TACOMA, Wash. — Theresa Czapiewski’s hopes have been dashed for decades.
Ever since her daughter, 2-year-old Teekah Lewis, vanished at a Tacoma bowling alley in 1999, potential breaks in the case have failed to lead to any arrests, or even named suspects.
But newly released details, and an updated age-progression photo showing what Teekah might look like nearly 24 years later, have renewed Czapiewski’s hopes.
“I’m hoping this picture can bring new light to the case,” said Czapiewski.
She said she cried when she first saw the picture earlier this fall.
“Because after all these years they finally made a picture that looks like my daughter,” said Czapiewski.
Lewis, described by her sisters as a “mature” toddler, but someone who never left her mother’s side, was last seen in the arcade of Tacoma’s New Frontier Lanes bowling alley on Center Street on Jan. 23, 1999.
A Home Depot is now on the property.
In 2020, detectives said they were looking for a person of interest who was seen near Teekah that night.
The witness described the person as a white male, about 5 feet, 11 inches, with a “husky” build, with brown, curly or wavy hair, a mustache and pockmarks on his face.
The witness said the man was wearing blue jeans and a blue checkered, flannel shirt.
Detectives had not previously released information about the man’s clothing.
Additionally Thursday, Tacoma police for the first time revealed a description of a car seen leaving the bowling alley that night, a maroon, or dark-colored Pontiac Grand Am, perhaps a late 1980s, or early 1990s model leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed.
Detective Julie Dier said investigators remain motivated to solve the 1999 case.
”The fact that it was a small child, that’s always going to keep someone motivated,” said Dier.
Dier said it’s possible Teekah is still alive, and may have been too young to remember that she was abducted.
That gives mother Theresa Czapiewski hope.
“That’s one thing I will not do, is give up on Teekah,” said Czapiewski, “Maybe she'll look and see, 'Wow. That girl looks like me.'”
Anyone with information about the case can leave anonymous tips at the Tacoma Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.