Investigation Discovery’s ‘People Magazine Investigates: Highway of Horrors’ profiles the 1992 case of Tammy Zywicki, a 21-year-old college student who was last seen alive alongside her disabled car, on the side of Interstate 80, in Illinois. But it was on September 1st, nine days later, that her cold, bloodied, and lifeless body was recovered from the side of a Missouri highway miles away. Despite the years that have gone by, Tammy’s unsolved murder remains an open investigation to this day. And with advanced DNA technology, the authorities and her family, especially her mother, hope to obtain some long-due, much-deserved answers.
Who is Tammy Zywicki’s Mother?
JoAnn Zywicki, a mother of 4, now 78, was a former secretary turned homemaker when she lost her only daughter in 1992. Having moved from Greenville, South Carolina to Marlton, New Jersey, just the year before, JoAnn was the kind of mother who gave her children all the freedom, support, and love they needed. Therefore, when Tammy didn’t make a check-in call like she said she would upon reaching Grinnell College in Iowa, JoAnn or her husband, Hank, weren’t all that worried. But as the day passed by with no word from Tammy, they knew something was wrong.
“We thought she probably met up with friends, and it got too late to call,” JoAnn said. “But [by the next morning], we knew something was wrong,” Hank added. “It just wasn’t like her not to check in with us.” Days later, when JoAnn heard the horrific news of her daughter’s slaying, she couldn’t believe it. And quite quickly, she said that if the authorities hadn’t initially treated Tammy’s disappearance as though she were a runaway, her case could have been easily solved. “It’s very irritating,” JoAnn said in 1997. “There were so many blunders in our case. They lost the case in the first few days.”
Where is Tammy Zywicki’s Mother Now?
It’s been nearly 30 years since Tammy Zywicki was killed, but her mother is still in pursuit of justice, mindful of the fact that her husband passed away in May 2015 without the closure of knowing what exactly happened to their daughter. “Maybe somebody out there knows something,” JoAnn says. “I still have hope.” When Tammy’s case was profiled on NBC’s ‘Dateline,’ JoAnn stated that she believes it’s essential to continue the investigations into the matter. “You relive this every day,” she admitted. “The memories are still there.”
It seems like JoAnn wants her daughter’s murder solved not just for herself but also for others, to prove that old cases can still produce positive results. Today, the 78-year-old tries to balance her life by spending her time keeping busy in the retirement community in Ocala, Florida, where she resides, keeping in touch with her three sons and several grandchildren, all the while ensuring that Tammy is never forgotten. Even though the grief is still there, JoAnn says that “the good days outnumber the bad days. You can always have it worse off than you have it. So, I try to think of the good times.”
Read More: Who Are The Suspects in Tammy’s Murder Case?