In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Ta’Niyah Monique Leonard, an eleven-month old baby who disappeared from Bartow, Florida on October 19, 2002.
Sadly it’s not likely that Ta’Niyah is alive today. The police have two main suspects: her parents, Michael Lewis and Miranda Jones. The couple often had violent arguments, sometimes involving weapons. The cops think one or both of Ta’Niyah’s parents was responsible for her death.
This is a problem in terms of the prosecution, as I note in her casefile, since the parents are blaming each other:
Investigators believe either Lewis or Jones is responsible for Ta’Niyah’s disappearance and probable death, but they cannot proceed with charges against either of them due to a lack of evidence and due to the two suspects’ conflicting stories. Prosecutors offered both of them immunity from any charges if they would return Ta’Niyah alive, but neither Lewis nor Jones accepted the offer.
This love-hate relationship between Lewis and Jones continued after Ta’Niyah’s disappearance. Even as they both blamed each other, they conceived another child, a girl, who was immediately taken away after birth and adopted. Last I heard, in 2006, Jones had had a son (not by Lewis; the father might have been this guy) and she was about to lose her parental rights towards this baby as well.
I don’t know what Ta’Niyah’s parents have been up to since 2006; with surnames like “Lewis” and “Jones” it’s hard to trace their movements. If Ta’Niyah is alive, she’d be 17 now.
This week’s featured missing person is Alicia Lynette Griffin, a 37-year-old woman who disappeared from Orlando, Florida on February 1, 2014. It says foul play is not suspected in her case, but frankly I don’t see why not, as she left all her stuff behind and her phone and everything.
As often happens when a high-profile missing child is found, especially when they’re found safe, news agencies are dusting off their local missing kid cases and being all like, “Hey, you know how Jayme Closs was found? Here’s some kids missing in YOUR area and their parents hope they’ll get found too.” So far we’ve got:
I highly doubt Adji or Diana is alive. Adji is a special needs child and if he was abducted, I don’t think the abductor could have kept him long without attracting some attention. As for Diana, a suspect has been charged with her murder.
This week’s featured missing person is Fern Stephanie Klein, a 32-year-old woman who disappeared from Hollywood, Florida over 20 years ago, on December 9, 1997. I don’t know anything about the circumstances of her disappearance or about Fern herself, other than that she was an alcoholic. She has several tattoos.
I found out that Maribel Oquendo-Carrero‘s dad, said to be possibly her abductor when she disappeared in 1982, is still around and his whereabouts are unknown and he gets arrested sometimes. Petty stuff. He was arrested at least three times this year. He’s 80 years old.
So where is Maribel? I have no idea. The Facebook page I found for her includes a scrap of some article about her disappearance, but it’s not enough to tell me anything, and I have yet to find the whole article anywhere.
This week’s featured missing person is Margarita Rosa Tache, a 39-year-old woman who disappeared from Hialeah, Florida with her 81-year-old mother, Sarah Zambrano. They lived together and went missing on May 9, 2002.
All I could find about the missing women, except their dates of birth, I got from NamUs. Apparently Tache’s husband traveled to Colombia after their disappearances, and he told the authorities there that he’d killed Tache and put her body in a dumpster. Nothing is said about Zambrano, however, no bodies were recovered, and I don’t know what Tache’s husband’s name was or where he is now.
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Marco Antonio Cadenas, a nine-year-old biracial black/Hispanic boy who disappeared from Miami, Florida on May 11, 1994.
I should note that Marco’s family background was troubled, to say the least. I’m not sure what role, if any, his biological father played in his life, but the man was killed in a police shootout in Ohio in July 1994, two months after Marco disappeared. There was some domestic violence between Marco’s mother and his stepfather, and some drug issues with the mom.
Marco, who called his stepfather “Daddy,” left on the day of his disappearance because he was upset that his mother had hit his stepfather with a bottle. His mother went into drug rehab later that year. I don’t know where his mom and stepfather are today, or if they’re still alive, or what other family Marco has.
So where is Marco? If this was an older child, the circumstances would indicate he left on his own: he was mad at his mother, they had an argument, and she threatened to punish him. He walked out the door and never came back.
But he was nine. Could a nine-year-old, even a streetwise one, have really managed to run away and never come back? And would he have done so without so much as a pair of shoes?
If he’s still alive, and I hope he is, Marco Cadenas would be 33 years old today.