In loving memory: Teresa Sue Hilt. Today, Sunday August 4th, 2013, marks the 40th anniversary of Teresa‘s murder.
A few days ago, I spoke to her mother. Teresa’s mom is 86 years old now and hurts every day for the loss of her only child. She lost her husband Stanley years ago. He was never able to see the renewed media attention for Teresa’s case.
Mrs. Hilt is very grateful for all that we do to keep Teresa’s case in the media. With a very soft voice she spoke about Teresa as a baby and her coming into the world. Her voice broke when she recalled those moments. It brought back my memories of when I went into labour. I was finally going to meet my baby. Baby Tess liked to play with her kitten. She had many hobbies as a teen. Above all, she wanted to help people and loved to dance!
Teresa was super excited when she had her driver’s license. Mrs. Hilt told me that she had a small Buick and loved to drive around. She would drive you to the market, the dry cleaner, anywhere.
Through her tears, Mrs. Hilt recalled seeing Teresa the Friday before she was murdered. She saw the thesis that Teresa was working on. She remembered that it was more than an inch thick. She left the campus feeling so incredibly proud of her girl.
Then, on Sunday, her world caved in. Teresa was found dead. For a while, time stopped despite the frantic activities to find out what had happened. After the case grew older and colder, the activities ceased, and Teresa’s parents fell into despair.
It was not just the not knowing. It was the cruel combination of missing your only beloved child combined with the fact that slowly Teresa was disappearing from the public view. When people stop talking about a victim or when the press stops publishing their stories, it creates a void. A void that is enhanced by the disposal of that loved one’s furniture from their apartment, by the cancellation of their lease, and with the deletion of their name in registers. With each disposal and deletion, the loved one disappears bit by bit from public memory. Soon it feels as if only the family knows for sure that the victim really existed. But the victim really did exist. We have their grave and tomb to prove that.
I told Mrs. Hilt that I cannot solve this crime for her. However, what I can do is make sure that Teresa is not forgotten. I can keep blogging about Teresa and collaborating with Michall Holmes for his FB tribute page. I can include Teresa’s case in #crimechats and presentations. That meant a lot to Mrs. Hilt. But it doesn’t feel like a lot to me.
The irony is that when you start blogging about cold cases you always wish that you could do more for the victims. But I am not a private investigator or a police officer, and I have no intentions to become either. I am just a cold case consultant and true crime blogger. However, maybe you can do more.
If you have any information that can help the Maryville Police Department to solve the crime please contact Dir. K. Wood at 1-660-562-3209.
Thank you for remembering Teresa with me.