Tara Ord-Sidarovich: ‘Dateline NBC’ Features Florida Seaside Cold Case Murder By David McMannis, Phillip Barr

Tara Ord-Sidarovich, 19, went missing and was later found dead in a shallow grave in Punta Gorda, Florida. Dateline NBC’s Keith Morrison will take a look at the case. Tara disappeared from her rural home 16 years ago. Police always had two men on their radar: David McMannis and Phillip Barr, two septic tank workers who were charged and convicted in the teen’s death. Tara’s sister, Veronica Ord, will tell Dateline NBC what she found when she arrived home from school to discover her sister was missing.

Tara Ord-Sidarovich was just 19-years-old when she disappeared from her Westwood Drive home. Her sister and brother, Veronica and Paul Ord, were surprised to see that she was not there after they stepped off the school bus. Tara’s car was sitting in the driveway and her lipstick was still at the house, according to the Herald Tribune.

When Tara failed to show up at home, her worried mother notified police. Tara, who was just one month away from her birthday, told co-workers at the Golden Isle Jewelry store that she was headed to pick up her paycheck. She never showed up. For weeks and months, there was no movement in the case.


Detectives discovered that a pick-up truck was seen at Tara Ord’s home the day she disappeared. A witness also remembered seeing a van backed up to the front door. Authorities say two septic tank servicemen from ABC Septic Services were at the house that day to give a quote. They denied killing or abducting Tara Ord Sidarovich.

Police officers searched and used cadaver dogs to pick up on a scent. They also conducted a search at a ranch home by sifting through thick weeds to find Tara. However, that did nothing to calm the waves of panic that came over Tara’s mother and siblings. Family members were willing to pay $5,000 for information.

A burglary seemed like a possible theory. The investigation revealed that some men’s jewelry was taken from the home.

In July of 2002, the skeletal remains of Tara Ord-Sidarovich were found in a swamp-like area in the woods near Burnt Store Road in Punta Gorda, Florida. A makeshift grave contained the remains.

After the former cheerleader’s body was discovered, hundreds of people attended Tara’s memorial service. Many years later, police finally charged David McMannis, 28, and Phil Barr, 32, with murder. They were convicted and sentenced to life in a Florida prison, WINK News reported.

Phillip “Phil” Barr’s ex-girlfriend testified she had seen what Phillip said was a dead hog in her car on the same day Tara Ord vanished. After learning about the case, she believed it could have been Tara’s dead body.


Around the time Tara Ord-Sidarovich disappeared, another woman vanished from her Englewood home. Thirty-two-year-old Victoria Cecelia Arena, also known as Vikki Arena, disappeared after she left her home to get coffee with an acquaintance in 2001. Detectives later found her body buried in a citrus grove in Punta Gorda. Today, her case remains unsolved.

To find out how Tara Ord-Sidarovich was killed, watch Dateline NBC when it airs tonight at 10/9 p.m. central.


[Featured Image by Florida Dept. of Corrections]