Tusing Casket Exhumed for Clues

January 3, 2003 -- Posted at 8:31 p.m. CST

JONESBORO--Three and half years after her disappearance, the death of 20-year-old Amanda Tusing of Dell is still a mystery.... a case that's baffled investigators from the beginning.

Her car was found along Highway 18 just outside of Monette on June 14, 2000. Inside were the keys in the ignition and her purse.

Her body was discovered 12 miles away near Lester in Big Bay Ditch four days later... but investigators still don't know what happened and have very little to work with.

"There's not much physical evidence that could be obtained to even determine how she was killed and we've been working on it ever since," said Special Agent Phill Carter of the Arkansas State Police.

That lack of physical evidence has kept investigators guessing as to what happened....desperate enough to take extreme measures in search of clues.

Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCcann said, "We developed information that there was possibly incriminating evidence in the coffin."

So with that tip and her parents permission... investigators dug up Mandy Tusing's casket hoping something inside... might lead to some answers.

"We examined all the contents in the coffin, but not her body, or anything inside the enclosure that she was in, said Carter, "we examined the contents that were inside the actual coffin."

Unfortunately, nothing was discovered. Sheriff McCann said the event was tough for all.

"Emotionally it was very traumatic for all of the officers involved, because that's, that's just not normal. That's the first time that we've ever done that and hopefully that will be the last time," said Sheriff McCann

Despite the thousands of man hours put into this case and the numerous leads investigated, the Sheriff says this case is particularly frustrating because of the lack of evidence, which now has them back at the drawing board.

"We've interviewed a lot of people and have had some suspects in the past, and we've told them, and we're telling everyone, we're not going to quit, that's what we want everyone to know," said Sheriff McCann.

The Sheriff's office is still receiving tips and is following all leads. Sheriff McCann said that anyone with any information should contact his office at 933-4551. If you want to remain anonymous, you can call Crimestoppers at 935-STOP...and you may be eligible for a reward.