The mother of Clifford Eli Moss whose remains were discovered over a year ago in the Sycamore Valley area is still seeking answers and urging the community to assist her and investigators in solving the mystery of her son's death.
WYANDOTTE – The mother of Clifford Eli Moss has suffered great sorrow and agony at the loss of her beloved son whose remains were found in a nightmarish way in the Sycamore Valley area on July 14, 2017. The anguish continues for Tammy Moss as she seeks answers about what happened to her son and caused his death.
“It's been a year. If there's any information we're still looking. We haven't forgotten, his family is still wanting answers,” Tammy said, overcome with emotion.
Moss' remains, his skull and hip bone, were discovered off Highway 10 and a search of the area was conducted by the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office and Oklahoma Highway Patrol by land and air and using cadaver dogs, ATV, and search teams.
Property owners in the area called authorities after a visitor found a skull and what was presumed to be a leg bone in the driveway. The address of the location was not released due to the ongoing investigation.
The 25-year-old's remains were later identified and confirmed to be Moss by the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office on Sept. 29, 2017, using DNA and dental records.
Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd said the case has remained open since Moss' remains were found.
“The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office is still seeking information in regards to the death of Eli Moss from 2017,” Floyd said. “We have interviewed 'people of interest' and we have not gained any more information related to his death. It's still an active investigation, therefore the Sheriff's Office is investigating new evidence and is hoping the truth will surface soon so the family can have closure.”
Clifford Eli Moss had been missing since 2 p.m., Friday of June 30, 2017. Moss was last seen walking south of the Wyandotte area of Sycamore Bridge wearing red gym shorts, and no shirt with sandals. He was described as being 5 feet 4 inches, 190 pounds, brown hair and eyes with a tattoo of a bird on his right forearm.
“I talked to him that day and he left. He was upset and mad because he had been fighting with his girlfriend, and so he took off,” Moss' mother said. "We live here close to the water and when he would get mad he would stomp off and go fishing at the creek, and I never thought any more about it.”
Tammy Moss said her son would call her or other family members or friends daily or every other day.
“No one had heard from him, and I don't know but have you ever heard when people have that gut instinct that something's wrong, it was there, and I just knew,” she said.
Tammy contacted authorities and because her son was an adult and had possibly left on his own accord a missing alert could not be issued.
His mother says she has not seen an autopsy report and does not know an official cause of his death. More heartache came to the Moss family when Tammy also lost another son who died in the same year.
She said she was overwhelmed by the loss and how Eli was found.
“I'm just now really opening up and am just able to get out of bed,” Tammy said in tears. “I know that I have to get up and do something. It's time for me to get up and start working on this."
Her son struggled with mental illness and was treated for depression, but Tammy said she has no reason to believe this played a part in her son's death. He was also in good health physically, according to his mother, and he had no known enemies.
“He was an outdoors person. He would help anybody,” she said. “I wouldn't think anybody would want to have hurt him.”
Tammy hopes the crime is solved to answer these troubling questions but also to solve the mysterious crime. She said Ottawa County Sheriff's Detective Holli Goforth has kept her up to date and has been working hard on the case once she took over the investigation.
“She's been so helpful since she's been on this,” Tammy said. “It's just scary that someone does that to somebody. You always think it happens somewhere else, not a small town where you know everybody. I need to help with the investigation as much as I can and do what I can do.”
“We ask if anyone has new information to please reach out to us, and as always they can remain anonymous,” Floyd said.
The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office can be reached at 918-542-2806.
Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.