Overview of Lindsay McCollum
Lindsay Elaine McCollum had a spark that won’t soon be forgotten.
Growing up, Lindsay’s mom Carrie says that her daughter had a strong and fierce personality. She was a well-rounded child and young adult from the Central Valley city of Patterson, California. Lindsay danced, was an expert pianist, and could read a 300-page book in one day. Carrie says her favorite songs to play on the piano were Canon in D, and the theme song from the movie Titanic, “My Heart Will Go On.”
Now, in the wake of Lindsay’s tragic death in 2016, Carrie and Lindsay's entire family have to will their hearts to go on — and it’s not always easy.
“There is not a minute of my life that I’m not thinking of her,” Carrie wrote in an article for Street Sheet following Lindsay’s murder. “The world seems less without her in it.”
She added, “Lindsay was too young to die. A parent shouldn’t outlive their children.”
San Francisco was Lindsay’s home as she got older. Her mom says Lindsay was drawn to the Golden City’s thrift shops, pretty clothes, and “eclectic vibe.”
Along the way, Lindsay began struggling with drug use, but maintained her strong family support system. She was living on and off the streets for three years leading up to her death. At some point, she met Eddie "Tennessee" Tate, and the two developed a relationship. Lindsay was living with Eddie in his box structure.
She was always full of life, and a curious person — “she just lost her way,” Carrie says. “But that doesn’t mean she deserved what she got.”
December 18, 2016.
A woman who works for a ride-hailing service pulls into the 76 gas station on the corner near 16th Street. The witness hears a muffled bang coming from the cluster of nearby tents.
Moments later, a woman emerges from the nearby tents. The witness says the woman was "walking like a zombie" while stumbling. The witness says she was making strange movements. Finally, the witness realized that the woman was hurt because of the blood on her hair and face.
“It was awful,” the witness told SFGate.
The witness calls 911, and pleads with dispatchers to send help. While she was waiting for medics to arrive, the witness saw the hurt woman, later identified as Lindsay, ripping off her clothes. It's important to note that this behavior is not uncommon in fatal situations where there's a failure in the person's thermoregulatory system. The increase of blood flow to the surface of the skin induces a feeling of warmth.
At the same time, Lily, Lindsay’s gentile pit bull emerged and stayed by Lindsay’s side through it all.
Emergency services arrived within 3 minutes. By that time, Lindsay is mostly naked and in the fetal position on the ground. She is seen rocking back and forth, before she convulses onto her back, hitting her head on the pavement. EMS started providing CPR, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
“She didn’t belong there,” the woman said, describing Lindsay. “She had nice trendy clothes on. She was not a street person, and if she was she just got there. Somebody loves her and took care of her.”
Emergency services discover a man, later identified as Eddie Tate, just feet away from Lindsay near his makeshift wooden shelter on the sidewalk. He was rushed to the hospital, but succumbed to his injuries.
Police release a statement saying that they're looking for two possible suspects — at least one of them is male — seen running from the scene, but they have not identified them or many any arrests.
The day after the murders, law enforcement came into the neighborhood and had to tell the people experiencing homelessness to move — for the investigation and for their own safety. Friends of both Eddie and Lindsay are seen by journalists rummaging through Lindsay and Eddie’s belongingings before SF Recology waste management workers cleaned up the spot.
The heartbreak in the friends’ eyes can be felt through the pictures.
Where the case stands today.
A forensic artist produces a sketch of a person of interest in the investigation. No further information is released, and the fact that the original investigation says there were two perpetrators present has not been addressed.
As for Lily, Lindsay’s pitbull, she is now living with Lindsay’s younger sister, and is a very happy and special dog.
“It was a nice surprise to find out that Lindsay taught Lily to ride a skateboard,” Carrie wrote for Street Sheet. “One day Lily just hopped on a skateboard and took off!”
It’s happy images like these — with memories of Lindsay drinking her beloved strawberry smoothies, crunching down into avocado toast, and cuddling next to a fire pit, that keep the McCollum family going.
Ahead of the six year anniversary, the police increased the reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the culprit to $100,000.
Carrie McCollum is still looking for answers, and wants the justice that her daughter deserves. She says the investigation just “isn’t moving forward” and is hoping the public can help generate new leads.
“This person is going to the beach, which my daughter can’t; maybe driving a car, which my daughter can’t,” she told Mission Local. “I don’t want them to die. Just to go to jail for the rest of their lives.”