At first, the authorities speculated that Terra Ord might have fled or been abducted. Nevertheless, the local officials started an extensive search operation in the vicinity to locate her until October of 2002 when they encountered an unsolved case following the discovery of her skeletal remains.
NBC Dateline is gearing up to investigate Tara’s homicide mystery and will showcase interviews with her siblings, who have expressed their feelings of helplessness during the inquiry.
With the reinvigorated efforts from law enforcement and a deeper examination of Tara’s evidence files by Dateline, there is still optimism that the case will be resolved after 9 long months of investigation.
Tara Ord’s life was tragically ended at the tender age of 19 when she was slain by two individuals who had arrived to mend her family’s septic tank in October 2001. Trusting the strangers unwisely, Tara remained in her Florida home, alone and unaware of the impending tragedy.
Her mother had recently relocated their small family there from West Scranton, PA., in search of a chance for a fresh start.
Unfortunately for Tara, this opportunity for hope and renewal would never be hers to embrace; instead, it resulted in only dark closure in her premature passing.
Her loving but ultimately powerless family was left with nothing but sorrow and desolation following the discovery of her decomposed remains, found ten months after her disappearance in a wooded area of Charlotte County.
According to sources, on that fateful day, she had gone out for ice cream with her friend but never returned home. When she vanished, the authorities immediately turned their suspicions towards Philip Barr and David McMannis as they had been summoned to the Ord’s residence earlier that day for a septic tank repair.
A large-scale search was initiated, even extending to the search of nearby septic tanks. Tragically, it wasn’t until eight months later that her remains were discovered, sparking an inquiry into the gruesome double murder that terminated what could have been a promising future for Ord, who aspired to pursue Criminal Justice at Edison College in Fort Myers.
The family proffered a $5000 reward
As Tara Ord-Sidarovich’s whereabouts remained a mystery, the concerned family had no option but to seek external assistance in the form of a reward. They offered $5000 to anyone who could provide valuable information about her disappearance.
The investigators doggedly pursued every lead to uncover clues, deploying cadaver dogs and even scouring a ranch home. Regrettably, despite these endeavors, they were unable to obtain any substantial evidence of Tara’s fate.
However, the discovery of some missing jewelry in the ranch house piqued their interest and led them to suspect a potential connection to a burglary case.
A cold case squad zeroed in on Barr and McMannis
For over a decade, justice seemed to have evaded the authorities in a particular case; however, they eventually caught up with the perpetrators in late October 2012.
The breakthrough in the case occurred when a Cold Case Squad was established in 2005 and gradually managed to compile enough evidence to implicate Barr and McMannis.
McMannis had relocated to Cumberland, Maryland, but was ultimately apprehended and extradited to Florida. Barr received a conviction and life sentence in 2015.
However, it would take a couple more years before McMannis, too, was brought to trial and forced to plead guilty or risk facing a murder charge – culminating in him being sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.