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Tacoma 3-year-old still missing 28 years after disappearance

Lenoria Jones was reported missing in July 1995. Tacoma police are seeking information on what happened to the 3-year-old.

TACOMA, Wash. — The Tacoma Police Department urges the public to come forward if they have information about a girl who went missing in 1995.

Lenoria Jones, who was 3 years old at the time, was reported missing July 20, 1995. Jones, who was a ward of the state, had been under the care of her great-aunt since July 1994.

“Lenoria’s biological mother has never had any answers as far as what happened and is asking that there is some closure that be brought forth,” said Tacoma Police Department Detective Julie Dier.

"I would like closure. I would like to put my daughter to rest,” Deidre Jones, Lenoria’s biological mother, said during a phone interview with KING 5 on Thursday.   

"The way Lenoria ended up with my aunt is because I had problems, incarcerated. I asked my aunt Berlean, would she get Lenoria for me so that Lenoria would not end up in the system,” said Jones.

She wants anyone holding on to information to come forward so there can finally be justice for Lenoria Jones.

"I feel in my heart that she is dead. I would like whoever did this to be held accountable for their actions,” said Jones.

The girl’s great-aunt reported her missing from a pay phone inside a Target store on South 23rd Street in Tacoma.

When police arrived, the department said the girl’s great-aunt provided varying accounts of the girl’s whereabouts.

At first, the great-aunt said she was separated from Jones in the toy department. When police said they would check the store’s surveillance footage, the great aunt said she may have been separated from Jones walking into the Target.

However, store cameras showed Jones had not been in the store, according to Tacoma police. A witness told police they saw the great-aunt arrive at the Target parking lot and Jones wasn’t in the car.

The great-aunt told police she had made several stops at a car wash, 7-Eleven and Top Foods before going to Target. Officers didn’t find Jones at any of those locations.

The great-aunt was going to take a polygraph test, but before the test changed her story again. The great-aunt claimed two males took Jones in the alley behind her home in the 1900 block of South Sheridan Avenue in the Hilltop neighborhood. The great-aunt later said that was a lie.

The day after Jones’ disappearance, the great-aunt’s attorney contacted police and told them not to speak with the great-aunt again. Police haven’t had contact with her since.

Dier said it doesn’t happen frequently in missing children cases that the story would change that much.

“It appears that maybe something else had happened with the child and a missing child report was made to cover up what had happened,” Dier said.

Dier said the department believes Jones is dead. However, they don’t know what happened to Jones or where she is.

The great-aunt had several other children living with her at the time of Jones’ disappearance, including 20-year-old, 18-year-old and 16-year-old daughters, a 9-year-old son and a 13-month-old grandson.

Her adult daughters refused to take polygraph tests, and the great-aunt never completed a test either.

At the time of Jones’ disappearance, she was 3 feet tall and 40 pounds with brown eyes and black hair in braids. Jones had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which required medication.

If anyone has information about Jones' disappearance they can share a tip with Tacoma police here or call CrimeStoppers of Tacoma/Pierce County at 1-800-222-TIPS.


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