LELAND, NC (WWAY) — More than 24 years ago, a woman went missing in Leland. Her disappearance remains unsolved.
Tammy Ferguson was reported missing almost two weeks after she was last seen in Leland in 1995.
One detective determined to find answers has at least three theories on what could have happened in her case.
“For so many years, I didn’t realize people were still lookin,'” Tonya Kennedy said.
For 24 years, Tonya Kennedy has been looking for her mom, Tammy Ferguson, after she went missing in Brunswick County.
“She didn’t always make great choices in the people that she hung out with and the things she did,” Kennedy said. “I thought all this time that she wasn’t being looked for and that her case was not important.”
Detective Felicia McCabe with the Leland Police Department said that is not the case.
“Well, I’ve been involved with this case prior to even getting into law enforcement,” McCabe said. “I’ve been an active member with the Cue Center for Missing persons.”
McCabe said she has also gotten really close to the family.
“They’re great people,” McCabe said. “They deserve to be able to find their mom.”
McCabe said Ferguson moved to Leland from Alabama in May of 1995 with her husband Benny for his construction job at the time.
“We know she was here for at least 30 days,” McCabe said. “We believe it might have been two to three months.”
They know that because Ferguson was receiving a disability check at the time.
“Due to an injury where she had worked at a textile company. She had actually lost a piece of her finger,” McCabe said.
McCabe said Ferguson would call her mom, Jane Ogelsby, to get her check each month.
“Religiously, Tammy would contact her the first of every month to get that check,” McCable said.
McCabe said they talked on June 1, 1995. On July 1, 1995, Ogelsby did not hear from Tammy, so she gave her a week. On July 6, 1995, she still had not heard from Tammy.
“She became very, very worried,” McCabe said. “That’s when she called the Leland Police Department basically for a welfare check.”
McCabe said around June 22, 1995 was the last time Ferguson talked to her mom.
“There used to be a phone booth that was right there on the corner of Oakland and Village Road,” McCabe.
McCabe said detectives went to search the home Ferguson lived in with her husband Benny at 114 Old Fayetteville Road.
“They found clothes that were still in the washer,” McCabe said. “They found social security checks that hadn’t been cashed. There was also a medicaid ID card.”
McCabe said based on all that, Ferguson was not planning on going anywhere at least not anytime soon. She said they also realized that Ferguson’s husband, Benny, had moved back to Alabama.
“He had been back and Tammy wasn’t with him for 2-3 weeks which is very strange, so of course, Benny Ferguson was going to be our main suspect,” McCabe said.
“I didn’t particularly care for him,” Kennedy said. “I didn’t think he was good for my mom.”
McCabe said according to rumors, Benny would talk about it when he was intoxicated.
“Telling a lot of his family and friends and random strangers that he’s the one that killed Tammy, but Bennie was also the type of person that when he intoxicated he liked to sound really bad and would make up stuff to make him look bigger and badder than he really was.” McCabe said.
McCabe said Benny has died. While they have not ruled him out, she does have another scenario.
“John Wayne Boyer, the serial killer from Brunswick County,” McCabe said.
McCabe said Boyer had already killed three other people in this area.
“We know that he was in this area during the time,” McCabe said.
She said several different agencies have put together a timeline on Boyer.
“It’s 90 pages long from the time he was born to the time he was arrested in Tennessee,” McCabe said. “So we have a lot of information in reference to him. Is it going to be him? We’re not sure. But could it possible be him yes?”
McCabe has one more theory.
“Benny could have been involved in the Dixie Mafia,” McCabe said.
“Because of Benny knowing a certain crime that was committed and Tammy having knowledge of that, we recieved information that maybe she was taken out because of that information,” McCabe said.
She said it could be something totally different. That is why they need the public’s help.
“Someone had to have known or ran across Benny and Tammy at one point in time,” McCabe said.
She said even the smallest piece of information could help.
“Any little information is very very beneficial,” McCabe said.
While they don’t have a suspect or any remains, Kennedy still has hope.
“I do continue knowing in my heart she’s gone, but at the same time I do have that little bit of me in the back that maybe something did happen, maybe she is somewhere still out there,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy just wants answers.
“I mean I would love for them to find her remains. When you have a loss of a missing person, and they’ve never found anything, there’s always that piece of you in there that looks for her everywhere,” Kennedy said.
McCabe wants her family to know no matter how much time has passed or what her past looks like, someone is looking for her.
“Until she’s found, I’m not going to give up on this case,” McCabe said.
McCabe said they searched an area on Lanvale Road for Ferguson’s remains about a year ago. Detectives are trying to figure out which construction company Benny was working for in the area at the time.
If you have any information, please contact McCabe personally by phone at 910-332-5005 or email at email@example.com.