San Diego woman's brutal murder still unsolved nearly 9 years later

Posted at 1:03 PM, Nov 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 16:07:40-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A woman's body dumped in an alley in Barrio Logan. That was nearly nine years ago and the killer is still out there.

10News went back to the crime scene.

San Diego Detective Jana Beard says the brutal murder of Tammy Charland, 38, stands out. Her body was discovered the morning of June 15, 2009.

“She was rolled up in a comforter and left here in an alley. That's a horrendous thing for anybody. It's horrible,” Beard said.

There were cuts on her body and investigators say she was sexually assaulted and strangled. Police also say she was homeless.

“Most folks didn't even give this a second thought,” said Detective Beard.

Tammy grew up in San Diego, the oldest of four children. Her mom worked as a bus driver for MTS and they drifted apart. Tammy got pulled into the dangerous world of drugs, alcohol, and prostitution.

The news of her death crushed her husband, Larry Perry.

The two were married nine months before her murder. Perry says he didn't just lose his wife but a caring soul.

“She would give you her shirt off her back. She'd probably take mine and give it to you. That's the type of person she was,” Perry said.

Living on the streets, the couple had come to rely on each other.

“We were discussing the day she died was for me to come in here and get clean and sober so I could get a better job,” Perry said.

His wife's murder shook him to the core--a final wake up call to change his life. So, he turned to the San Diego Rescue Mission and his faith. Perry says he’s been clean since September 3, 2009, but Tammy didn't have that chance.

Her mom told 10News she always wondered if Tammy's killer was in the Navy and left the area sometime after her murder.

As for Perry, he now holds down a full-time job at the rescue mission.

“My first desk, yeah. I'll tell you, it's a lot of firsts for me," Perry said.

All thanks to Tammy's final words to him. He's even in charge of a maintenance crew, something he still can’t believe. He truly feels Tammy is watching over him.

“I finally did it, and I owe that to her,” Perry said.

He also owes her justice. Detective Beard isn't giving up either.

“I've been back here quite a few time,” she said. “You just never know who's going to pop up and you say hello to them, ask them if they lived here at the time, and see what they know.”

She realizes the next break in Tammy's murder could come from anyone, anywhere.

“I retire in about 7, and I would like to see it solved," Detective Beard said.

San Diego Police believe they have suspect DNA that could finally crack the case, but so far, no matches in their database.

If you have any information about Tammy's murder or may have seen something, please call the Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477. You can remain anonymous.