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Police search for missing vehicle in Cape homicide; Woman slain, authorities say little

By Staff | Jun 2, 2008

By VALARIE HARRING, “mailto:vharring@breezenewspapers.com”>vharring@breezenewspapers.com

Northeast Seventh Street was a study in contrasts Saturday.

On one side of the street, neighbors gathered — a pair of middle school youths sitting along the roadway, a bicycle at their side; two women quietly conversing on chairs on a front porch, a small table in between.

Conversations were muted, hushed exchanges inaudible to those nearby, actions mundane — a bite of sandwich held in a young boy’s hand, the repeat adjustment of a baseball cap turned to the back, the lazy fanning away of the sweltering afternoon heat.

Across the street, actions were a lot more frenetic — a rushing in and out of the neatly tended home by investigators carrying cameras, evidence bags and other tools of the trade.

Violent death had come to this neighborhood of neatly tended homes and neighbors who knew and helped each other. The dividing line: yards of stark yellow police tape bisecting the road and running round the residence at 1605 and the closest homes.

There was one common purpose behind the quiet waiting and the activity split by the flutter of plastic, though: both sides hoped for answers.

So far, few have been forthcoming. Sunday, police still had little to reveal about the death of the woman, whose body was found shortly before noon Saturday inside the brick-color home with white trim, just a lot or two away from one of the city’s most heavily traveled roads, Del Prado Boulevard.

The deceased has been identified as Tamara Jo Hyatt, 50. The neighbors knew her as Tammy.

Officials said Sunday the death is a homicide — the fifth in the city this year — that occurred under “very suspicious circumstances.

As of Sunday evening, police were continuing to look for her vehicle, a green 1998 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck with tag number H320FG.

No other details were released as the investigation continued through its second day, including how the woman died.

Neighbors say they were told the death was violent, that blood hindered investigators trying to ascertain a description of the deceased or make a visual identification.

Police were notified at 12:01 p.m. Saturday, according to city spokesperson Connie Barron. The call was made by the homeowner, who police have not yet identified.

Audry Noel, who lives across the street, was one of the neighbors who spoke to officers as they canvassed the neighborhood for possible witnesses. She said the body was discovered by the homeowner’s stepson, who came by the house while his father was at work.

The owner, an elderly man neighbors said is in his 80s, returned home with officers shortly before 5:30 p.m. Saturday while forensic teams continued their work inside the house.

He could not be reached for comment.

Noel said despite his age, the homeowner still works six days a week, and had offered a place to stay to the victim, who was going through some troubled times. She had been there a month or a little more.

A month, six weeks, tops,” Noel said.

She said the homeowner is a good neighbor, always ready to lend a hand.

He’s a sweet man,” she said. “We call him Pops, my kids call him Pops. He goes to church on Sundays and is very hard working, he works Monday through Saturday.

He recently has put thousands of dollars into the home and the two neighbors were trading some of the work back and forth, Noel said, adding she has spoken to him.

She said he appear to be doing OK and stayed at a friend's home Saturday night.

Another neighbor said she had received little information from police, who had blocked access to the end of the block near her home.

I haven’t heard anything but I’m assuming it’s not good,” said Jessica Wiesner.

She said she did not know the neighbors.

Not really, she said.