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Porchlight International for the Missing & Unidentified > Missing Persons 1983 > Teague,Vinyette T.missing June 25,1983

Title: Teague,Vinyette T.missing June 25,1983
Description: Illinois

oldies4mari2004 - August 12, 2006 05:29 PM (GMT)

monkalup - September 16, 2006 05:06 PM (GMT)

Mother's 23-year search now turns to DNA
Chicago mother hopes new program run by Calumet Park police can help
locate her daughter who has been missing since 1983.

By Lolly Bowean
Tribune staff reporter
Published September 15, 2006

The tears stream down Kathy Teague's face before she even starts
talking about her daughter, Vinyette, who went missing as a baby and
would now be 24 years old.

From the moment on a summer night in 1983 Teague learned that her
only daughter had disappeared, she has been searching, she said.

"It hurts me because I have no closure," Teague said, wiping the
tears from her face. "I don't know if she's dead or alive. With all
the work I did for these 23 years that she's been missing, it seems
like I haven't done a thing to get closer to her."

She hopes a new computerized program will accomplish that. This week,
Teague became the first person to give a DNA sample to the Calumet
Park Police Department so her profile can be entered into a national
database and compared with thousands of others.

The department just became responsible for collecting DNA samples
from the families of missing children in the Chicago area. The tiny
police department of 23 officers volunteered for the job.

For Teague, 53, it is another step in a long journey.

"I'm getting older, and my daughter is getting older," she
said. "Maybe this way, if she's ever found, they'll make a match."

No answers

Teague, who still lives on the South Side, recalls a hot sticky night
when she left her daughter and three sons outside with her mother and
neighbors at the Robert Taylor housing complex. When she returned
from a night out with her husband, Vinyette was gone and no one could
give her any answers.

"No one saw what happened," Teague said. "It's like I never had this
child, like I never even gave birth to her."

She started searching, at first door to door on each floor of the
complex. Over the years, she has had Vinyette's picture placed on
billboards, milk cartons and fliers, and for weeks it was on the golf
bag of an athlete as he played.

Every time that she's learned of a new way to get the word out, she's
tried it.

"I guess a picture is not enough," she said. "There has to be a
voice. I've tried to be that voice."

When Vinyette disappeared, abductions were practically unheard of in
the black community, Teague said. Few were sympathetic about a poor,
black child being taken from a housing project, and some were even
suspicious, she said.

Around the neighborhood, she'd hear gossip--people saying she must
know where her daughter is. Word got back to her that some people
wondered, of all the children outside that night, why someone would
take just her baby.

The night Vinyette disappeared, Teague's husband had tried to
persuade her to take the children with them to the movies. But she
wanted some time alone with him, she said. Eventually their marriage
fell apart. Her family stopped talking about what happened.

"When you leave your child with your mother, you feel you've left her
with the best person possible," Teague said. "I couldn't blame my
family; it could have happened to me. They already felt bad. ..."

For years, Teague said she was haunted by an image of her baby--who
cried when picked up by strangers--screaming as she was carried away.
Every time she hears that a body has been found, her heart sinks. As
she goes about her day, she looks carefully into the faces of young
women, searching for familiar features.

`A mother always knows'

Though Vinyette would be an adult, Teague says she's sure she would
recognize her.

"I think it would be like looking into a mirror," she said. "I feel
God would tell me in my heart, that's my daughter. A mother always
knows. ..."

But a DNA match would tell for certain.

"Words cannot explain how I feel," Teague said. "I'm always wondering-
-that could be my child. I just want to know what happened. There is
just a stress to not knowing. ..."

So Teague tried this latest option Tuesday. She walked into the
Calumet Park police station and gave her DNA sample.

"This brings hope to me," she said. "I feel there is greater hope for
all of us [with missing children], that we'll find our missing

For about three years, the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children has collected DNA samples to keep on file so that when a
body is located or persons who can't identify themselves are found,
or even a prisoner's DNA is collected, authorities can make sure the
person was not previously reported missing.

Typically, relatives of missing children must contact their local
police department and endure a lengthy wait for an appointment to
have DNA collected, said Ray Harp, who helps manage the project for
the center. The process can take months.

The Calumet Park project could become a model because this is the
first time one police department has volunteered to be responsible
for collecting DNA samples from parents in an entire region, Harp
said. That should help speed up the process.

"They don't get paid; there is no tangible award," he said of Calumet
Park. "They are doing it because they see it as the right thing to

Calumet Park police stumbled into the job, said Susan Rockett,
assistant chief. She met Harp at a local conference, and he told her
about the backlog of families that need to have their DNA collected.
She volunteered her department.

The project could raise the department's profile in the community and
help families find missing loved ones, Rockett said.

"This is a way to branch out and get involved in the community," she
said. "We're just a conduit. It doesn't cost us any money, just time."

Five officers have been assigned to help. "Hopefully we'll be able to
keep up," she said.

It only takes a few minutes to administer the DNA collection kit. But
because of the backlog, Teague had been waiting for two years.


oldies4mari2004 - December 26, 2006 06:06 PM (GMT)
Vinyette Trudy Teague

Left: Teague, circa 1983;
Right: Age-progression at age 19 (circa 2000)

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: June 25, 1983 from Chicago, Illinois
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: December 8, 1981
Age: 1 year old
Height and Weight: 1'6 - 2'8, 27 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: African-American female. Black hair, brown eyes.

Details of Disappearance

Teague was last seen playing in the seventh-floor hallway of her family's apartment building at Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, Illinois on June 25, 1983. The building was located in the 5000 block of south Federal Street; it has since been demolished. Teague's parents left her in the care of her grandmother the evening of her disappearance while they went to a drive-in movie. An estimated 50 people were in the hallway when Teague's grandmother left her alone for a few minutes to answer a phone call. When she returned, the baby was gone.
Teague has never been heard from again. Investigators believe she was abducted by a non-family member.

Investigating Agency
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Chicago Police Department

Source Information
The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
Vanished Children's Alliance
The Doe Network
The Chicago Sun-Times

Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004.

Last updated December 10, 2005; details of disappearance updated.

Charley Project Home

oldies4mari2004 - December 26, 2006 06:07 PM (GMT)

monkalup - September 22, 2009 02:51 PM (GMT)
74 Families of Missing Children Team Together to Provide Help and Comfort to Other...
Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:01am EDT
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74 Families of Missing Children Team Together to Provide Help and Comfort to
Other Families with Missing Children

Families from 64 Cities and 30 States Attend Team HOPE Training at the
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

The discovery of Jaycee Dugard has given renewed hope to many families of
missing children throughout the nation. Seventy-four family members who have
personally experienced the pain of a missing child have registered to attend
training as a Team HOPE volunteer for the National Center for Missing &
Exploited Children (NCMEC). The training will take place on September 25,
2009 at the organization's headquarters in Alexandria, VA.

Team HOPE, which stands for Help Offering Parents Empowerment, is a unique
program that NCMEC makes available to families of missing or sexually
exploited children. Team HOPE volunteers are family members of missing
children or sexually exploited children. Volunteers are trained and after
assisting other families for a year are invited for retraining.

The September program is a retraining program for Team HOPE volunteers.
Attendees will travel from 64 cities and 30 states, and 2 Canadian provinces.

Seventy-four of those attending the training are family members of missing
children. Included in the seventy-four are family members of 15 children who
are currently missing (a list of those cases is attached).

Also participating in the training is Doris Ownby, mother of recovered missing
child Ben Ownby who was 13 when he went missing from Beaufort, Missouri in
2007. Ben was recovered after an intensive investigation which also located
missing child Shawn Hornbeck who disappeared in 2002.

"Parents of missing and exploited children have suffered a great loss, perhaps
the greatest their family will ever endure. They are members of a club that
no one wants to belong to. Many of these families have spent decades looking
for their children never giving up hope." Said Ernie Allen, President & CEO
of NCMEC. "They are the only ones who can truly understand the pain other
families of missing and exploited children are going through. Despite their
own pain and suffering they want to help other families. This is a very
unique program. It an example of extraordinary kindness, the strength of the
human spirit and the power of hope."

Team HOPE is comprised of mothers, fathers, siblings and extended family
members of missing or exploited children who volunteer their time and are
trained to help other victim families. Volunteers are matched with families
who have had similar experiences. Because of their personal experience Team
HOPE volunteers are uniquely qualified to offer emotional support, compassion,
guidance, empowerment and assistance in ways traditional community service
agencies can not provide.

Since its creation more than 10 years ago, Team HOPE has trained more than 235
volunteers and helped more than 40,000 families. Candidates to become a Team
HOPE volunteer are nominated from a variety of sources including: other
active Team HOPE volunteers; law enforcement; state missing children
clearinghouses; nonprofit organizations dealing with missing children issues;
and some families contact NCMEC directly.

This year the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children observes its
25th anniversary. NCMEC has played a role in the recovery of more than 138,500
children. Today more children come home safely than ever before. In 2008,
NCMEC helped recover more children than any other year in the organization's
25-year history raising the recovery rate from 62% in 1990 to 97% today. And
more of those who prey on children are being identified and prosecuted. Yet
too many children are still missing and too many children are still the
victims of sexual exploitation. There is much more that needs to be done.

About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(3) nonprofit
organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization
has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children's hotline which
has handled more than 2,400,000 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the
recovery of more than 142,000 children. The organization's CyberTipline has
handled more than 733,690 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child
Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 27,030,500
child pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation
with the U.S. Department of Justice's office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free,
24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at

MEDIA NOTE: Many of the family members participating in the training will be
available to be interviewed during the lunch break. Any media interested in
covering the Team HOPE training program or interviewing family members need to
contact the Public Relations Department at (703) 837-6111 or at

Participants in the training include family members of sixteen children who
are currently missing. Information about these sixteen cases is attached.
They include Non-family Abduction (NFA); Lost Injured and Missing (LIM);
International Family Abduction (IFA) and 5779 (A missing child between the age
of 18 and 21).



AL Stringfellow, Betty Sherry Lynn NFA New Brockton 6/6/1984
AR Nick, Colleen Morgan NFA Alma 6/9/1995
(Team Coordinator)
FL Leonard, Marilyn Clifton LIM Lakeland 8/22/1983
IL Teague, Kathy Vinyette NFA Chicago 6/25/1983
KS Clasen, Dee April Wiss LIM Wichita 1/11/2000
KY Cotton, Wanda Randy Sellers NFA Burlington 8/16/1980
NY Lyall, Doug and Mary Suzanne 5779 Ballston 3/2/1998
OH Culberson, Debbie Clarissa NFA Blanchester 8/28/1996
OH Schmidt, Pam Erica Baker NFA Kettering 2/7/1999
PA Murray, Lisa Jeffrey Lynn NFA Harrisburg 12/4/1985
Quebec Temperton, Melanie NFA Montreal 9/21/1988
Gwen Vatcher
TN Green, Donna Raymond NFA McLemoresville 11/6/1978
TX Saileanu, Tammy Isabella IFA Cedar Park 10/18/2001
WA Pichler, Kathy Joseph 5779 Bremerton 1/5/2005
WA Woody, Shawna Joseph NFA Tacoma 1/5/2005
Pichler (sibling)

NFA - Non Family Abduction - A child who is missing under circumstances
indicating that the disappearance is not voluntary and who has been abducted
by a non-family member.

LIM - Lost Injured and Missing - When a child's whereabouts are unknown to
the child's caretaker and the child is presumed to be lost or injured.
IFA - International Family Abduction - when a child is concealed or
transported out of the country by a family member with the intent to prevent
contact or deprive the other parent of custodial rights.

5779 - a missing child between the age of 18 and 21


-- Sherry Lynn Marler hasn't been seen since she was 12 years old in
1984. She went into the downtown area of New Brockton, AL with her
step-father. He went to the bank and Sherry went to the store.
never returned to the truck where she was scheduled to meet her
step-father. (Sherry's mother, Betty Stringfellow, will participate
in the training).
-- Morgan Nick was abducted from a little league ball game by an
unidentified man on June 9, 1995, in Alma, AR. Morgan still missing,
turned 20 on September 19th, 2009 (Morgan's mother, Colleen Nick,
supervises a team of volunteers and will participate in the training).
-- Clifton Patrick Leonard went missing from Lakeland, FL when he was 16
years in 1967. Clifton had been diagnosed with teenage schizophrenia
before his disappearance. He disappeared after leaving a friends home
and may have met with foul play. (Clifton's mother, Marilyn
Leonard, will participate in the training).
-- Vinyette Teague was just two and a half years old when she went
from Chicago, IL on June 25, 1983. She was last seen in the hallway
outside her apartment. Vinyette turned 26 this past June.
(Vinyette's mother Kathy Teague will participate in the training).
-- April Wiss was 16 years old when she went missing from Wichita, KS.
April's roommate woke the morning of January 11th( )2000 to find
April missing. Her purse and belongings were in the apartment, but
April had disappeared. (April's mother, Dorothy Clasen, will
participate in the training).
-- Randy Lee Sellers disappeared from Burlington, KY on August 16th, 1980
when he was 17 years old. Randy went to the Kenton County Fair with
friends that evening, and has not been seen since that night.
(Randy's mother, Wanda Cotton, will participate in the training).
-- Suzanne Lyall was a 19 year old college student and working part time
the local mall when she went missing in 1998 from Albany, NY. Suzanne
has not been seen since 3/2/1998 when she left work and went to the
stop to return to her dormitory. (Suzanne's parents, Doug and Mary
Lyall, will participate in the training).
-- Clarissa Ann Culberson on August 28, 1996, at the age of 22 Clarissa
disappeared from her home. It is alleged that Clarissa met with foul
play. Her boyfriend was found guilty of her murder, but Clarissa's
body has not been found. (Clarissa's mother, Debbie Culberson, will
participate in the training).
-- Erica Baker was almost ten when she went missing from Kettering, Ohio
February 7, 1999. She was last seen between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m. when
left the house to walk her dog. The dog was later found, but Erica
not been seen since. Erica turned 20 this past June. (Erica's
grandmother Pam Schmidt will participate in this training).
-- Lynn Smith went missing from Hot Springs, AR in 1985 when she was 16
years old. She was last seen walking home from school. (Lynn's
sister, Lisa Murray, will participate in the training). -- Melanie Lynn Temperton was last seen on September 21, 1988 in
Quebec, Canada when she was 20 years old. She phoned her mother to
she was staying at a friend's house the night. It is suspected that
Melanie met with foul play. (Melanie's mother, Gwen Vatcher
Temperton, will participate in the training).
-- Raymond Green was abducted by an unknown woman on November 6, 1978
Atlanta, Ga when he was 6 days old. The day Raymond went missing this
unknown woman came to the home, when there other people going in and
out. She took Raymond, walked out of the home and disappeared.
(Raymond's mother, Donna Green, will participate in the training).
-- Isabella Saileanu was abducted by her father in Rumania at the age of
on September 18, 2001. Isabella was living with her mother in Santa
Clara, CA prior to the abduction. (Isabella's mother, Tammy
Saileanu, will participate in the training).

-- Joseph Pichler a childhood actor went missing at the age of 18 on
January 5, 2006 from Bremerton, WA. His car was subsequently found
his cell phone and identification. Joseph remains missing.
(Joseph's mother, Kathy Pichler, and sister, Shawna Woody, will
participate in the training).

Public Relations Department
(703) 837-6111

/PRNewswire-USNewswire -- Sept. 22/

SOURCE National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

monkalup - September 22, 2009 03:04 PM (GMT)

monkalup - June 6, 2010 08:48 PM (GMT)
Chicago Police Department
Youth Headquarters
You may remain anonymous when submitting information to any agency.

NCMEC #: NCMC601917

NCIC Number: M-593883009

I do not understand how a child can vanish with fifty people in close proximity and no one saw anything? WHAT?

monkalup - June 6, 2010 09:00 PM (GMT)
On June 25, 1983, an infant, Vinyette Teague, was abducted from Robert Taylor Homes after her grandmother left her alone in the hallway for a few minutes to answer a phone call. An estimated 50 people were in the hallway at the time of the abduction, but police were unable to gather enough evidence to make any arrests. She has never been seen or heard from since. [6]

monkalup - June 20, 2010 11:54 AM (GMT)
Fifty people hanging out in a hallway. Long broad hallway. Lots of folks talking, chatting about this and that. Children at play with neighbors, adults socializing, passing time and watching the children. Or were they?

Little Vinyette Trudy Teague was just eighteen months old. Crawling most likely, perhaps trying to walk on unsteady feet and reaching for a helping hand. We know she was playing in the hallway with those other fifty people. Among those fifty people were two uncles, two aunts, and cousins. And then the phone rang. Grandma went to answer and when she returned, Vinyette was gone. And remains gone. Lost somewhere? Taken somewhere? and why did no one see?
or since someone must have seen...why has the story not been told?

Please read her story. She never got the press some other cases get. But she deserves to be remembered. She was taken, obviously, from the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago (since demolished) on 25 June 1983. She deserves justice.

monkalup - October 15, 2011 03:40 AM (GMT)
where is Vinyette Teague?

monkalup - October 15, 2011 03:47 AM (GMT)
Faces of the missing

November 20, 2005

On June 25, 1983, 18-month-old Vinyette Teague vanished from a hallway at the Robert Taylor Homes while her parents were at a drive-in movie. Her family hasn't seen her since.

Twenty-two years later, Vinyette's mother, Kathy Teague, still dreads Thanksgiving, because it falls the week before what would have been her only daughter's 24th birthday. Every year, the family marks the occasion at Washington Park, where they release balloons -- usually white and red, Vinyette's favorite color -- into the sky.

"From the day she disappeared to now, I still don't know where she is or what happened to her," Teague said. She said the night Vinyette disappeared, she had been left in the care of relatives but got out into the hall. "But I absolutely believe she's still alive. I will never give up trying or hoping until I find her body."

Vinyette Teague is one of 2,344 children in Illinois considered missing as of Nov. 1, State Police said. The total fluctuates as new cases are reported and older ones are resolved, but the number of kids who go missing each year remains about the same, said Lt. Lincoln Hampton, a spokesman for the Illinois State Police.

Law enforcement has reported more than 150 of these cases to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a non-profit organization that works with families, local police departments and government agencies to track down missing kids. The names, pictures and circumstances of each disappearance are featured on the center's Web site,

Some faces more familiar

Some children, like Vinyette, have been gone so long, the center posts age-processed renditions of what they would look like as adults. The names and faces of other children, such as Diamond and Tionda Bradley, are instantly familiar because of media attention.

The vast majority of the missing, however, are either runaways or children taken by one or both parents in violation of a custody ruling.

State Police estimate 94 percent of missing children are recovered safely. Only a small percentage are the victims of a long-term, non-family abduction -- the kind in which the child is at the greatest risk for being sexually assaulted or killed.

Still, one night on the streets may be all it takes for a runaway to fall victim to exploitation, said Charles Pickett, a senior case manager for the national center.

"Things you wouldn't do today, you might do tomorrow as you get hungry," Pickett said. "The number of people who prey on [runaways] expands the longer and further away they are from home."

Children abducted by parents or other family members are less likely to suffer violence, but suddenly being cut off from friends, school and familiar surroundings can be traumatic in its own right, Pickett said. Often, parent abductors fabricate stories of abuse or cruelty at the hands of the other parent to turn the child against them.

"I don't know of a single case in my 20 years . . . that it wasn't beneficial to the child and the family to bring them all back together," Pickett said.

Man missing since 1969

The oldest active Illinois case tracked by the center is that of James Howell, who disappeared from his Sterling home in the spring of 1969. He was 9.

Detective Pat Carney, of the Whiteside County sheriff's office, said police still receive occasional tips on the case, but after so many years, the likelihood of finding Howell alive is small.

"But we haven't given up," Carney said. "The folder is on my desk right now, which tells you it's still an active case."

monkalup - October 15, 2011 03:48 AM (GMT)

Record number participates in Ride for Missing Children

Posted May 21, 2010 @ 10:54 AM

The Ride For Missing Children Central New York is a bike ride. And it’s a fundraiser.

But, said Carol Ryan, as she sat in the vehicle containing the families of missing and recovered children, “it is so much more than that.”

Ryan credits “somebody at the Ride for Missing Children, probably in 2003,” with raising the money for the posters that helped bring her daughter Lindsey safely home.

When Lindsey was recognized from her picture on a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children poster, she was in California, across the country from her Michigan home and with a convicted murderer.

“It was truly a life and death thing,” Ryan said.

With each mile, with each wave, and with each school the riders visited, they were closer to their goal — making children safer, one child at a time. The money raised from the event helps offset costs in making missing children posters.

Friday’s ride was the biggest in the event’s 14-year history – 443 riders participated, of which about 100 were first-time riders.

As the nearly 90-mile route snaked through the Mohawk Valley, heat and dehydration were serious obstacles for riders, especially as temperatures reached above 80 degrees.

Excited students waved, cheered and held colorful signs to encourage the riders along their way.

Nationally known activist Ed Smart — whose abducted daughter Elizabeth eventually made it home safe — had planned on riding in Friday’s event, but was unable to because of the sentencing of his daughter’s kidnapper.

‘You feel like people have forgotten’

While Ryan’s and Smart’s daughters were successfully found, others in the van Friday have been waiting between 5 and 20-plus years to hear news of their missing loved ones.

Next month, Vinyette Teague, will have been missing 27 years.

“For a family that’s had a child missing for that long, you feel like people have forgotten,” said Lura Lunkenheimer, co-chairwoman of the Families Committee.

Vinyette Teague’s mother, Kathy, watched The Ride for Missing Children event for the first time, and said: “I think it’s something special. It’s something to know that people really, truly care.”

Ryan agreed, and said seeing the riders willing to donate their time and energy is a reminder to the families of how much good there is in the world and that those wishing to do harm to children are the “abnormal people.”

School stops ‘give you energy’

At Clinton Central School, the elementary school marching band welcomed riders as students distributed “thank you” stickers and collected autographs from riders.

As Jim Haeger of Verona, a five-time participant, passed out pencils and signed the autograph books for two students, he said: “It's great. You've been riding 20 miles so far and it picks you up for the next leg. It gives you energy.”

Clinton Elementary School Principal Steven Marcus donated $2,647 that was raised by students on behalf of the school.

The route also included short stops at several Utica Schools, including Hugh R. Jones School, J.F. Hughes Elementary, Watson Williams Elementary School, Martin Luther King Elementary School, Columbus Elementary School and Thomas R. Proctor High School.

This was important, said media coordinator Katie Ullman, because “the whole point of the ride is to bring the message of safety to the students. The more kids, the more schools, the better.”

Balloon colors carry meaning

Children at Herkimer Elementary School released hundreds of balloons – white, the symbol of hope; purple, to represent the commitment and integrity of the state police; and pink and turquoise, the colors Herkimer County child Sara Anne Wood was last seen wearing when she was abducted. Her body was never found.

“When those balloons rose up into the sky, it really was super,” said Chip Hemmel, co-president of the advisory board of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – Mohawk Valley Branch.

‘It not about a bike ride’

Nick Johnson, 17, a high school junior from Clinton and first-time rider, said that turning the corner into his school at Clinton was “amazing.”

Appreciative teachers even told him he had a free pass on whatever work was missed that day.

“There’s just so many feelings — just a lot going on back and forth,” Johnson said. “Being here is like, yeah, they’re right. It’s not about a bike ride.”

monkalup - October 15, 2011 03:48 AM (GMT)

monkalup - October 15, 2011 03:54 AM (GMT)
Life Behind The Photo Of A Missing Little Girl
July 28, 1989|By Eric Zorn.

More than 700,000 suburban commuters and interstate travelers see Vinyette Teague`s baby picture every day-her big, steady eyes, the white ribbons in her hair, the Sunday dress that swaddles her neck in lace. They look, they cough up 40 cents, and they`re gone.

Another missing child. If you drive the metropolitan tollways you`ve seen Vinyette Teague`s face on the collection booth posters so many times since March that she has become an almost meaningless part of the everyday scenery, barely a pinprick to the subconscious. But who she is? What happened to her?
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Vinyette Teague`s mysterious abduction was a very brief news story in the major Chicago papers and newscasts in the summer of 1983-she was black, her mother, Kathy Teague, was unemployed and unmarried, and she lived in poverty at the Chicago Housing Authority`s Robert Taylor Homes on the South Side.

Her name was going to be Minyette because her mother liked the sound of the word, but a clergywoman at Chicago Lying-In Hospital, where she was born in December, 1981, suggested Vinyette.

The baby`s first words were ``water`` and ``mommy,`` and everywhere she went she carried with her a little rag doll that didn`t have a name.

Vinyette was a sweet but cautious child, Kathy Teague said, and was very particular about who could hold her. On the night of June 25, 1983, she perched most of the evening in the lap of a trusted neighbor who was helping watch Teague`s four kids while Teague and Vinyette`s father, Albert Simmons, went to a drive-in movie.

The air was thick and hot, and the neighbor, Kathy Teague`s mother, her two sisters and her cousin were sitting with a large group of neighbors out in a porch area playing cards and talking. The phone rang and Kathy Teague`s mother went inside the apartment. Then her sisters drifted off and the cousin left and the trusted neighbor went to do the dishes.

A short time later, Vinyette was gone. No one had seen anything. She was 18 months old and was not even wearing any shoes.

Kathy Teague arrived home at 3 a.m. The first neighbor who saw her in the parking lot screamed from a fifth-floor window, ``Kathy! Kathy! Kathy!`` Her voice echoed in the brick and asphalt canyon even as they reverberate today in memory: ``Kathy! Kathy! Kathy! Do you have your baby?``

- - -

The toll-free number listed on Vinyette`s missing-child poster on nearly all the 356 tollway collection lanes in the metropolitan area is disconnected, and the contact organization, Child Search Journal, is not currently listed in the telephone directory in its home city of Kankakee.

The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority puts the posters up whenever a new batch arrives as part of a program that began in 1987 to help the nationwide, multimedia effort to put the faces of missing children on seemingly every available surface.

Although it may seem futile to splash suburban toll booths with baby pictures of an inner-city child who is now nearly 8 years old if she is alive, there is always a slim chance that someone will recognize her. The chances may increase when new, age-progressed pictures of what Vinyette might look like today get wider circulation.
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Nationwide, more than 100 children have been found through pictures since they became widely used as a searching tool in the mid-1980s, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Arlington, Va. The center, at 1-800-843-5678, is now the most active private agency involved in the search for Vinyette. Her various posters and handbills have so far prompted a number of tips, all of them checked out, all of them false.

``No one knows anything,`` said Alberta Gordon, the Chicago Police Department youth officer now assigned to the case.

- - -

After Vinyette disappeared, Kathy Teague searched Robert Taylor Homes building to building, floor to floor, door to door. She pawed through incinerator ashes and peered down the elevator shafts. ``In a sense, I had given up on life,`` she said. ``Everything in my mind was blank. I couldn`t even think.``

No ransom note ever arrived, no scrap of clothing was ever found. Crank callers phoned to say Vinyette`s body had turned up in a bag by the railroad tracks or cut to shreds on the roof of a nearby restaurant. Another caller put a young girl on the line and had her holler, ``Mommy, mommy, mommy!``

Kathy Teague`s best and most optimistic guess is that someone saw Vinyette at the playground the afternoon she disappeared and decided to adopt her. ``She was a really pretty child, with a big, beautiful smile,`` Teague said. ``And I`m not just saying that because I`m her mother. The feeling in my heart is that she`s alive-that someone just wanted her for their own.``

Teague was born 36 years ago in Memphis and came to Chicago when she was 3. She graduated from high school on the South Side and worked as a hotel housekeeper and a fast food restaurant supervisor before giving birth to Johnny, now 18. Her second son, Kionante, is now 10, and her third son, Antonio, is now 8.

She still has nightmares about Vinyette`s abduction and she feels her absence sharply around the holidays and the anniversary of the disappearance. She has moved out of Robert Taylor Homes into a tiny rented house on East 69th Street hard by the railroad tracks, mostly to escape the memories.

``I couldn`t stay in the projects anymore,`` she said. ``Every day I had to look at all those faces of the people who were there that night and think that one of them must know something.

``And every time I walked into the building I still heard that woman`s voice screaming, `Kathy! Kathy! Kathy! Do you have your baby?` ``

monkalup - October 15, 2011 04:01 AM (GMT)

Two Missing Person Cases Baffling Police
September 28, 2011 10:13 PM

Vinyette Teague (left) was 18 months old when she vanished in 1983. Jesse Ross (right) was 19 when he disappeared in 2006. Both missing person cases in Chicago remain unsolved. (Credit: CBS)
Bill Kurtis

CHICAGO (CBS) – Seventeen-thousand – that’s how many people go missing in Chicago every year. Ninety-eight percent of them are located, but CBS 2’s Bill Kurtis reports on two cases that have baffled police.

Kathy Teague’s daughter, Vinyette, disappeared on June 15, 1983.

An age progression has been done to show us how she might look today.
Two Missing Person Cases Baffling Police

An age progression has been done to show what Vinyette Teague might look like today, 28 years after she went missing in 1983. (Credit: Chicago Police Department)

“I cry every day,” Kathy said.

It was a hot night when Vinyette went missing. Kathy’s mother was babysitting. About 50 neighbors and family members were gathered on the outside gallery of the Robert Taylor Homes when Vinyette simply vanished.

Police Cmdr. Robert Hargesheimer of the Youth Division explained what happened next.

“We brought in more police officers,” he said. “We did grid searches, we had police dogs there, everything, but we never found Vinyette.”

Police also have never found 19-year-old Jesse Ross from Missouri, who went missing on Nov. 21, 2006.

His mother described what it has been like.

“We still know nothing. it’s a parent’s worst nightmare,” Donna Ross said.

Jesse was at a mock United Nations conference at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel.

“He was a wonderful young man with bright red hair that sticks out. He was last seen at the hotel around 3 a.m. He disappeared without a trace,” said Belmont Area Special Victims Unit Police Lt. Kevin Dillon.

The search for Jesse was massive.

“They had cadaver dogs, 21 detectives, they had boats, divers, sonar, coast guard … and nothing,” Donna Ross said.

This week, Donna Ross and her husband Don were back in Chicago to talk to police, hoping that some witnesses could be re-interviewed.

“We have no choice. We have to keep pursuing this,” Don Ross said.

Questions also still haunt Kathy Teague

“I just want to believe that someone just saw a pretty baby and just wanted a pretty baby,” she said.

Chicago Police said they have not stopped looking for either child.

“We never close a case. It can be suspended, but the case is never closed until we locate someone,” Hargesheimer said.

Donna Ross said she hopes her son is still alive, “but we need answers.”

Both families are thankful for the Internet, because of all the pictures posted of Jesse and Vinyette.

“Maybe she’ll see a missing childrens poster and say this looks like me,” Kathy said of her daughter.

Chicago police were not planning to do any re-interviews of witnesses in the Ross case, but they said they will pursue any new leads that come in.

That’s why, if you know anything that could help investigators in either of these cases, it’s important that you call Chicago Police at 312-744-8266.

monkalup - August 1, 2012 08:05 PM (GMT)
Vinyette Teague age progression photo
September 28, 2011 8:25 PM

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