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Vickie Bertram

29 Years Later, Her Death Remains A Mystery

Vickie Robin Bertram died in Livingston, Tennessee in 1976. The cause of this young girl's death remains a mystery; her case is still unsolved after 29 years.

Vickie Robin Bertram
Vickie Robin Bertram; click to view full-size photo

Vickie; click to view full-size photo

Vickie's Song
Click the image above to listen to Vickie's Song

Updated November 22, 2000

Thank you for your interest in Vickie Robin Bertram's case. My name is Todd Matthews and I am the Webmaster of this site; I volunteer for several organizations devoted to unsolved crimes and I have been intrigued with Bertram's case for many years. In fact, my family used to live in the house at the top of the quarry where Vickie's body was found. The Internet is a powerful tool; I was able to use its vast resources to learn the identity of the Tent Girl.
It is my hope that this site will allow new information and leads concerning Vickie's case to become available for the public.

This site is dedicated to the memory of Vickie Robin Bertram (1959-1976); and former Overton County Sheriff (1920-1922) James Oliver Matthews, my great-grandfather.
SPECIAL DEDICATION to former police officer MIKE PARRIGIN ...a friend who passed away March 7, 2000. He offred advice and information on our work on Vickie's case. He will be missed greatly.
May JUSTICE be served.

Also click here to visit the Peggy Houser website. Peggy has been missing since 1981 but her family still remain devoted to the hope she might one day be found.

SEPTEMBER 1999.......
I was approached for help in this case by the family of Vickie Bertram. Her brother, Ryan Allred, is an Overton County Deputy. Together we have been gathering and following up on the information we receive.

Bertram's official autopsy report is available by clicking here. (NOTE: The autopsy report may not be suitable for all viewers due to the text content. No images are contained within the report).
Although the coroner states that the cause of death cannot be determined, the Overton County sheriff's statement to the local newspaper was"autopsy rules out foul play."
Supposedly, this girl fell from a 75-100 foot cliff. I measured the cliff myself at 112 feet. How can anyone fall from that distance and have NO BROKEN BONES?? In addition, her death certificate states the cause of death was a "fall into the abandoned rock quarry."
The contents of Bertram's purse were found spilled out onto the cliff above. My question is: How did that material get there?
Some of my associates from ColdCases and I feel this could have been a sexual assault or possibly a drug overdose....somebody out there knows the truth. WE HAVE BEEN GETTING NEW INFORMATION ON THE CASE...WE APPRECIATE THE HELP!

January 2000
The former Sheriff was recently questioned regarding the case. He now claims that he NEVER saw the autopsy report. Amazing that he was able to make all those statements to the local paper and never see the report.

One of the HARDEST things to explain in this case was the investigation itself. The quarry where the body was found was NEVER taped off. People were able to come in and out of the quarry. And only the largest piece of the body seems to have been picked up. MANY people have told me about going there and seeing pieces of BONE, HAIR and FINGERNAILS. A few of Vickie's close friends actually picked up some of the pieces and took them to the police. Shouldn't ALL of her remains have been removed from the area in the first place?
I have had a few people give me more info on the initial investigation....nothing I can add to the web-site yet.

UPDATE...January 9, 2000.Another possibilty is that Vickie could have been killed, and her body placed at the base of the cliff. I am looking into the possibilty that her skull and other bones might still show signs of bruising. This was the case with the Tent Girl ..and her bones were buried longer than Vickie's. Vickie was buried in a sealed casket and a vault. The Tent Girl was buried in a wooden coffin. So, Vickie's remains will be much better preserved. Even a single hair found on the body could lead us to a possible suspect. We are currently looking into the possibilty of getting the body exhumed for further analysis.

I have a report from March of 1976. It states that Vickie claims to have been raped by a man she didn't know on 3-27-76. Vickie stated that the man threatened to KILL her if she went to the authorities. And later the same year she was found dead. Is this enough reason to SUSPECT FOUL PLAY? After a medical examination the examiner states that he could not determine whether or not she had been raped. On 3-27-76 the rape case was discussed with the assistant attorney general, he advised to take no further action.

In the Midst of a Murderer!
DECEMBER 1999 Livingston Academy WILDCAT ARTICLE
This article expresses how this case has been viewed by the people of Livingston for more than two decades.

JANUARY 12, 2000
To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter in regards to the case of Vickie Bertram whose decomposed body was found in 1976 in a Livingston, TN rock quarry.First, I want to properly define the word "fracture". The subject matter explained was derived from numerous medical dictionaries, books, medical personnel and the Internet. Also, I have spoken with several persons in the medical field regarding what the medical outcome would be if a person fell from a 112 foot cliff onto a bed of rock. A fracture is a break in the continuity of a bone and is commonly referred to as a broken bone. Falling or a blow to the bone usually causes a fracture. If more pressure is put on a bone than it can stand, it will split or break. They occur when the physical force exerted on the bone is stronger than the bone itself. There are many types of fractures. I have listed a few of the main types.
  • Complete: bone snaps into 2 or more parts.
  • Incomplete: bone cracks but does not break all the way through.
  • Compound: bone breaks through the skin.
  • Simple: bone breaks but there is no open wound in the skin.
  • Impacted: bone ends are driven into each other

Bones are rigid, but they do bend somewhat when an outside force is applied to them. If the force is too great, however, bones will break, just as a plastic ruler breaks after being bent too far.The severity of a fracture usually depends on the force that caused the fracture. If the bone's breaking point has been exceeded only slightly, then the bone may crack rather than break all the way. If the force is extreme, such as a motor vehicle accident, where there is great impact, the bone will more than likely shatter. Several medical personnel were interviewed regarding their knowledge of, and experience with, broken bones.The type of medical personnel interviewed include
  • 1 EMT
  • 1 LPN
  • 2 Registered Nurses
  • 1 Bachelor of Science Nurse
  • 1 Nurse Practitioner
  • and 2 Physicians

All have very diverse backgrounds in the medical field. The one thing they all have in common is that each of them has worked with some form of trauma, be it Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine, Surgery, or the ambulance service.Each person was shown Ms. Bertram's death certificate and autopsy report. They were all asked the same question: From a medical stand point, is there any way a person could "fall" 112 feet and not receive any broken bones? This is a collective report of how the question was answered.Each and every one of the 8 people interviewed stated very definitely and without hesitation that medically, there is no way a person could fall 112 feet (even "spread eagle" and face down) and not sustain any broken bones. Several of them gave incidences of people jumping out of a 1 or 2 story building and receiving numerous broken bones. They all stated that a fall of that distance would most assuredly at least result in broken ribs and skull. Most of them stated that a fall of that distance would most likely result in nearly all of a person's bones to be broken.


If the bones are broken now, a good forensic pathologist can tell if they were broken when they were put in the casket or before. In other words, they should be able to determine if they were broken from the "handling" of them after they were found, or if they were broken before they were found. This doctor suggests that ALL of her bones be x-rayed with special attention being paid to the long bones (tibia, fibula, and femur) and the skull. A good forensic pathologist should be able to tell if the fractures happened at the time of death, after death (like during handling) or even during child hood. Long bones last the longest. If she fell spread eagle, face down from a cliff of that distance, all facial bones should be crushed and turned to "mush". Her sternum, anterior ribs and skull would all be crushed also. If she fell and landed on her feet, the tibia, fibula, knees and pelvis would be all crushed and compacted into each other. If she landed on her back, the skull, posterior ribs, and pelvis would be crushed. IF A NEW AUTOPSY IS DONE AND NO BROKEN BONES ARE FOUND, THIS WOULD BE HIGHLY INCONSISTENT WITH THE PREVIOUS DEATH CERTIFICATE.

Sheila Minor LPN (Vickie's cousin)

January 2000...Reply letter from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
I received a letter from the TBI this is a portion of that letter
"The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation certainly understands the concerns you have regarding the situation outlined in your letter. Absent a written request from the local district attorney general , the TBI would not have the jurisdiction to open an active investigation."


Ryan obtained the court order and the body was exhumed on April 27th, 2000. The following day I transported the remains to the University of Tennessee for further analysis by Dr. Lee Jantz and Dr. Murray Marks. The University of Tennessee is also home to the Body Farm. A research facilty famous throughout the world for their forensic experiments. I can't think of anyone more qualified to do the autopsy than the staff at UT.


Today we lay Vickie back to rest in Livingston. We received her remains earlier this week. Our friends at UT finished their examination and are now processing the data. SEVERAL inconsistancies with the original autopsy have been found.
We would like to thank the staff at UT for what they have done so far and their continued assistance in the investigation.
We would also like to thank the staff at Wilburt Vault in Livingston for their patient cooperation in exhuming the remains and the reburial

UPDATE: November 22, 2000
Bertram case Still Leaves Many With Unanswered Questions

The family hopes to soon draw closure to the mystery that has haunted them for 24 years.

In my research of Vickie I have saw some of her artwork and read some of her poems. Vickie was very intelligent and wise beyond her years. I have featured one of her poems below on this page.

This site is CONSTANTLY under construction. THANKS to my FRIEND at The Doe Network; the site is looking great! I appreciate your HELP!
For the latest CASE INFORMATION, please click here.

E-mail the Webmaster:

Voicemail # 931-397-3893

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Site Directory:

Official Autopsy Report
Bertram's official autopsy report from 1976.
May not be suitable for all viewers

1976 Newspaper Feature
Local Livingston newspaper feature from 1976; the story was published following the discovery of Bertram's body.

Transcript: November 1999 WSMV Feature
Full transcript of November 1999 news feature from Nashville's NBC affiliate, WSMV

Death Certificate
Highlighted portions of Bertram's official death certificate.

Vickie's Words
Highlights from a handwritten letter Bertram wrote to a friend in the mid-70's.

Resources For Unsolved Crimes
Recommended sites for on-line investigation of unsolved crimes and missing persons.

News and Updates
News about Bertram's case, as well as site updates.

Vickie's Gravesite
Vickie's gravesite in Tennessee

Poem written by Vickie.....


I know that I shall soon fade away,
as the day fades into the night.

I am not afraid for all things that begin
must surely draw to a close.

I wonder why all my possessions
seem so like treasures and jewels
that just so recently I have uncovered.

I watch each day in silent solitude
Quietly as so not to disturb
even the smallest of molecules.

I (at first) would long for one more decade
to fulfill and satisfy the ambitions and
expectations of my forefathers.

In the beginning I would weep in awesome agony
with a desire to rid myself of
this evil illness.

I know, at least have expected my fate
as you would have to endure a broken heart.

Seven months and three days have passed
since I have learned of my new nature.

I feel myself slowly slipping from this reality
into the reality of the universe.

Each minute reveals the answer to a question
that hasn't been asked, before, even in the greatest books.

Today is the day I must leave and go
to the place where they have been calling
and waiting for me.

I walk slowly into a field of sunshine
Fields of tall waving grass,
delicate flowers and tumbling hills.

A field like the one where my brother and sister passed
there time running, jumping and playing.

Mine eyes have suddenly gone blind to this landscape
as the wind blows, I fall into the grass
softly and peacefully.

My spirit is gone from my bones and flesh
I see myself lying ever so gracefully in a bed
of green satin.

As I descended into the clouds
I feel no sorrow that I must leave
only regret that I couldn't give more love
to my home and my friends.

-Vickie Bertram

Dedication by one of Vickie's friends!

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We Need Your Help...
We are currently working on solving additional cold cases -- please take the time to browse through the links below. Perhaps you can help solve a mystery.

The Lost & The Found
The Lost And The Found is a database for unknown deceased.

ColdCases is for persons investigating or researching unsolved missing/unidentified cases from the past. Large database of many organizations dedicated to unsolved crimes.

The Doe Network: Missing Persons and Unidentified Victims' Cold Cases
The Doe Network is a volunteer effort featuring over 1000 missing persons and unidentified victims' cold cases from North America, Australia and Europe.

The E-clipse Network: International Unidentified Victims and Unexplained Disappearances
The E-clipse Network is another volunteer effort devoted to international cold cases. E-clipse features thoroughly-researched profiles of unidentified victims and unexplained disappearances.

Do You Know Who They Are?
This Unidentified and Missing Persons site is owned by
Todd Matthews.

Updated August 10, 2000

Copyright © 1999 - 2000 by Todd Matthews All Rights Reserved.
Note: All graphics included on this site were designed by Stormcritters Productions for the sole use of Todd Matthews.

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