CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla.- Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Cameron is pleased to announce the arrest of one suspect in the 2001 murderof 19-year-old Tara Danielle Sidarovich. Tara disappeared from her Westwood Avenue home in Punta Gorda on Oct. 1, 2001. Tara’s skeletal remains were found on July 12, 2002 in a wooded area east of Burnt Store Road in Charlotte County. An autopsy determined Tara was the victim of homicide.
The State Attorney’s Office in the 20th Judicial Circuit reviewed new evidence and testimony developed by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Cold Case Unit, as well as existing evidence and testimony gathered by previous investigators. Arrest warrants for first degree murder were issued for 43-year-old Phillip Gavin Barr and 39-year-old David Ray McMannis.
McMannis was arrested in Cumberland, Maryland, by members of the Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigative Unit on Friday, Oct. 26. McMannis was closely monitored and then apprehended after the warrants were issued. McMannis awaits extradition to Charlotte County pending any necessary hearings in Maryland. Barr has not been arrested as of yet, and a nationwide search is underway.
Sheriff Cameron commended the efforts of the State Attorney’s Office, FBI, U.S. Marshal’s Office, and Combined Criminal Investigative Unit of Cumberland, Maryland, in providing invaluable contributions to his Cold Case team during this ongoing investigation.
Detective Mike Gandy, Cold Case Supervisor, said that since the beginning of this investigation in 2001, thousands of hours were spent by dozens of investigators interviewing potential witnesses and examining evidence and leads. Gandy praised the work of the initial investigative teams as well as the many investigators that have worked on this case over the years.
Gandy said, “Throughout the years, many talented investigators have worked on this case. Information they discovered, along with the new developments by our Cold Case Team, finally made this case. We were delighted to share this news with Tara’s mother, Sharon, and hope it will help Sharon and Tara’s other family members and friends rest a bit easier.”
Gandy also said that this is an example of what we can achieve if given the opportunity, time, and resources. Gandy praised Sheriff Cameron for having the “can do” mind set and for starting a unit dedicated to solving cold and difficult cases. Since this case will now be in the prosecution phase, further media requests for information concerning this case should be addressed with the office of Steve Russell, State Attorney for the 20th Judicial Circuit.