Out of the Cold File #8: Owen Sound Police fatal hit and run of one-year-old remains unsolved
July 25, 2021
By Stephen Metelsky
Tammy Ringel would have turned 50 this year. Her parents, Hud and Marilyn, fondly hold on to memories of their daughter from when she was just a year old because, 49 years later, that’s all they have to remember her by.
On Dec. 9, 1972, while Marilyn walked her daughter along 7th Avenue East, a speeding vehicle careened out of control and struck Tammy’s stroller, killing her instantly. Almost a half century later, the fatal hit-and-run remains unsolved. For Tammy’s parents, it feels like yesterday.
“To us she is still a year-old baby that we lost,” said Hud Ringel. “Our ultimate goal is to find the person who did it.”
Police want to identify the suspect responsible for this crime too—an investigation they refer to as an ongoing “open case”.
In the last few years, investigators have been able to identify some witnesses who provided more clarity about that cold December day in 1972. Around the same time Marilyn Ringel was walking her daughter, there was a social gathering taking place simultaneously at a home one block away, on 6th Avenue. Police believe alcohol may have been a contributing factor to the crime.
“The person of interest developed through the investigation left a well-attended, busy house party in the area of the crime scene,” said Detective Sergeant Craig Matheson of the Owen Sound Police.
This person was identified in 2017 when police were able to locate and interview a key new witness. Matheson confirmed that, until recently, there hadn’t been a person of interest in this case.
Investigators contacted the person of interest in this case, who now resides in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, and made several requests for an interview. He declined each time.
There is no forensic evidence to rely on in this case, such as DNA or genetic genealogy. The cold case hinges on information that someone knows about, but has not divulged.
Matheson said the case will be solved when “somebody who knows comes forward as a witness or as the person responsible.”
The lingering cold case to solve Tammy’s death has plagued the Ringel family with more questions than answers over the years. Their pain has never subsided.
“I would like to see it solved, but time seems to have done us a lot of harm. It’s been almost fifty years and I have trouble with it,” said Marilyn.
“It’s never something we are going to stop looking into,” Matheson said. “I hope the person responsible can find it in their conscience and do the right thing.”
The family remains desperate to find the person responsible.
“We would just like to get some closure. That is the bottom line – to find out who did it,” said Hud. “I am sure there is somebody out there for sure, but they don’t want to talk about it.”
Have a tip or information about this crime? Call Detective Sergeant Craig Matheson with the Owen Sound Police at 519-376-1234 ext. 158 or anonymously at Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Stephen Metelsky, M.A., is a writer, (ret.) police sergeant and professor at Mohawk College. Find him on LinkedIn, follow him @StephenMetelsky or email Stephen.Metelsky@mohawkcollege.ca.
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