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The Man in a White Suit
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, 18 March 2008 01:53

The 1970s was a tumultuous time. On the heels of the beatniks, Manson's family, and Kent state, the anti-establishment generation vowed to avoid the mistakes of its predecessors. The shadow of course, remained ever present, threatening to rip away what little innocence remained of the seemingly naive American psyche—whether taking the form of Bundy's disarming looks, Jone's cyanide-laced kool aide, or the ellusive slayer who left his calling cards along the Green River. It was during this period when a teen embarked on a journey that would bring her face to face with a shadow that we, as a society, would just as soon forget.

In 1978, a 16-year-old girl left home and spent a brief time in Washington's Department of Social and Health Services foster care system. By August of 1979, she had made her way to a strip club, the "Tease and Rip" on South 180th Street in the red light district that bordered Seattle's SeaTac Airport. It was during an early August morning raid, that DSHS caught up with her once more. This time however more than just DSHS was interested in the teen. She was going to be a material witness for the prosecution in a case they were building against "five men accused of forcing women and girls into prostitution."[1] Arrangements were made to move her to a safe house however due to her minor status, she was moved shortly thereafter to a group home outside of Seattle. A case worker later called the department reporting that the teen had "run away."

The following month, on September 26, 1979, the body of a girl was found by an early morning jogger in Blackie's Pasture, a Tiburon beach park. A witness also reported seeing a bon fire around 3 AM that morning.[2] The victim had been stabbed more than 40 times, shot in the head, and her face and upper torso burned beyond recognition with acetone. Witnesses also reportedly "saw a van speeding away."[3] It would however be another three decades before the victim would be identified. Thanks to DNA and CODIS, that is. While DNA has been the cornerstone for freeing the falsely convicted—some who had languished for decades on America's death row—in this case, it resulted in the 2007 identification of the 1979 Tiburon victim, Jane Doe #324UFCA.[4] That victim was the King County material witness, Tammy Vincent.

On September 30, 2007, the Marin County Sheriff Office posted a press release to their site, asking the public for assistance in identifying the teen's killer.[5] Outside of that release and a handful of news reports, very little information has been forthcoming about the case. On Sunday, March 16, 2008, AMW aired a show about this tragic case. Still, the information that has been published raises more questions than answers.

For example, as it turns out, Tammy had not "run away" as the case worker reported.[6] Rather, a staff worker "handed her over" to an attorney working for the defendants.[7] She was reportedly seen getting into a car owned by one of the defendants in the 19200 block of Aurora Avenue, in Seattle Washington.[8] The next sighting of Tammy was in San Francisco's Tenderloin district at the "Palace Theater" where officials believe she was briefly employed. She was last seen alive the evening before her murder at the since closed Woolworth's on Market and Powell. The cashier reported she was accompanied by a Caucasian male in a white suit, who purchased an ice pick and acetone. Both the ice pick and the acetone were found at the crime scene the following morning. Officials also believe more than one assailant was involved.[9]

So... who exactly are these "shadowy figures" that AMW alludes to? Well, it seems that officials believe Tammy worked for one "Joe Wiley Brown," the alleged "godfather of the Seattle area adult entertainment business." Outside of noting that he was convicted on "federal racketeering charges along with an ex-cop, for prostitution, arson, loan-sharking and extortion."[10] little else is available. Public records appear to be near non-existent. So much so, that it is almost as if these "shadowy figures" only existed in the minds of law enforcement and the attorneys who prosecuted them. Unlike the Charlie Mansons, Theodore Bundys, and Jim Jones of the world, whose bloody escapades captured an enthralled audience in their vice-like grip, as media outlets seemingly competed for gruesome headline titles, organized crime stings rarely if ever caused even the most minute blip on the media radar.

While predictably tragic, this is to be expected. After all, it seems that we, as a society, are much more comfortable with the prospect of a lone stranger prowling the streets for our loved ones, ala the serial killer. Or a seeming mad-man shooting up our schools or enciting his followers to mass suicide. Perhaps due to the sad fact that our nation seems more interested in sensationalistic gore than they are in truly making our world a better place to be. That, and the idea that our law makers and enforcers, physicians, and even clergy, are not only complicit, but appear to be playing a prominent role in delivering our loved ones into the sex slave industry, leaves a bad taste on our metaphorical palates. A very bad taste.

Although the sad reality is that Tammy's killers may never be identified, their presence challenges our all too naive belief that the boogey man is a product of poverty and oppression. For Tammy's tragic journey bespeaks of a corrupt system of elites that flourishes even today. One that purposefully delivered her into the hands of the man in a white suit and the final horrifying hours of pain and anguish, only to be interred for nearly three decades while their own existence became as myth in the cave of time. Even so, Tammy's story is important. As with the public revelation of the paedophile priests, just perhaps we are poised to open our collective eyes and make our final exodus out of Egypt. One can only hope.

 

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