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CHICAGO - Nearly after year after the abduction and murder of Tammy Zywicki,

state police concede that the trail to her killer has grown cold.

"I think that everyone who has worked on the case is frustrated," said Sgt.

Bill Hammell, an Illinois State Police investigator leading the Zywicki probe.

"We have nothing new at all," he added.

Most recently, police were investigating a possible link between the Zywicki

murder and the arrest of a Colorado truck driver for the attempted beating and

strangulation murder of a 14-year-old girl.

Authorities said several pieces of bloodied clothing were found in the man's

semi-tractor trailer and efforts were made to determine whether any of the

items belonged to Zywicki.

Police identified the trucker as William James Bannister, 45, of Aurora,

Colo., who in 1979 was convicted of second-degree murder in California.

"But as far as we're concerned he doesn't seem to be a lead any longer,"

Hammell admitted.

"We found no connection between the clothing found in the truck and Tammy

Zywicki. There also doesn't appear to be any reason for him to have been out

here (in Illinois) on the weekend Tammy disappeared," he added.

"He (Bannister) doesn't look good, but we pursue everything similar to

this," said Sgt. Harold Hendrickson, another state police investigator.

Zywicki, 21, disappeared Aug. 23, 1992, after her 1985 Pontiac T-1000

overheated and broke down on Interstate 80 about six miles east of LaSalle.

She was on her way from her parent's home in New Jersey to Grinnell College

in Iowa where she was starting her senior year.

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Her partially decomposed body was found more than a week later near the town

of Sarcoxie, Mo., after a trucker reported seeing what appeared to be a body

wrapped in a taped-up blanket along rural Interstate 44.

Sgt. Matt Brown of the Missouri Highway Patrol said that Zywicki likely was

killed elsewhere and her body dumped along the highway -- possibly by a trucker.

An autopsy determined that Zywicki was stabbed at least seven times.

OPTIONAL TRIM

Despite an intense investigation by Illinois, Missouri and federal

authorities, "we really haven't run across anything significant on the case,"

Lawrence County (Mo.) Sheriff David Tatum said.

"It may be one (of those murders) that may be a while in solving," he

admitted. "What we need is a break in the case, maybe someone's girlfriend or

someone's employer who finds something out."

Police continue to focus most of their efforts on locating a mystery truck

driver who may have talked to Zywicki shortly before she disappeared.

The driver's truck is described as a white, five-axle semitrailer with

brownish diagonal stripes on both the trailer and cab. It was seen parked near

Zywicki's car along I-80.

Although authorities have pursued more than 700 leads in the case and come

up empty, they believe Zywicki's killer will be caught.

"I feel it could happen any day because sooner or later somebody will come

through. Sometime, someplace we're going to get this guy," Hendrickson said.

"The problem with an interstate case like this is that there's a lot of

miles involved, a lot of ins and outs," he added.

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