When Black women disappear, the media silence can be deafening. While the families of the missing struggle to bring national attention to their lost loved ones, they sift through the clues and pry for a miracle.
TAMIKA ANTONETTE HUSTON, 24, has been missing from Spartanburg, South Carolina, since May 2004.That March, charges were filed against her boyfriend for hitting her. Just before her disappearance, her family learned that Tamika had been corresponding with Jermark “Chuck” Boozer, who was serving time in a federal prison in Edgfield, South Carolina. Tamika had dated Boozer when they were teenagers, before his incarceration on drug-related charges. On May 24, security cameras and a sign-in sheet from that day at Edgefield recorded Tamika’s visit to Boozer. Police believe it was the last verifiable date that she was seen alive. By June 1, Boozer writes to Tamika noting that he hasn’t seen or heard from her for several days. Then, in late 2004 America’s Most Wanted and Dateline NBC became interested in Tamika’s story. Last February, new forensic evidence came to light after America’s Most Wanted hired a locksmith to investigate a single key found in Tamika’s car, which led to an apartment. Records show that the man who lived there around the time Tamika went missing rented a steam cleaner on May 26 and then quickly moved out. According to police, the current suspect is a convicted felon currently being held on a parole violation. If you have information about her disappearance, contact the Spartanburg Public Safety Department at (864) 596-2035.
DAPHNE PHILISIA JONES
Missing since January 3, 1999
On the day Daphne disappeared, her grandmother, Ethel Clark, had dropped her off at her New Orleans apartment at 2:30 p.m. Daphne, then 22, was scheduled to work a 3:00 p.m. shift at Brennan’s Restaurant, but she never made it. “I didn’t have a good feeling about leaving her at that dark apartment,” Clark recalls. A student at the University of New Orleans, Daphne had recently moved from the dorms into an apartment after learning she was pregnant. She had a plane ticket and planned to leave for Maryland in six days, to live with her mother. To report information about Daphne’s disappearance, contact Captain Defillo at the New Orleans Police Department, (504) 658-5858.
TYESHA PATRICE BELL
Missing since May 2003
Twenty-two years old when she disappeared from Aurora, Illinois, Tyesha had been a teenage mother; her daughters are now ages 7 and 3. Though in conflict with her own mother for much of her adolescence, in recent years Tyesha had started shopping with her, and the two women were talking more. Police say that phone records show that on the night Tyesha disappeared, the father of her younger daughter called. According to Tyesha’s mother, Tyesha wasn’t working, and he had apparently been taking care of her financially. “I just can’t see her up and leaving her children,” says Tyesha’s mother. “I’m still holding on to hope.” To report information about Tyesha’s disappearance, contact Detective James Coursey at the Aurora Police Department, (630) 801-6712.
DYMASHAL LASHON CULLINS
Missing since August 2003
Dymashal, an Atlanta real-estate loan officer, is the mother of five children, including twin girls. “Dee Dee,” as she is known, married their father in 1999. The couple later separated. Dee Dee’s mother, Viola Corbitt, says that in early 2003, the twins’ father wanted to reconcile with Dee Dee, then 32. Though Dee Dee talked with her mother about filing for divorce in July, she still let him move into her home in August. Corbitt last spoke with Dee Dee at 7:00 p.m. on August 28. “She was dating a new guy,” she recalls. “She was laughing and happy when she called me.” Three weeks later, her SUV was found abandoned. To report information about Dymashal’s disappearance, contact Detective Loy, Atlanta Police Department, (404) 853-4235.
LATOYA NATASHA THOMAS
Missing since September 30, 2000
Latoya was 25 at the time of her disappearance from Hayward, California. After attending a birthday party in her honor thrown by coworkers at the Bosley Medical Center in San Francisco, Latoya returned to the Riverside Terrace apartments. She was seen doing laundry at about 10:00 p.m. Her 4-year-old daughter was staying with her boyfriend’s mother, and Latoya was supposed to pick her up the next day. She was last seen leaving her apartment that night. Her boyfriend, Nathan, reported her missing three days later. Her car was found abandoned with her purse on the seat. To report information about Latoya’s disappearance, contact Detective Stuart, Hayward Police Department, (510) 293-7219.
Missing since September 2004
On the day Shirley, 40, went missing from Richardson, Texas, she had called home while working a job in Rowlett. The co-owner of a cleaning business with her husband of 11 years, Shirley was on her way to another job at about 11:00 a.m. Her Ford Escort was found the next day in south Dallas, more than 20 miles away from her destination. “We’re still just baffled by the whole thing,” says her husband, Sam Geanes. Shirley has three children from previous relationships. Since her disappearance, Sam hasn’t had much contact with any of them. “Everybody is just coming to grips with the reality that she’s missing,” he says. “Even though that’s sad, and at times really difficult, I try to prepare myself spiritually for the worst.” To report information about Shirley’s disappearance, contact Sergeant Kevin Perlich at the Richardson Police Department, (972) 744-4801.
KIREASHA PAM LINKHORNE
Missing since October 2003
A resident of Camden, New Jersey, Kireasha, then 19, was last seen at her residence at approximately 8:30 p.m. on the day she went missing two years ago. She did not pick up paychecks from two jobs. According to public records, a Kireasha Linkhorne, now 21 and a resident of New York City, registered to vote in May 2004. But Detective Agron of the Camden Police Department says, “We’ve had no information about that. She’s still missing, according to our records.” Since her disappearance, Detective Agron has lost contact with Kireasha’s family and has been unable to locate a forwarding address or phone number. To report information about Kireasha’s disappearance, contact Detective Agron at the Camden Police Department, (856) 757-7400.
Missing since October 2003
The Marietta, Georgia, resident was 28 years old and the mother of five children under the age of 14 when she went missing. According to her mother, Barbara Crane, she had been living with her estranged husband, “trying to rekindle the relationship.” Marcie had recently completed training in real estate and was trying to establish her own business. She told her mother that she had borrowed $30,000 from someone who had subsequently chased her with a car and threatened her life. Another man, who had helped Marcie pay for schooling, was later discovered by police to be using a fake name. Barbara Crane admits she didn’t know much about the men in her daughter’s life, including her husband of less than a year, whom Marcie may have met on the Internet. To report information about Marcie’s disappearance, contact Detective Chris Twiggs at the Cobb County Police Department, (770) 499-3931.
WHERE TO CALL When someone you love is missing, in addition to state and federal law-enforcement authorities, these agencies can help:
National Center for Missing Adults A division of the Nation’s Missing Children Organization, Inc., this nonprofit organization works with the U.S. Department of Justice to provide a national clearinghouse for data on missing adults and also assists law enforcement and families with information and advocacy. Address: 2432 W. Peoria Ave., Ste. 1286, Phoenix AZ 85029. Hotline: (800) 690-FIND; Tel: (602) 749-2000; Fax: (602) 749-2020; Web site: theyaremissed.org/ncma.
Team Hope Established in 1998, the Philadelphia-based Team Hope assists families in crisis by offering “counsel, resources, empowerment and emotional support” from trained volunteers who have endured the trauma of a missing child and can share information based on firsthand experience. Tel: (866) 305-HOPE; Web site: teamhope.org/adultsdo.html.
Rino Kids This organization offers free help to families in creating Web pages for missing relatives. It also works with police to distribute the information to more than 500 search engines. Tel: (646) 219-2438; Web site: rinokids.com; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.