Lois Tomich was 28 years old when her father reported her missing in 1983. And for 23 years, her case remained a mystery. Was she alive, had she left and left her child behind? Or was she dead, lost but not forgotten?
Lois had married her husband Thomas Tomich in 1980. And by 1981 they were divorced with a child. Reportedly there was a history of domestic violence in the relationship.
Police are now releasing some details on the case. Reportedly they have a motive. Lois Tomich and her husband were divorced. And Lois had a new suit er. Thomas Tomich’s brother Mark Dawson. At some point “Tomich had gotten in a fight with his brother over her, and made some statements that he wasn’t gonna put up with his brother living with his ex-wife and raising his kid,” according to investigators. Tomich was questioned by investigators when she went missing, but he told investigators that he thought she went to Texas. Police say they couldn’t identify him as a person of interest publicly.
In later years information came out about a barrel. Some searches were done, but nothing was found. Several people were questioned, and they said that over the years Tomich had implicated himself, but he threatened to kill them if they told.
23 years have gone by. Tomich has remarried. Her child is now an adult, the same age her mother was when she disappeared.
In May mushroom hunters came across a 55 gallon barrel, rusty, and 3/4 filled with concrete. Part of a skeleton showed through.
DNA taken from the 28 year old daughter showed a match. The skeleton was 28 year old Lois Tomich, her mother. Examiners say the cause of death was strangulation, and that a wire coat hanger was fashioned into a garrote around her neck.
One thing investigators noted was the quality of the concrete. Investigators say it was of a grade used in construction, and Tomich was working in paving when his ex-wife disappeared. And the weight of the concrete was more than 800 lbs. and would have required some type of equipment to move the barrel.
Police brought Tomich in for questioning on Wednesday. They say he seemed nervous. They say he had a dry mouth. And he refused to answer even simple questions such as when he and Lois married. Then he asked for an attorney. When investigators asked why he needed an attorney, he said he would talk to them again. A meeting was set up for 4 pm on Thurs.
Allegedly by 9 am on Thursday, Thomas Tomich had jumped from the 11 story building in which he worked, killing him. At first police believed there was no suicide note, but they say he did leave an envelope in his truck with contact numbers and life insurance information. Police say they do consider the suicide to be a confession.
Tonight it is doubles
Police say that earlier this year, Thomas Tomich bonded Debra Ann Barajas out of jail and she has been missing ever since. On jail documents Tomich as listed himself as a friend.
On Tuesday, a body was found in a field and is being tested to determine if it is the remains of Debra Ann Barajas. If the testing is positive, police say Tomich would have been a person of interest.
It is hard to dispose of a body in secret. And it takes time, which means a greater chance of discovery. Bodies do not decompose completely, even after burning (though I have not seen any attempt at burning mentioned in this situation). And you all know what a fan I am of forensics. So if a body pops up later, much can still be determined from it. And sometimes people are prosecuted even without a body. So if anyone has any plans for murder, you might want to remember. There is no statute of limitations on murder.
The sheriff says he is not ready to determine that Thomas Tomich is responsible for the death of Debra Barajas, that more investigation needs to be done. And he says there may be a couple of other people who needed to be looked at.
The Debra Barajas has been identified as the remains found on the farm. The cause of death is still being determined.
Reportedly Barajas was a prostitute, and so was Brianne Smith. Her body was found along a gravel road in June. Reportedly Smith and Barajas knew each other. According to the sheriff, that may link both to Tomich.
There is also an unsolved death of 17 year old Teresa Windham, who was found in April of 2001, 3 weeks after she disappeared. Her former boyfriend was charged in the murder, but he was found not guilty.
Other cases being looked at are Michele Lamere and Stephanie Caldwell, both died more than 20 years ago. Police are also trying to determine his whereabouts for the last 20 years, to determine if he is linked to any other unsolved cases.
Crime Scene Blog has much more info on both the relationship and on the additional suspected murders.