The disappearance of Tammy Lynn Leppert is a tale of absolute devastation. It’s a story about someone who was on her way to achieving the American dream, only to vanish without a trace.
It’s a story about dreams coming true just moments before a disappearance. It was a downfall that no one saw coming, especially for someone like Tammy who lived life to the absolute fullest. This is her incredible story.
The Star To Be
Leppert was a beautiful and talented child. She was born in 1965, in Rockledge, Florida. She was a child model, and that lifestyle transitioned into teenagehood. She was someone who knew what she wanted from a young age.
She wasn’t drawn to fame, but she was obsessed with the art of acting. It was her dream to someday be able to make a living being an actress in Hollywood and on the big screen.
Started Her Career Early
She was eighteen when she decided she wanted to be serious about acting. She had big plans to move to Hollywood in 1983, but sadly, she was never able to live out that dream.
She had started modeling in many beauty pageants at the age of four. By the end of her pageant career, she had done nearly 300 of them. That launched her into a few small roles in movies.
Her First Break
In 1982, she got a part in the movie Spring Break as a boxing match participant. She was also used on the cover of the movie.
In the 1983 film Scarface, she acted in the role of a female distraction at the look-out car during the bloody chainsaw shower scene. She was incredibly excited to find out that she got her first lead role in a movie called Cover Girl Behind The Scenes.
Tammy’s mother was all about the glamor. She was a modeling agent, which made Tammy’s transition into the industry a little easier.
Linda Curtis, Tammy’s mom, was also her manager and agent. She guided her career. She was constantly running Leppert to auditions wherever she would go. Her mom loved watching her excel at the thing she loved to do the most. She believed she had what it took to make it to the highest level.
Something Wasn’t Right
But, there was something that changed in Tammy. Something that neither her parents or her good friends could ever explain. After she got the part in Scarface, she went away for a weekend of partying.
Her best friend, Wing Flannagan, said that she came back a completely different person. It wasn’t even close. She was acting like someone was always out to get her. She was unnecessarily paranoid about stuff.
She Just Wouldn’t Open Up
Wing was quoted as saying, “Sometimes I’d ask her what was on her mind, or if anything was bothering her. Moreover, she’d usually change the subject, or she’d say oh, nothing you know then try to laugh it off.”
It was after that weekend getaway that she became nothing but a ball of anxiety and severe paranoia. She was a super happy person, but now she was living in constant fear of something.
She Wouldn’t Provide Details
This behavior for her was so out of character. There was obviously something that she was hiding that she didn’t want to tell anyone. Tammy’s mom and friends became increasingly worried about her.
They didn’t really know how to approach the situation. Something terrible had happened to her at the party, and they needed to find out. But, there was only one person who could provide the details and she wasn’t willing to do so.
Was It Legitimate?
It was very bizarre how Tammy would try to brush off the idea that she had changed. It was so obvious to everyone, but she just wasn’t willing to open up about it. It was nearly impossible for Tammy’s mom and Wing to determine whether Leppert’s fear was legitimate, or if it was just a paranoid illusion.
It became impossible to predict her behavior. All that they knew was she had changed for the worse.
She Went To Miami
As mentioned before, she was offered a small role in the big budget movie Scarface. Despite her state of mind, she took the job and began shooting in Miami.
Tammy was going to cut some costs and stay with a family friend for the duration of the film. His name was Walter Leibowitz, a California attorney who was living near the place they were shooting the film. Tammy was the youngest actress on set.
A Curious Incident On Set
Being a young beauty, she was garnering a lot of attention. Tammy’s character was a girl that distracted Manny during a grisly chainsaw bathroom scene.
Only four days into shooting, there was an incident. Walter got a call from the casting director that Tammy had a breakdown on set. Apparently, a scene where someone was shot and artificial blood was spilled triggered her to mentally breakdown in front of everyone.
Her Claims Were Serious
She was taken to a trailer to cool off, but she was still crying hysterically. She was asked what was wrong, and she said someone was trying to kill her. At this point, she was in a state of fear and anxiety.
Tammy’s paranoia only got worse after that incident. Even if she was with her family, she wasn’t able to be her fun-loving self. At this point, it was out of control.
Some Good Days, Some Bad Days
Wing said that she had the odd day where she seemed normal and giggly. But, most of the days she was on edge. She was looking for something, but no one knew what it was. She was resorting to staying in her room a lot more.
She was extremely careful eating and drinking, and she would only take food from other people’s plates. She was also not drinking from open cans.
Took Her To The Hospital
Tammy was advised by Walter to go to the hospital. Tammy’s mother backed this up and told her to go see a doctor. But, on July 1st, 1983, Tammy snapped. She started to smash the windows of her home with a baseball bat.
She even began to attack Wing. She was erratic and crazy and it was a serious problem. She was taken to a mental hospital for observation and drug testing.
Took Her To The Police Station
After just three days of staying in the medical center, Tammy was released. According to the doctors on site, there was no sign of alcohol or drug abuse and there certainly wasn’t any sign of mental illness.
Tammy’s mom wasn’t having it. She knew her daughter better than anyone and was certain something was wrong. She insisted they go to the police. Tammy was acting as if someone was going to kill her.
The Last Day She Was Seen
Both Tammy and her mom went to pay a visit to the police station. She wanted to get to the bottom of this. But, Leppert refused to tell the police that she was in danger.
Then, tragedy struck. Tammy was last seen in Cocoa Beach, Florida, around 11 am on July 6th, 1983. She left her mom’s home and was never seen again. Her mom says that she left with her friend Keith Roberts.
Keith Roberts Was Last To See Her
Some reports say that she had left without any money or shoes. Some friends say that she and Keith got into an argument, and he dropped her off alone at a gas station near a highway.
Keith was the last person believed to have seen her. He was later ruled out of the investigation after they couldn’t find any evidence linking him to the disappearance. But, Tammy’s mom wasn’t having it.
She Told Someone Else That She Was Being Stalked
She had told police that Tammy would confide in her about the fact she was scared of Keith. Some believe he had a hand in this case.
Another one of Tammy’s friends, Rick, told police that Tammy told him someone was trying to kill her. He took her to church the night before to pray, and she was crying the entire time. He believed she was under the influence of drugs.
She Was Still Being Vague About The Details
He said that Tammy didn’t go into too much detail, but she said she was going away for some time. He figured she was talking about the trip to Hollywood to chase her dreams.
Tammy’s mom also noted that she left the house the last time without brushing her hair, which was very odd. She had planned to get her daughter a therapist but she disappeared before her mother could arrange that.
She Wasn’t Another Runaway
One thing that really made Tammy’s family angry was the fact that the police barely paid any attention to her case. They wouldn’t help out and just assumed that she was a runaway.
Her family NEVER thought that she would run away. A police report wasn’t even filed on the case for five days after she went missing. Police say that because she’s an adult, her missing case wasn’t as urgent as one for a kid.
The Keith Roberts Story
The story that surrounded Keith Roberts was reported in a Florida Today tabloid. Basically, Tammy called Keith and asked him to pick her up. He apparently gave her $300 and they fought because he refused to drive her to see a friend in Fort Lauderdale, about two hours away.
She then told Keith to let her out of the vehicle and he obliged. He said that it was the last time he saw her.
What Happened That One Weekend?
Tammy had apparently made a few calls to her aunt from a payphone. It’s presumed that she had made those calls from the pay phone near the spot that Keith dropped her off.
The question still remains, what happened on that weekend away? What caused her to say that she saw something horrible? What happened that completely changed who she was as a person? Did she witness a criminal activity? Who knows.
A Few Suspects Emerged
It was thought that Tammy may have been the victim of Australian serial killer Christopher Wilder. He was known to be responsible for at least 12 abductions and rapes of young women around the area.
Eight of those women were found murdered. He had an eye for young models and lured many of them with the promise that he had contracts for them. That fits perfectly into Tammy’s case, which is unfortunate.
They Filed A Lawsuit
He was killed during a shootout with police in 1984. What made this very creepy was that Tammy’s mother had seen Wilder come into their agency many times.
Tammy’s family also filed a $1 million lawsuit against Wilder’s estate before he was dead. But, the police were never able to connect the two. Tammy’s agent at the time said that she never believed that Wilder had anything to do with her disappearance.
What Were Her Mom’s Motives?
After Tammy’s mom’s lawsuit against him, many locals started questioning her motives. Was she just doing this to get money and attention? She didn’t have any proof. The family had claimed that Tammy was their only source of income before she went missing.
Along with murder, there was also speculation that Tammy was sold into the sex trade. Rumors were flying that she was overwhelmed with her life, and ran away and changed her name.
Another Suspect Was Brought Up
There was another person of interest considered to be a possible suspect in Tammy’s disappearance. His name was John Brennan Crutchley and he was suspected of killing as many as 30 women in the 1980s.
In 1986, he was sentenced to life in prison for the kidnap and rape of a woman in Orlando, Florida. What made the case even stranger was that he drank the victim’s blood. Authorities were not able to connect him to Tammy either.
Her Mom’s Theories
Tammy’s mom had many theories about where her daughter went. She believed that her daughter may have known about a local drug trafficking and money laundering ring, and eventually became a target of the gang.
She had reported that Tammy filed a report to police about what she knew. Investigators argued that there were no records of the report and her theory was never confirmed. Walter Leibowitz remembers Tammy talking to him about money laundering and thinks that there’s merit to her mom’s claims.
A Few Bizarre Calls To Police
The Cocoa Beach police station say that they have received a couple of phone calls stating that Tammy is alive and well. The woman on the other line said that when Tammy was ready, she would contact the police when she felt it was right.
The person called again a short time later and said that Tammy was doing what she loved, and was attending nursing school. The police department thinks she ran away, and there’s no foul play.
Tammy’s Last Wish
Tammy’s mother died in 1995. She died of a blood infection after a failed blood transfusion. She was terminally ill and only had a few months left. She died without knowing what happened to her daughter.
Her dying wish was to find out what happened. She started writing a screenplay that accused local elites of their involvement in her disappearance. She still believed that it had to do with the drug operations and money laundering going on in the area.
But They Haven’t Given Up
But, there are still people who haven’t given up hope. Tammy’s sister Suzanne operates a Facebook page and a message board to share information. She believes her mom’s theory on what happened to Tammy.
Her posts are all related to trying to find more information about her whereabouts. She writes “if you think you know what happened to my sister, please share the information with the Cocoa Beach PD, please.”
Profiling Tammy’s Case
Suzanne has continued to work with missing persons’ agencies around the country to help her find her sister. Tammy’s DNA profile was also processed, however, her finger and dental records have not been accessed by the local police.
After nearly four decades, the mystery of Tammy Lynn Leppert is still alive and well. She’s considered missing, and her disappearance is still yet to be solved. Let’s hope for an end to this sometime soon.