• Back Road Mysteries Staff

Disappearance and death of fifteen year-old in Spring Hill, Kansas in 1996 still an active case

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

Back on December 7 in 1996, 15-year-old Tawnya Knight disappeared without a trace from Spring Hill, Kansas. Six months later her body was found not far from home. Most people in town suspected she ran away, but her parents knew something was wrong from the beginning.

Tawnya grew up in Arizona with her mom, Lori Knight, but had come to live in Kansas with her dad a few years earlier. Her mother held out hope she would be found, but six months after her disappearance body was found in brush in a farmer’s field in rural Kansas.

An investigator on scene estimated the remains were two months old at the time, and said they discovered a pair of 13/14 jeans and a t-shirt. Her mother says they were able to identify her body through dental records.

Detectives had no indication if it was a natural, accidental, or homicidal death.

However, the Johnson County Coroner at the time was sure Tawnya was murdered. They developed a pair of suspects--one of Tawnyn's girlfriends and a boy who reportedly had a crush on the teenager --but were not able to obtain enough evidence to charge them with the decades old crime.

It is thought Tawnya attended a party with these two individuals the night of her disappearance.

If you believe you have information about the night Tawnya went missing, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department asks that you call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

There is a $10,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. You can remain anonymous and possibly close a case that’s been a mystery for decades.

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