The Macon County Sheriff Department didn’t know that when they began a routine investigation of a stolen motorcycle last month, they would end up helping to solve a cold missing person case in Sparta, TN.
Tiffany Oliver, age 19, has been missing for six years. My Sparta News reports that 13-year-old Tiffany disappeared from her bedroom in 2007. Her mother Trish Oliver went into the room to wake her up for school and found her window open, the screen kicked out, and Tiffany gone.
She was classified as an endangered runaway and entered into the database for Missing and Exploited Children. Detective Chris Isom of the White County Sheriff Department told the Sparta News that in six years, they’ve received hundreds of tips and followed leads in Georgia, Florida and Maryland. The case became a special interest of the department, he said, even after it had gone cold.
Then, in early March, the Macon County Sheriff Department began to investigate a stolen Yamaha dirt bike that had been traded to a Macon County resident through the internet. The Macon resident had given a guitar and an amp in return for the bike. They eventually traced the bike back to a man living in Sparta, Tennessee: Steven Lee Oliver, age 41.
Macon Sheriff Mark Gammons said that they called White County Sheriff Department to go take a look at this man’s residence. “When he went out to that location, he called back and said he’s here… and lo and behold, he told me that they’d been investigating him for a missing child.”
The Macon County man had met with Steven Oliver in person to trade the dirt bike. When questioned, he informed investigators that there had been a young woman with Oliver who fit Tiffany’s description.
“Out of that first lead, we received some information, and we came over there and worked with Chief Deputy Bryan Satterfield and Detective Darrell Taylor,” Det. Isom told the Macon County Times. “Through their investigation, we received a lead, I don’t want to talk much about that lead, I really can’t… when we worked the lead that Macon County got for us, we started getting a bunch more leads and then obviously we recovered Miss Oliver.”
On April 22, the department received a final tip that Tiffany was going to be in Sparta that day, that she would be at the apartment of a relative. They finally located her there.
Isom said that hours of interviews were conducted to find out what had happened and where she had been. That information cannot be released at this point in the investigation, he said. Sparta News reported that Tiffany said she was happy to be home, and that she plans to get a job, buy a car, and “and just live my life like I am supposed to.” She also thanked officers for looking for her.
No arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing.
Steven Lee Oliver of 710 Flatrock Rd., Sparta, TN, was arrested by the Macon County Sheriff Department on April 8 for theft of property; his court date was April 24.