2001, said Sgt. John Catone of the Saratoga Springs Police Department.
“He is someone that has always been a person of interest in the case,” Catone said on Tuesday.
Police stressed that Slaybaugh, who lived in Broadalbin and Corinth at various times, is not yet considered a suspect in the missing person case.
Tammie McCormick, who lived in Geyser Crest, was 13 the last time she was seen by her family. She was reported missing by her family after not returning from what was then the junior high school in Saratoga Springs on April 29, 1986. Her body has never been found.
“We still have some very key people we need to talk to,” Catone said, adding that the investigation is continuing.
Lt. Gregory Veitch said city police investigators Catone and Glen Vidnansky have been interviewing or reinterviewing people in the case, some of whom were or are state corrections officers at the Mount McGregor state prison in Wilton. “We started interviewing people two weeks ago,” Catone said.
“What we really want is closure,” Veitch said about the investigation. Police were talking with Tammie’s mother again on Tuesday.
“We are not sure where the body may be,” Veitch said.
Catone said he started looking more carefully at the missing person case more than a year ago. This past summer, Vidnansky started helping Catone with the investigation.
The city police are also working with the state police’s Major Crimes Unit on the case.
Police did not want to release Slaybaugh’s name because he is not a suspect and releasing the name, they said, could jeopardize the investigation. Veitch said police didn’t plan to publicly discuss the cold case until April, which will be the 25th anniversary of McCormick’s disappearance.
But, during the process of interviewing current and former correction officers at Mount McGregor prison, city police said someone called an Albany-based television station with the name of the person police were asking about.
Slaybaugh, then 31 and living in Broadalbin in Fulton County, was charged with a felony count of sexual abuse for allegedly sexually abusing a 28-year-old woman on Feb. 15, 1991, in the town of Northhampton, according to Daily Gazette files.
The outcome of that case could not be determined Tuesday.
Catone said police are not 100 percent positive McCormick is dead, but “a lot of information” indicates she was killed.
“We are looking for a body,” Catone said. He said police have some places they would like to look for the body once spring comes, Catone said.
“We will continue to talk to people,” Catone said. He said he talked to the missing girl’s mother on Tuesday.
He said police have talked to two retired corrections officers as well as some officers still working at Mount McGregor prison. He said there are some “key, important people in the case who live way out of state” that police still have to interview.
Catone said he started looking into the case on his own time. He said since the case was formally reopened police have not been able to devote full time to the investigation because they become busy with new, active cases.
Tammie was a seventh-grader at the junior high school when she vanished.
Family members last saw her in the morning at their home in Geyser Crest, heading out to the school bus, according to a Sunday Gazette story published in 2010. But Tammie, who would be 38 if still alive, never boarded the bus and never made it to her classes, according to those interviewed by police, the story said. She didn’t arrive home that night or the following day, prompting the family to file a missing juvenile report, the story said.
Investigators learned that on the morning of her disappearance she told her sister that she wasn’t going to make the bus and would likely hitchhike to school, according to the Gazette story.
Other friends told investigators they saw her leaving the school for a friend’s house on Saratoga Lake. They also told investigators she talked about running away to Florida with a friend, the story said.
She left the house with no spare clothes and hardly any money. The 5-foot-5-inch, 108-pound girl with hazel eyes and shoulder-length hair was dressed in a pair of black corduroys and other casual clothing that her mother said she wouldn’t wear if she were planning to run away, the story said.
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Categories: Schenectady County