On Jan. 19, 2001, young University of Georgia law student Tara Louise Baker was murdered in Athens on the eve of her 24th birthday.
Now 20 years later, Baker’s family and friends remain without an answer as to who killed.
Who was Tara Baker?
Tara Baker was born on Jan 20, 1977 in East Point, Georgia. She grew up in the small town of Lovejoy with her parents Lindsay and Virginia, and siblings Meredith, Adam and Kevin.
Baker graduated from Love Joy High School in 1995 and went on to attend Georgia College and State University, where she graduated Cum Laude in 1998 with dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and paralegal studies.
In addition to her studies, she interned with Forest Park attorney Jack Hancock and was an officer of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority at Georgia State.
She stayed on to work with Hancock for more than a year before moving to Athens in 1999 to begin her studies at the law school while also working at Fortson & Bentley, a local law firm.
Weeks after beginning her first semester, she was murdered in her apartment.
Details of the case
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Baker was last seen alive by a friend around 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 18, 2001 at the UGA Law Library. The same friend received a phone call at 9:46 p.m. from Baker, who was still at the library, checking to make sure she got home safely.
Baker told her friend that she planned on leaving the library around 10 p.m. That was the last time she was ever heard from.
Firefighters discovered Baker’s body around 11 a.m. on Jan. 19, 2001, after responding to a fire at her residence at 160 Fawn Drive in the Deer Park subdivision off Lexington Road.
Baker had been beaten, stabbed, strangled and possibly sexually assaulted authorities said, an indication that she might have known her killer.
A laptop was the only possession of Baker’s that was taken from the scene of the crime, which might have possessed evidence that could have incriminated the killer, sources said.
Recent attention around the case grew due to Cameron Jay, who discussed Baker’s unsolved case in his “Classic City Crime Podcast” in an effort to prompt information from listeners to help the police solve the case.
The GBI is still hopeful in solving the case and bringing Baker’s killer to justice.
Anyone who may have information about Baker's death is asked to contact the Athens-Clarke County Police Department at 706-613-3337 or the GBI's Athens Regional Office at 706-542-7901.