December 14, 2010

01/31/10: Bryce Tarter, 19, Savannah, GA

Update (12/14/10): The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has released its investigative findings into the death of Bryce Tarter. Investigators say the missing student drowned in his submerged pickup truck, possibly after running off the road. According to WTOC.com, "The Georgia State Patrol accident reconstruction team estimates Bryce's truck was traveling between 25 and 45 miles per hour down the road leading to Bell's Landing. The report speculates Bryce may not have noticed that the road ended, and plunged right into the water....A toxicology report was inconclusive, saying the body was too badly decomposed to test for drugs or alcohol."

The GBI is currently working with the family to return any of Tarter's belongings, after which, they say, the case will be closed. According to GBI's Micah Ward, the case file is complete.

Sources:


Bryce Daniel Tarter was at a party Saturday, January 30, 2010, at Georgia Southern University. Afterwards, his friends state they drove him back to his school, Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU), where his truck was parked. His family believes he was then heading off campus to his home in Guyton, GA, where he lived with his aunt and uncle, at approximately 3:30 a.m., on January 31. They feel he was probably taking the most logical route--Highway 204 to Old River Road.

Tarter was driving his White 2000 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Short Bed with Maine license plate 944 -7QD. On the passenger side rear window was an ATL Braves "A" and on the drivers side rear window was a Falcons symbol. According to the family's website, "Police have made attempts to track Bryce's cell phone. His phone died on Saturday [at 1:37, January 31] before he went missing. His carrier was Sprint and Sprint is one of the only carriers that cannot track a cell phone unless it is on." Attempted to track his GPS have failed, but the family is hoping that they will be able to locate the truck by tracking the vehicle alarm. Tarter's bank account has not been used since he disappeared.

Tarter is described as a white male, 6 feet tall, 140-155 pounds with short, sandy brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information regarding Tarter’s whereabouts was asked to call Armstrong police at 912-344-3333.

The Search for Bryce Tarter
After Bryce's disappearance, a pair of helicopters performed an aerial survey while relatives organized a ground search. Posters have been distributed throughout the campus, and a website and Facebook page, have been created to aid in the search. Donations to the family of Bryce Tarter can be made through Pay Pal on their website at: http://www.bringbrycehome.com/donate.html

Bryce Tarter Found
Tarter's truck was found at approximately 1:30 p.m. on April 28, 2010 submerged in ten feet of water in Savannah's Hoover Creek at Bell's Landing at the end of Apache Avenue. The location is near the AASU campus, about 500 yards from where the college student was last seen. According to Foster's.com, "the discovery came after authorities were rechecking Hover [sic] Creek on Tuesday using sonar and noticed a suspicious 'shadow' that turned out to be Bryce Tarter's vehicle containing his body."

An autopsy was completed the same afternoon (4/28/10). Micah Ward, Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Special Agent in Charge, said the body was positively identified through dental records as being Bryce Tarter (Foster's.com, 4/28/10). The comparison was made by a forensic dentist, according to one report. Tarter's family was notified and also told that foul play did not appear to be involved (SavannahNow.com, 4/28/10). The cause of death has not been reported, but the family has been told that it was probably just a freak accident.

According to Ward, the doors and windows of the truck were shut. The truck, which was filled with water and mud, is at the GBI Crime Lab in Savannah; the contents will be examined once it sufficiently dries out.

The Tarter family expressed mixed emotions at the discovery. Blake Tarter, Bryce's father, said, "For the last 24 hours, I've been unable to deal with the guilt of knowing where Bryce is and being relieved. For three months, we've been searching, but it feels wrong to feel relieved now that we know what happened." (Boston Herald, 4/28/10.) Michaella Tarter, Bryce's mother said, "We found him. It’s a step. It may not be in the direction we wanted, but it’s a step.” (Boston Herald, 4/28/10).

On 12/13/10, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has released its investigative findings. Investigators say the missing student drowned in his submerged pickup truck, possibly after running off the road. According to WTOC.com, "The Georgia State Patrol accident reconstruction team estimates Bryce's truck was traveling between 25 and 45 miles per hour down the road leading to Bell's Landing. The report speculates Bryce may not have noticed that the road ended, and plunged right into the water....A toxicology report was inconclusive, saying the body was too badly decomposed to test for drugs or alcohol."

According to reports, the case file was complete and the case would be closed as soon as Tarter's belongings were returned to his family.

About Bryce Tarter

Bryce Tarter grew up in Georgia and later moved to Kittery, Maine where he was a 2008 graduate of Traip Academy high school. He was a star baseball player at Traip, played football, and graduated with honors. The family lived in Kittery for nearly two years. At the time of his disappearance, the Tarter family lived in Rhode Island. Bryce Tarter was living with his uncle in Guyton, Georgia while attending school. His father, Blake, a Navy submariner was stationed in Georgia.

At the time Bryce Tarter's body was recovered, Bryce's mother, Michaella, and sister, Chaella, were in the process of relocating to Georgia to join Blake Tarter, who had been assigned to shore in Georgia. Michaella Tarter told the Boston Herald, "The furniture was delivered Monday and we heard about the truck on Tuesday,” she said. “Someone said to me, ‘Bryce was always home and he was just waiting for you to come home.’ The information didn’t come out until we were in the area and we were all together.”

Quick Facts:
Name/age: Bryce Tarter, 19
College: Armstrong Atlantic State University, GA
Last seen: 1/31/10, Savannah, GA
Recovered: 4/28/10, Hoover Creek, Savannah, GA
Hometown: Rhode Island
Residence: Guyton, GA
Last seen wearing: Dark brown jacket, white collared/ button up shirt, a blue tie, and an ATL Braves hat.
Last seen driving: His vehicle was described as a white 2000 Nissan Frontier with Maine plates. It is registered with Maine plates, but people are being asked to consider all trucks of this make, model and year, because it would be quite simple to switch a license plate.
Physical Description: white male, 6 feet tall, 140-155 pounds with short, sandy brown hair and blue eyes.

Published: 3/6/10, Revised: 4/28/10, 8/4/10, 12/14/10.

13 comments:

Mpls_Rain said...

Another case of someone's cell phone dying at the time they go missing. Where have we heard that before. Truly sad.

Mpls_Rain said...

I found this list of stories on Bryce. One article from March 5th said his parents now know that Bryce sent a text message 15 minutes before he disappeared and they know what time he powered off his phone.

http://interceder.net/news/bryce-tarter

http://www.wtoc.com/global/story.asp?s=12093385

Bridger78 said...

There have been 3 students that have gone missing in York, United Kingdom, in the last year. Another student, Robert Davies went missing in York in 2007. Two of these students were chemistry majors at York University. The other two went to Bishop Burton College. Bryce Tarter is from Kittery, Maine which is in York County. The New Brunswick man, Gregory Wye, went missing in Fredricton, New Brunswick which is in York county. Cornell University is in New York state. Finally, Shane Fair of Toronto, Ontario went to York University.

Bridger78 said...

Bryce Tarter's truck was located in Hoover Creek not far from Armstrong University on April 27, 2010. There was a body inside the truck.

BoyintheMachine said...

R.I.P. Bryce Tarter, my sympathies to his friends and family.

BoyintheMachine said...

Missing AASU Student Bryce Tarter’s Truck Recovered, Body Found Inside

http://tinyurl.com/37ee8xz

Monique777 said...

Very sad ending for his family and friends. RIP Bryce Tarter.

Christiane said...

The police say that they do not suspect foul play, but I feel the a lot of the evidence is pointing in that direction...

1. If the cell phone died at 1:37pm the day after the night he disappeared and his truck hit the water that night, his phone would have died instantly, not picking up any signal. There have been some discrepencies between articles of when his phone turned off, but his parents reported that he texted someone right before he left Armstrong campus.

2. The text message that he sent to his a friend of his before he disappeared is also suspicious. The friend said the text message didn't make sense, and so therefore he deleted it. I don't know about you, but if a text message doesn't make sense, I usually ask for clarification or something. Why would you delete it?

3. When they found the truck, it was in around 15 feet of water. It had front end damage and the airbags deployed... No tire tracks. If he hit the water going fast, wouldn't he have braked seeing as it was a dead end and no more road? And would hitting the water going fast cause the airbags to come out and cause front end damage? Or did something else happen?

4. How come they scanned the area 3 TIMES and just now found his truck? And why did Armstrong randomly request that the Marine Patrol come search that specific area after the reward went from $5000 to $1000?

5. My friend knows a family member, who told her that he was into prescription drugs and failed to pay for some he got that night. The family obviously wouldn't want to release that information to the press, but that is up you whether you believe this or not.


6. Why are all his friends that he hung out with that night, refusing to take a polygraph? What do they have to hide? If I were a close friend, I would have given every detail I could in order to find Bryce. Unless someone didn't want him to be found...

7. If this truly was an accident, why was he in that area? NO ONE knows? Someone just isn't talking.

8. I was told that the police found his truck in a peculiar place. They have no idea how it got where it got, if he had gone into the water "by accident".

I find it hard to believe that no foul play is suspected, when there are ends that just don't match up. Any comments?

Milliek said...

"2. The text message that he sent to his a friend of his before he disappeared is also suspicious. The friend said the text message didn't make sense, and so therefore he deleted it. I don't know about you, but if a text message doesn't make sense, I usually ask for clarification or something. Why would you delete it?"

This is a valid point, did you tell the police? They can get that message retrieved. Maybe it will make sense now. The friends might not want to take the polygraph if they were into drug activity. I don't understand how can he not pay for prescription drugs? or do you mean he owed his dealer? Once again you would need to inform the investigators. You could always leave an anonymous message on a tip line, but if you really want answers you would be better off to speak to them personally. Good Luck. I am afraid that the drug activity may be a common thread throughout all of these cases. But unless families are willing to come forward, I doubt we will ever know. It is not easy to admit when out children choose to use drugs. No matter how hard you try to keep them from it and warn them of the dangers, ultimately it is their choice. :(

learning my purpose said...

Does anyone have information as to the amount of alcohol Bryce consumed that evening? I read a post on one of his friends FB page that when he stated Bryce left the campus....the friends reply was "I hope he wasn't driving, he was in no condition to drive"...also...on BBH FB page...one woman posted she saw his truck parked up against a tree the morning he disappeared. She reported this to the police...not sure if it was ever confirmed that that was in fact his truck...but it would seem that he did not drive directly to Bell's Landing (where he was found)

scott75067 said...

3 months have passed since Bryce was found. Are there any factual updates to his story beyond speculation?

michaella tarter said...

Four years plus beyond my son being found, and here are your facts...

1. No one knows how intoxicated Bryce was since the toxicology reports were inconclusive.

2. The only person who knows what the last text said has nothing to do with the family or the friends that were present that night, but he was IN NO WAY at fault for Bryce's death. However this person was not the last person to see him alive.

3. Bryce was born in Hinesville GA, his father is a Sr Chief in the Navy, we traveled quite a bit. We were briefly stationed in Kittery ME where Bryce graduated from High School. He started school in Groton CT, then we moved to Charleston SC, Kings Bay GA, Waihiawa HI, Kittery ME, Newport RI, before he left for college in Savannah where his dad and I are from.

4. The day after his truck was found, the Chief of police with Savannah Metro stated he was not at all surprised that my son was found at Belles Landing due to a report that had been called in the morning Bryce went missing reporting a suspicious vehicle in the area. I repeat, this information came out the day AFTER Bryce was found. That call was placed by an officer with the AASU police, the chief of police knew but kept the information quiet throughout the 87 day investigation. This information would have been key in finding my son immediately following the accident. Although it may not have saved his life.

5. For 6 months following his death I was told I would be able to review his case. Once the toxicology report was received I would have full access. I was told week after week when I called that the report was not in, until the sheriff from the county I moved to intervened on my behalf on October 27, 2010. Six months to the date of my child being found, the day before Bryce's birthday. The report had been issued in June of 2010, but denied to me by the GBI from June to October. I was finally given a pathetic case file on Dec 31, 2010, but only after the Head of the GBI gave the order.

6. His phone would have powered off when his truck entered the water between 430-500 AM on January 31, 2010.

7. Bryce was not in any trouble with anyone for anything. Any rumor of drug use is just that...rumor. I will not say that he was perfect but he was in no way shape or form a drug addict. He made mistakes, and ultimately paid for those mistakes with his life.

Those are the facts...

michaella tarter said...

Four years plus beyond my son being found, and here are your facts...

1. No one knows how intoxicated Bryce was since the toxicology reports were inconclusive.

2. The only person who knows what the last text said has nothing to do with the family or the friends that were present that night, but he was IN NO WAY at fault for Bryce's death. However this person was not the last person to see him alive.

3. Bryce was born in Hinesville GA, his father is a Sr Chief in the Navy, we traveled quite a bit. We were briefly stationed in Kittery ME where Bryce graduated from High School. He started school in Groton CT, then we moved to Charleston SC, Kings Bay GA, Waihiawa HI, Kittery ME, Newport RI, before he left for college in Savannah where his dad and I are from.

4. The day after his truck was found, the Chief of police with Savannah Metro stated he was not at all surprised that my son was found at Belles Landing due to a report that had been called in the morning Bryce went missing reporting a suspicious vehicle in the area. I repeat, this information came out the day AFTER Bryce was found. That call was placed by an officer with the AASU police, the chief of police knew but kept the information quiet throughout the 87 day investigation. This information would have been key in finding my son immediately following the accident. Although it may not have saved his life.

5. For 6 months following his death I was told I would be able to review his case. Once the toxicology report was received I would have full access. I was told week after week when I called that the report was not in, until the sheriff from the county I moved to intervened on my behalf on October 27, 2010. Six months to the date of my child being found, the day before Bryce's birthday. The report had been issued in June of 2010, but denied to me by the GBI from June to October. I was finally given a pathetic case file on Dec 31, 2010, but only after the Head of the GBI gave the order.

6. His phone would have powered off when his truck entered the water between 430-500 AM on January 31, 2010.

7. Bryce was not in any trouble with anyone for anything. Any rumor of drug use is just that...rumor. I will not say that he was perfect but he was in no way shape or form a drug addict. He made mistakes, and ultimately paid for those mistakes with his life.

Those are the facts...