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TOYA HILL - 8 yo (1982) - Baltimore MD

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TOYA HILL - 8 yo (1982) - Baltimore MD Empty TOYA HILL - 8 yo (1982) - Baltimore MD

Post by TomTerrific0420 Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:24 pm

Sun Editor's note: For a more complete version of this story, check the Baltimore Sun on Sunday, online and in print.

Years later, still waiting for a child to return
Parents of long-missing children like Toya Hill keep their hopes alive

February 05, 2011
By Jean Marbella, The Baltimore Sun

Annette Stanley may no longer set a place at the dinner table for her daughter,
Toya Hill, something she did for about a year after the 8-year-old
disappeared going to buy candy at a store near their East Baltimore
home. It has been, after all, almost 29 years since the quiet,
bespectacled little girl vanished, a span of time in which Stanley has
married, moved and seen Toya's three siblings grow up and give her 15
grandchildren. But with or without an actual place setting, her lost
daughter remains a constant, if elusive, presence. "I will always
believe she is alive," Stanley said. "But some part of me says, 'She's
that old, how come she hasn't tried to find you?' " It is among
the countless unanswerable questions that plague parents of children who
have gone missing for months, years or, as with Toya, decades. Not
knowing if — or even when — you will see your child again surely ranks
high atop the worst parental nightmares, nearly unimaginable to anyone
who hasn't actually experienced it. So when Stanley heard the news of Phylicia Barnes,
who disappeared while visiting her sister in Baltimore more than a month ago, she said a
prayer for the 17-year-old girl's parents. "Don't give up the search," she advises.
"Put up flyers, have neighbors help, keep talking to the Lord." Stanley, 58,
now lives in Edgewood, where she runs a home day care
service. But on March 24, 1982, when Toya was last seen, she was a
single mother of four living in the Perkins Homes complex south of Pratt
Street. Toya, a third-grader, had come home from City Springs
Elementary School and was playing with friends in a courtyard when she
decided to go to a store two blooks away. There, she was seen talking to
two men, one of whom was her mother's ex-boyfriend. When she
failed to come home by early evening, Stanley called police. They
canvassed the neighborhood and interviewed the two men and, ultimately,
about 150 other people, and yet Toya has never been found.
"Really, I'm still at the same place I was at before," Stanley said.
"That's the problem: You don't have any answers." What kept her going was her other kids.
"I had to keep living and
surviving for them," she said. "I had to look out for their well-being.
"Stanley only stopped setting a place for Toya at the dinner table
when she realized how sad it was for her son and two daughters to be
reminded of their sibling's absence. She used to find pictures of Toya
that the kids had put under their pillows at night, and keeps her own
mementos of her long-lost daughter close at hand. "I took everything,
all her things she had, little drawings she did," Stanley said, "and I keep them in a box in my closet." News
of other missing children naturally triggers memories of her own. Last
month, the story of Carlina White, who was kidnapped as a child and at
23 found her biological parents on her own, hit her particularly hard.
"My anger came out first — why couldn't that be my child coming home to me?" she said.
"Then I was happy for her mother." As years and years of holidays and birthdays — August 24 — went by, Toya's
return seemed less and less likely. Stanley wavers between believing
that Toya was alive out there, somewhere, and accepting that perhaps she
is long dead. Either option, though, produces its own torment: To hope
is to set herself up for the disappointment of a reunion that never
happens. To even consider that Toya is dead is to give up on her child.
Several years ago, police found the body of a woman who they thought
was about the age Toya would be, and asked Stanley for a DNA sample.
She gave one, but it didn't match that of the body — a result that at
least theoretically meant Toya could still be alive, but was upsetting
nonetheless because it kept her fate as unknown as ever. Much has changed in
awareness of missing children since Toya vanished.
In fact, she went missing eight months after Adam Walsh, the 6-year-old
who disappeared from a Florida mall and later was found murdered. His
case brought nationwide attention, and his father, John Walsh, became a
well-known child and crime victim's activist as well as the host of the
TV show, America's Most Wanted. Through his and other activists'
efforts, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was
founded in 1984, and it continues serving as a clearinghouse for missing
children.Its website has page after heart-breaking page of pictures of the
missing and details of their disappearances. Joining Toya on the page of
Maryland's missing are cases as old as that of 4-year-old George
Barksdale, who vanished from outside a West Baltimore church in 1969, to
those as recent as Barnes, the North Carolina honors student and track
star who was staying at her sister's apartment in northwest Baltimore
when she disappeared Dec. 28. Such cases of children who seem to
have fallen off the face of the Earth are getting more national media
attention than in the past. But these are the exception: While the
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says approximately
800,000 children are reported missing every year, most of them are
either runaways or were taken by another family member, such as in a
custody dispute. The center estimates that about 115 of those children
are abducted by a stranger and killed, held for ransom or kept.
Now retired, Robert L. Dean saw the range of cases in the more than
10 years in which he headed the Baltimore Police Department's missing
persons unit. In fact, when he looks back on that time, two cases stand
as bookends. "My very first case was Toya Hill, who was never
found," Dean said. "The last case was the girl we found in a dumpster.
While we were standing there waiting for homicide [detectives], they
came to empty it. We were five minutes away from losing her forever."
That was Ebony Scott, a 9-year-old from New York who was visiting her
sister and was found slain the day she was reported missing: Aug. 12,
1992. In between, there were more typical cases, said Dean, who
is 68 years old and retired after 25 years with the police force. He
found runaways, helped people locate relatives with whom they'd lost
contact, determined the identities of the dead. The long-term
missing stand out because they are so rare. He remembers Toya's case
vividly, as well as one he inherited: 7-year-old Telethia Good. She
disappeared from her aunt's house, where she was visiting while her
mother was at a church event, on Sept. 10, 1979. Other cases
similarly haunt other parts of the state: There is Katherine and Sheila
Lyon, 13 and 11 respectively, who went to Wheaton Plaza on March 25,
1975, to get pizza and have not been seen since. There is George
"Junior" Burdynski, 10, who disappeared while riding his bike to a
neighbor's house in Prince George's County on May 24, 1993. The
cases have had their fits and starts, promising leads that went nowhere,
suspicions that either were unfounded or could never be proven.
For Annette Stanley, losing her daughter feels like a journey that has
yet to end, one that has taken twists and turns — through psychics even,
at one point. And even as she acknowledges that perhaps Toya is dead,
Stanley also allows herself to imagine her now grown-up daughter one day
walking through the door. "Oh my God," she says. "That would be the happiest day of my life."


Last edited by TomTerrific0420 on Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by TomTerrific0420 Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:25 pm

NonFamily Abduction


TOYA HILL - 8 yo (1982) - Baltimore MD NCMC601715c1

Aug 24, 1973
Mar 24, 1982

Age Now:




4'0" (122 cm)
80 lbs (36 kg)
Missing From:


United States

Age Progressed

TOYA HILL - 8 yo (1982) - Baltimore MD NCMC601715e1

Toya's photo is shown age-progressed
to 34 years. She was last seen leaving home to go to the store and she
never returned. She wears glasses.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST)

Baltimore Police Department (Maryland) - Missing Persons Unit 1-410-396-2284
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Post by mom_in_il Wed May 28, 2014 3:51 pm

Charley Project Page:  http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/h/hill_toya.html
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