Thrown In An Icy Ravine: The Murder of Tara Munsey

Forensic evidence led police straight to a casual acquaintance with dark intentions.

Verity Partington
5 min readJun 3, 2022


Tara Munsey (Image: Find a Grave)

When high school sophomore Tara Munsey went missing in Virginia in January 2000, hundreds of people turned out to look for the popular, outgoing teenager in the hope that she would be found alive.

But after her body was discovered in a freezing ravine, these hopes were dashed in the most tragic way — and investigators had to turn to the forensic evidence to find out who would want her dead.

Tara vanishes

A brand new millennium had just dawned, and life was good for 16-year-old Tara Rose Munsey of Pulaski County. She was doing well at Radford High School, she had a boyfriend she planned to marry, and she had a part-time job at the local Taco Bell to earn a little extra cash.

On the afternoon of January 25th 2000, Tara and a few friends headed to the apartment of a guy they knew called James Moede. They had some time to kill before Tara’s shift at the restaurant, and they wanted to smoke some marijuana.

Tara left the gathering at around 2:30 PM and headed to work, making plans in the process to meet up with her father and brother later that evening to attend a basketball game.

However, as Tara’s father drove past Taco Bell to their meeting point at around 8:00 PM, he noticed his daughter’s car was still in its space in the parking lot. He thought this was odd, so he headed into the restaurant to see what was keeping her.

Tara’s co-workers told him she had clocked out half an hour earlier and they hadn’t seen her since. In fact, no one had seen her. Word of her disappearance quickly spread and the community rallied around in the freezing cold to send search parties out to look for the young woman, all to no avail.

A tragic discovery — and a quest for the truth

Then, on February 10th 2000, investigators made the discovery they had been dreading. Tara’s body was found in a wooded ravine by the New River near the community of Parrott. She had been shot three times in the head and once in the chest.



Verity Partington

A writer and author of crime thrillers living in the UK. Partial to books, stationery, papercrafts and walking. You can find her books on Amazon here: https://a