MILLERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It has been 27 agonizing years since 17-year-old Tracy Kroh disappeared on a warm summer night.
It has been 27 years of uncertainty for her two sisters.
“It was frightening,” her sister Tammy Hoffman explained. “It’s almost like a piece of your life disappeared. A piece of my life disappeared along with her.”
“It was just confusing,” said sister Kim Weber. “Every day I would wake up and I couldn’t understand why she still wasn’t home.”
Hoffman and Weber still don’t have answers, but Pennsylvania State Police believe investigators may be closer than ever before.
About six months ago, investigators said they got a tip. It was a new lead that completely changed the course of their investigation.
“This tip centered around a male from Dauphin County that could have been involved in this incident,” said Trooper Scott Denisch. “He was located. He was interviewed. At this point, it’s still an ongoing investigation. He hasn’t been ruled out as a suspect.”
That new suspect ultimately led to a new search. Police said that man had ties to a piece of property in northern Dauphin County back in 1989, the year Tracy went missing.
In early September of this year, that property was searched. Police, cadets and cadaver dogs spent hours searching for the remains of Tracy Kroh.
“If there’s even the slightest chance she would have been on that property, we were going to go check,” Denisch said.
When asked if he’s sure Kroh is not on the property, Denisch responded, “at this point, we’re not.”
Here’s what police do know for sure: Tracy was last seen in August of 1989. She dropped off some items at her sister’s house in Halifax and vanished. Her locked car was discovered the next day in the Millersburg square with no obvious sign of foul play.
Four years later, items from Tracy’s wallet were found along a creek bed in Elizabethville. Over the years, investigators made pleas to the public, even releasing a photo of what Tracy might look like today.
Tracy had no enemies. She was shy and studious, about to start her senior year at Halifax High School.
“This is just like your purest of victims,” Denisch said. “And for whatever reason, she met evil and they snatched her.”
“She was a great student, member of the National Honor Society,” prosecutor Fran Chardo said. “She was a good girl, which makes her disappearance and the mystery surrounding it all the more perplexing and tragic.”
Chardo said this case is as active now as it’s ever been before. He also said he believes there is a killer in the community who has not been brought to justice.
He hesitates only for a moment when asked if he believes Tracy Kroh is still alive.
“It’s hard for me to answer that question because we’ve got a family,” he said. “But they know this: this case is being investigated as a homicide case. I’m convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, and I’d be comfortable proving to a jury that Tracy Kroh was the victim of a homicide.”
Tracy’s sisters desperately want to know what happened to her. But there is hesitation there as well.
“It’s hopeful and scary at the same time because we’re kind of nervous to hear what happened,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman still has Tracy’s picture on her wall.
“I still dream about it,” she said. “I still see, hear and smell things that remind me of back then.”
Tracy’s family said they’ve felt close to answers before. They hope this time, they finally get them.
“It’s not fair to the family, to her friends, to the community to have this be unknown,” Weber said. “It’s not fair to Tracy.”
“She was so smart,” Weber continued. “She had the potential to be and do anything. They took that away from Tracy and everybody else.”
Investigators urge anyone with information about the disappearance of Tracy Kroh to contact the State Police barracks in Lykens at 717-362-9997.
Police would not disclose the name of their new suspect or the exact location of the property they searched.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet.