YANKTON (AP) - The family of a Yankton woman slain nearly a quarter century ago is making a renewed effort to find her killer, and people affiliated with her then-boyfriend aren't pleased about the renewal of suspicion.
The body of Tammy Haas, 19, was found Sept. 23, 1992, in a ravine near a Crofton, Nebraska, golf course, just across the South Dakota border. Four years later, a jury found boyfriend Eric Stukel not guilty of manslaughter. The couple had gone to a party at a farm on Sept. 17, 1992, the day she was last seen.
Haas' family last month hired private detectives to work on the case, using $24,000 raised through social media, the Argus Leader reported. The Facebook page, "Justice for Tammy Haas," has more than 5,000 followers. In April, "Dateline NBC" listed the slaying in its "Cold Case Spotlight."
"Our prayer is that the ones who know what happened to Tammy will have the courage to tell so we may all receive the peace we need by knowing the truth," mother Nancy Haas said. "There's no way I doubt his innocence."
Attorney Mike Stevens, who represented Stukel at trial, said accusations on social media pointing to his former client are unfair.
"What's the purpose of having a judicial system if a jury can find a person innocent and we still have these social media things portraying that person as someone who's not?" he said.
Stukel's mother, Dawn, said she prays for the Haas family each day but also finds the renewed suspicion on her son troubling.
"We went through all this 20 years ago," she said.
The Nebraska attorney general's office, which prosecuted the case in the late 1990s, says the case is open but that no new information has come in. The Yankton Police Department also said it has received no new leads.
Brother Paul Haas said he still has hope.
"I'm not one for expectations, but I think momentum is growing as more people take an interest in the case and more are active in finding the truth, so I do have hope that the truth will eventually come out," he said.