This story is part of a series this month spotlighting missing Black women in America.
A Wisconsin teen’s mother is hoping for answers in connection with her 15-year-old daughter, who she hasn’t seen in nearly eight months.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Joniah Walker was last seen on June 23, 2022, close to the intersection of East Reservoir Avenue and North Buffum Street in Milwaukee. She was carrying a backpack when she disappeared and wearing a green shirt and blue jeans.
While speaking with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last year, Joniah’s mother, Tanesha Howard, said she’s frustrated that police didn’t list her daughter as “critical missing.” This has reportedly caused fewer resources to be utilized in finding her.
A critical missing alert is typically reserved for children ages 11 and under with “physical, mental, or cognitive disability, drug dependency or other at-risk issue,” the outlet reports.
“We absolutely view her as being critical missing as even besides her young age, she has never done anything like this before,” Howard said.
Joniah’s father was scheduled to pick her up at 4 p.m. from her home on the day she disappeared, so she could go get a work permit. When Joniah never arrived home, Howard became worried.
A Ring camera from a neighbor’s home showed Joniah leaving her residence on June 23 at around 2:30 p.m. Cellphone records indicate that she tried to call her therapist at about 3:27 p.m. and then later that evening, texted her therapist, and wrote she ran away from home.
Since then, no one has heard from her, according to her mother.
“Even though it may look on the surface that the child left their home under their own power, under their own two feet, they may have left it under false pretenses,” John Bischoff, vice president of the center’s Missing Children Division, said.
Joniah is described as a Black female who stands 5-feet-3-inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. She has brown eyes and black hair.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is urged to contact Milwaukee PD at 414-933-4444 or the National Center for Missing Children’s hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
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[Feature Photo: Police Handout]