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    10 years since Amanda Tusing's murder, no arrests

    11:01 PM, Sep 22, 2010   |    comments
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    Tusing's mother, Susan, says, "I noticed in her pictures, she was always smiling or laughing. Had that big smile on her face."

    It was the most exciting time in Tusing's life. She was a recent college grad and newly engaged.

    Susan adds, "She was so friendly and polite and people just thought the world of her."

    Her parents say the 20-year-old had a big dream. She'd be a veterinarian.

    "It was everything she wanted it to be. She just loved being with animals. She was an animal person," says Susan.

    The dream though faded on June 14, 2000.

    Amanda's father Ed says, "It was just a parent's worst nightmare."

    Amanda was off to visit her fiancée in Jonesboro, a nearly hour drive from her Mississippi County home.

    Susan told THV in 2003, "I really didn't want her to go, tried to get her to stay home 'cause I knew it was supposed to be stormy. She said, 'Oh it'll be alright, I've got to go see Matt, we're supposed to go out to dinner. I'm running late, gotta go' - and out the door she went."

    It'd be the last time she'd see Amanda alive. At 1:30 a.m., Matt called Amanda's parents.

    Susan adds, "According to him, she'd had plenty of time to get home."

    He said Amanda left his apartment around 11:30 p.m. She always called him when she'd made it home.

    So fearing the worst, they immediately started looking for Amanda along Highway 18, a busy stretch of road between Jonesboro and Blytheville.

    "Before they got there, Matt called me and said they'd found the car, but he couldn't find her."

    Amanda's black 1992 Pontiac was abandoned.

    Susan says, "The keys were still in the car, her purse was still in the car. It was just like she'd parked the car and got out and left it."

    Three days later, her body was found in a ditch some 14 miles from her car. The medical examiner's office ruled the cause of death as drowning. Police are certain it was murder.

    Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann explains, "When the body was found in the water, there was no obvious signs of trauma to the body."

    Ten years later, they've interviewed some 700 people. Detectives say the killer was likely someone she didn't know.

    He says, "The biggest problem we have is there is no physical evidence. Absolutely zero. There are no witnesses."

    Her parents say Amanda was always careful of who she talked with. Plus, it was a stormy night, so detectives believe it may have been someone pretending to be a police officer who lured her into his car.

    Amanda's father Ed says, "We'd always told Mandy if she'd had trouble, try to get to a public area somewhere, under some lights. And the car was parked under a light on the side of the highway in someone's front yard."

    Susan says, "Maybe someone saw a blue light behind her."

    McCann says Amanda's fiancée' has been cooperative with police. He passed three polygraph tests and is not considered a suspect.

    So for now, all the Tusings can do is keep hoping and praying yet another decade doesn't pass before her killer is arrested.

    Susan says, "You are very insignificant. You are very chicken and you're hiding behind my daughter's murder."

    There were no signs of a struggle or a sexual assault.

    If you know any information, call the Craighead County Sheriff's Office at 870-933-4526. There is a $10,000 reward leading to an arrest.

    Our Arkansas cold case series airs every Wednesday on the "THV 10:00 Difference."

    If you know of an unsolved murder or missing persons case, email us at news@todaysthv.com.

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