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Candlelight vigil held for toddler who disappeared from Tacoma bowling alley 24 years ago

Teekah Lewis was two years old when she vanished from New Frontier Lanes bowling alley in Tacoma on Jan. 23, 1999.

TACOMA, Wash. — Editor's note: The video above was originally published on Dec. 1, 2022. 

The family of a missing toddler who disappeared 24 years ago from a Tacoma bowling alley held a candlelight vigil Monday night at the Tacoma Police Headquarters in the hopes that new information will surface. 

Teekah Lewis was 2 years old when she vanished from New Frontier Lanes bowling alley in Tacoma on Jan. 23, 1999.

"I'm asking the community to please come forward with any information you have on Teekah, it could be the littlest thing, it could be your neighbor that looks like Teekah, you never know," said the girl's mother, Theresa Czapiewski. 

Theresa Czapiewski, has held candlelight vigils for Lewis every year since her disappearance. She said each year she holds out hope that Lewis will show up at the vigil.  

Czapiewski said it's the first time since Teekah disappeared that law enforcement officials and the Tacoma mayor came to the vigil. 

New details released in December 2022 and an updated age-progression photo showing what Lewis might look like nearly 24 years later renewed Czapiewski’s hopes.

Czapiewski 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,” Czapiewski said in December. 

Teekah's sister, Katarina Johnson, also spoke at the vigil and said she was hoping someone could bring their family some answers. 

"It's been 24 years, 24 years too long honestly," Johnson said. "Even if you think it's the smallest little thing, anything helps, any tips. We just want her home, we want closure honestly, whatever it is, good or bad, we just want that, our family deserves it. Our grandma left this earth not knowing what happened to one of her grandchildren which is the saddest thing." 

Credit: Tacoma Police Department
New age-progression photo of Teekah Lewis shows what she would look like at age 26.

Lewis was described by her sisters as a “mature” toddler, but someone who never left her mother’s side.

In 2020, detectives said they were looking for a person of interest who was seen near Lewis 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.

In December, Tacoma police 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,” Dier said.

Dier said it’s possible Lewis is still alive and may have been too young to remember that she was abducted.

Detectives and family members hope that someone seeing the photos of Lewis will remember something from the day of the incident or recognize one of the age-progression photos.

“That’s one thing I will not do is give up on Teekah,” Czapiewski said in December. “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.

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