This week’s featured missing person is Celina Janette Mays, who was last seen in Willingboro, New Jersey on December 16, 1996. She was twelve and a half years old, and nine months pregnant; the baby was due on the 29th. She’s biracial, with black hair, brown eyes and eyebrows that tend to grow together. At the time of her disappearance she was 5’0 and 120 pounds, but she might have grown since then.
It appears that she sneaked out of the house in the night, with the intention of returning; she’d left behind all her things, including her purse and prenatal vitamins. There’s speculation that she’d gone out to meet with the father of her baby, but the problem is no one except Celina knew who the father was. She didn’t even tell her obstetrician.
Celina’s father, CJ, was threatening to have paternity tests done to determine the identity of the father, and whomever it was could obviously have faced serious criminal charges.
When a child as young as Celina becomes pregnant, one tends to suspect incest (or at least I do). Per this article, the father of Celina’s baby could not have been CJ, as he’d had a vasectomy. But there were rumors implicating one of Celina’s cousins.
I don’t think she lived long after leaving her house that night. It seems like, if she had run away, she would have resurfaced at age 18, if only to collect the inheritance due her from her mother’s life insurance. (Celina’s mom had died a few years earlier.)
But if Celina is still alive, she would be 37 today, and her baby would be about to turn 25.
It sounds odd because this is the point of the Charley Project but I hope she’s never found if she’s alive. If she’s alive I don’t see a reality where this doesn’t mess up her already pretty traumatic life.
What you’re saying reminds me of when Crystal Haag, a 14-year-old girl who went missing from Baltimore, was found alive like 15 years later. She had run away cause she was being sexually abused by a neighbor.
Anyway, her reunion with her family as a grown woman was… not great. At least not at first, anyway; perhaps the situation has improved since then. I suppose it must have been horribly awkward and there was probably a great deal of resentment on both sides.
Also your friend at whereabouts still unknown has a good article that may give you some good information on this case.
It’s unlikely but CJ having a vasectomy doesn’t totally rule him out as being the father of the baby. Sometimes the operation is botched or a man doesn’t wait long enough afterward. Same with a woman having her tubes tied. And if CJ was the father, making noise about having a DNA test done would throw suspicion off him, but Celina disappearing would prevent him from following through or coming up with an excuse not to follow through. Someone definitely thinks they have a get out of jail card. I doubt very much that Celina could have gone somewhere and started over on her own; she wasn’t even a teenager, and aside from being pregnant at twelve she seems to have been very sheltered and not street smart. She’d be easy pickings for any pimp on the lookout, but probably not while she was about to pop pregnant, and she’d need help having the baby most likely and any doctor or nurse would have seen through her if she claimed to be of age. She doesn’t look older than she was the way some people can.
this is the case that had stayed with me the most. her family knows exactly what happened to her but unfortunately her father and aunt have both passed and took some secrets to the grave with them. she has plenty of half siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles that are alive who have distanced themselves from the family. they need to say something.
anyone who thinks she ran away and started over somewhere needs to join us in reality.