Murder Mystery: Cops hope ‘beater’-style truck leads to Tacoma mother’s killer

It’s been seven years since Velma Tirado’s daughter learned her mother had been murdered.

Tirado was 45 years old, and left behind six kids. Vanessa Mowat is the second oldest, and remembers hearing the news from a cousin. “I asked, ‘did you guys see my mom? Did you hear from her?’ And, she said, ‘No, we didn’t hear from her.’ She just started crying and I said, ‘what’s wrong?’ She said, ‘auntie Velma’s dead,’ and I couldn’t breathe.”

It all started in the early morning hours of August 27th, 2006. Tirado was working as a prostitute when something went wrong. Tacoma police Det. Gene Miller took WMW’s Parella Lewis to the murder scene. “It’s believed she was picked up down there by the suspect in the suspect’s vehicle, and transported to this location, and it was this location that things went bad.” It was just before 3am in the 1900 block of Fawcett Ave. in downtown Tacoma. Two witnesses parked nearby saw the horror unfold. “The victim was in the vehicle as was the suspect and there was some type of struggle that took place inside the vehicle,” says Det. Miller. “And, as the victim was attempting to exit the vehicle, the first shot was fired.” That shot hit Velma and blew out the passenger side window. The suspect then fired a second round and Velma fell out of the truck and hit the ground. “It was after the suspect vehicle had fled, the victim was able to get up, travel a short distance northbound, and went down and died,” says Det. Miller.

According to witnesses, the suspect was driving a dark-colored, ‘beater-style’ ’80’s or ’90’s truck. Detectives are releasing this information to the public for the first time — hoping to jog someone’s memory and get the tip they need to crack the case. “I’m hoping that someone is going to think back and remember somebody that they know,” says Det. Miller. “Somebody who’s a neighbor. Somebody who’s an associate. Somebody who had a vehicle that matches that description that came up with a broken window on the passenger side.”

Anyone with information on the murder of Velma Tirado, call an anonymous tip into:


You must call the Crime Stoppers hotline with your tip to be eligible to receive a cash reward for information leading to a fugitive’s arrest.

CLICK HERE for information on how to TEXT A TIP to Crime Stoppers

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