In June 1979, Tara Lossett Cossey was 12 years old and lived with her family in San Pablo, California. She was a student at Juan Crespi Junior High School and was enjoying the start of the summer break.
On the morning of Wednesday, June 6, 1979, Tara’s mother, Pat, asked her to run an errand for her. Pat gave her daughter some money and instructed her to purchase a bag of sugar at the nearby convenience store, Pirelli’s Liquors. Tara agreed and left their home on Bonnie Drive to walk the short distance to the store in the Montalvin Shopping Center.
Around 10:30 a.m., a store clerk at Pirelli’s Liquors sold a bag of sugar to Tara. The clerk watched as she left the store and walked through the shopping center. This is the last confirmed sighting of Tara Cossey, though witnesses would later report seeing her in the Montalvin Shopping Center at about the same time.
That afternoon, Tara’s family contacted San Pablo Sheriff’s deputies after she had failed to return home with the sugar. Officers questioned several people in the Montalvin Manor neighborhood where Tara lived and learned that a girl matching the description was seen in the area on Wednesday morning. The clerk at Pirelli’s Liquors was also interviewed and confirmed the description of Tara provided by witnesses around the shopping center. Multiple tips were received on the tip line set up by the San Pablo Sheriff’s Department. Unfortunately, all the leads proved to be fruitless, and no evidence has ever been found.
On Thursday, June 7, detectives used bloodhounds to trace the area near the Montalvin Shopping Center where Tara was last seen. Police followed up on the leads and were able to eliminate some of the tips but were ultimately unsuccessful tracing any scents. The bag of sugar Tara purchased from Pirelli’s store was never found, nor was the money Pat gave her when she left. Her family said Tara didn’t have a history of running away and wouldn’t have talked to strangers. Few details are available about her disappearance and there are even fewer available about her life before she went missing.
There has never been a person of interest named in Tara’s investigation. Some theorize a local man named Timothy Bindner, who has been a suspect in five separate disappearances of young girls in California’s East Bay area since the 1980’s and 1990’s, may have a connection to the case. However, there is no evidence Bindner was involved in Tara’s disappearance, and he maintains his innocence in all charges against him. There is an excellent write-up about Timothy Bindner and the missing girls in the East Bay Area (including Tara) that I will link.
Tara is described as Biracial (Native/Caucasian) with very long, straight black hair and brown eyes. She is of Choctaw descent. She was 4’11 and weighed 65-pounds when she went missing. Tara was last seen wearing cut-off jeans, a blue tank top with a red, long-sleeved shirt tied around her waist, and thong sandals