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Tinze “Lucinda” Huels, age 17, went missing from Tampa, Florida on October 27, 1984. Sometimes her name is spelled Tenze on websites.

Many accounts state that Lucinda was last seen leaving her home, on the way to the laundromat with clothing to wash.  It is likely that this was when she was last seen by her family.   She never returned home, and she was never heard from again by her family.

Her vehicle was found later that night in the parking lot of the Char-Pal, a bar at 3711 E. Busch Ave, in Tampa.  The clothing she had taken to wash was found neatly folded in the car.

Investigators learned that Lucinda had gone to the home of a female friend at some point that evening, and the two of them, along with another friend, had been at the Char-Pal having drinks.   According to one of her friends, Lucinda had been talking to a male there by the name of Larry Moore, who reportedly owned a sign making and cleaning business, and had offered her a job.  She was supposed to start work on October 29.   Her friends left the bar, supposedly leaving her there with Larry Moore.   Larry Moore and another individual were stopped by police later that night, and charged with possession of marijuana and a concealed weapon.  Lucinda had not yet been reported missing at this point.  He was questioned later, and denied any knowledge of her whereabouts.

The Char-Pal bar is known for organized crime activity, and was briefly featured in the movie, Goodfellas.

Two weeks after her disappearance, her purse was found in the Busch Gardens Zoo Campground, in the men’s bathroom. It contained money, her driver’s license, and her marriage certificate.   Lucinda left behind two young children and had been planning a birthday party for her son when she disappeared.

Initially, Lucinda was believed to be a victim of serial killer Bobby Joe Long, who happened to be on a murder spree in Florida during much of 1984.  He confessed to many murders, but always denied involvement in Lucinda’s disappearance.

In 1992, Lucinda’s daughter received a call from a woman claiming to be Lucinda.   She explained that she had run away from the responsibilities of being a wife and young mother, and said she had been working in Memphis, under the name Amanda.

The woman seemed to know a lot of details about their family, and she was invited to come back home.  While much of the family was suspicious of this woman, she bore a striking resemblance to Lucinda and even had a similar birthmark on her leg.   When showed photo albums, this woman appeared to recognize people and places.   She lived with Lucinda’s family for quite some time.

This woman ultimately turned out not to be Lucinda, but a woman whose name really was Amanda, and she was a runaway from Arkansas.  Blood samples were taken to confirm this.

Keeping in mind that this all occurred well before information could be easily obtained on the internet, it is perplexing how Amanda knew so much about Lucinda’s family.   Could she and Lucinda have met at some point between her disappearance, and Amanda’s “reappearance”?   Lucinda’s family never received answers to this question, as Amanda was whisked away rather quickly once the hoax was confirmed.

Is it possible that Amanda actually knew something about what had happened to Lucinda eight years before?   You would think that in order to pull off such a stunt, she would have to have known that a) Lucinda’s husband hadn’t killed her, and b) that Lucinda was not going to reappear.   How could she have known these things?

There were some curious things stated about Lucinda’s disappearance – According to an essay written by Lucinda’s son, the husband of one of the friends Lucinda was in the bar with had recently flashed a gun and made threats at his apartment, although Lucinda had not witnessed it.

Additionally, during the time when Lucinda’s children were about to submit blood samples to prove whether this woman was actually Lucinda, there were some bizarre occurrences.  Amanda had reportedly been run off the road, causing her car to flip into a creek bed, resulting in minor injuries.   Lucinda’s family had been victims of vandalism, including the spray painting of “Strike One” and “Strike Two” on their property, and tires slashed on their vehicles.   This stopped once Amanda was gone.   It’s been theorized that Amanda may have vandalized the property to keep the children from submitting blood samples, thus outing her.    Lucinda’s children have pondered the idea that perhaps Amanda really was Lucinda, and that she’d been put back into witness protection as a result of the threats.   Although I haven’t seen it mentioned, there is a third possibility that whoever committed the vandalism THOUGHT Amanda was Lucinda, and was attempting to keep her quiet about something.

Lucinda’s husband has now passed away, and her children continue to search for her.  I hope sometime soon the real Lucinda will be found.

Sources:

The Charley Project

Fox 13 News

Writing.com

Tampa Bay Times

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