Daughters react to arrest in 1995 cold case: ‘We will be the voice for our mother’

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The daughters of the victim of a 1995 cold case say they were shocked when they heard an arrest had finally been made.

Deanna Manuel, the daughter of Tammy Surber, said the news of the arrest felt “surreal.”

On Nov. 25, 1995, Tammy Surber’s body was found near the side of the road in the 1200 block of South Bade Road on the east side of Indianapolis. After months with no suspects and no leads, detectives eventually set her case aside.

In 2011, DNA tests connected Carl Tyler to the case. However, detectives say the results could not prove he had anything to do with the murder.

This past January a witness stepped forward and told IMPD that Tyler had confessed to the murder and supplied them with a recording of Tyler discussing his involvement.

“Those people that are brave enough to come forward and speak up, it’s amazing when they have the courage to do that. I wish we had more people willing to do that,” IMPD Sgt. David Ellison said.

Tyler appeared in front of a judge Friday morning for an initial hearing.

Ellison adds that had it not been for the tip, the case would have remained unsolved. However, he says there is still plenty to be done before a real resolution is achieved.

“I go forward with what I believe in my heart and I believe this man is responsible for the death of Tammy Surber, but until we have a resolution where they hold him accountable, for me, it’s not over,” Ellison said.

Tammy Surber’s daughters say they intend to be present during Tyler’s trial.

In a statement Surber’s daughter Deanna Manuel said:

“When the detective contacted me saying he was going to the prosecutor to obtain an arrest warrant on my mother’s murder ...I expected nothing to come out of it... So I left it in God’s hands... Yesterday morning I woke up to a call stating that an arrest had been made I had to ask him to repeat himself again because it seemed surreal. I looked this person up and looked at his picture for hours, with a million questions on why, the events that happened that night , how he was able to stay free after what was done to her... My sisters and I are at a point in our lives that the whys don't matter as much ... We're aware that that trial is going to make us relive this nightmare ONE more time... With a conviction we pray we find peace and closure. We're thankful for an arrest being made but we also know this is just the beginning of the case, however this turns out we will remain united as one and be our mothers voice since her own was taken from her. Her murder not only ended her life too soon but also robbed my sisters and I of having a mother, she was also someone's wife, sister, daughter, aunt etc.... She may have lost her voice that night but MINE is loud and her and my sisters I will speak and stand strong throughout this man’s trial. At the end of the day my mother and her killers family has lost someone we love , I hope they live in peace but my major focus is finding peace after 24 years of living with this tribulation. Looking at him in court today, he looked like an average man but remembering my mother’s funeral and the condition he left her in... He’s anything but average... For THAT I want justice... It’s that simple. I do appreciate the efforts that the dark always come to light!”

Tyler is due back in court in May.

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