A 25-year-old Texas woman claims that she is the toddler who went missing in Chicago more than two decades ago.
Diamond and Tionda Bradley, then aged three and ten, went missing from their mother Tracey’s apartment on Chicago’s South Side on July 6, 2001.
Tracey discovered her children were gone when she returned home from work late in the morning to find a hand-written note left by Tionda.
The missive claimed that she and Diamond had headed to a nearby store and local playground, but the girls never returned home.
Family members think that Tionda wrote the note under the guidance of their kidnapper, as the spelling and grammar were too advanced to be written by the then ten-year-old.
They also believe that Tionda would have called her mom, rather than leaving a letter.
“The person who took the girls was right there beside her – telling her exactly what to write,” the children’s great-aunt Sheliah Bradley Smith told Dateline in 2021. “She was being coached.”
The city launched what may have been their largest missing person’s search in history, and coordinated with the FBI on a national level to find Tionda and Diamond.
Both investigations were unsuccessful, and the family is “still in limbo” waiting for news about the missing girls twenty-two years later.
“Nobody has said anything. Nobody has been arrested. Nothing. But the girls are still gone,” said Bradley-Smith, who maintains the social media channels and websites dedicated to their return.
“It’s hard to think of those girls as adults,” she remarked. “But that’s who we’re looking for now. We’re not looking for children. We’re looking for adults – or remains.”
Tionda and Diamond were part of Chicago mural artist Damon Lamar Reed’s “Still Searching” project, which is dedicated to keeping the memory and search alive for missing black women.
Reed launched the project to highlight the unsolved 1984 murders of his aunt and two female cousins, in an effort to raise public interest in missing women who often go forgotten.
His original 2021 “Still Searching” exhibit featured 17 women and girls, in addition to Tionda and Diamond.
“This isn’t going to be it. We’re going to keep it going,” Reed said. “As long as there are people missing, there will be work to do, and I do my part.”
He has since made good on his promise and received a grant from the City of Chicago to paint missing women’s portraits on the sides of buildings in the neighborhoods they went missing from.
The murals feature information on the missing women and contact information for the law enforcement authorities in charge of their investigations.
Last week, the Bradley’s may have gotten a break their cold case, when a 25-year-old Texas woman claimed to be Diamond.
In a social media video, the woman shows a scar on her forehead that she claims identifies her as Diamond.
Bradley-Smith said that FBI agents have taken DNA samples from the woman, but she’s not getting her hopes up.
“We’ve had about 12 – but easily dismissible,” she told CBS News.
Though she noted that the woman’s willingness to speak with authorities is a positive sign.
“I’m never known or experienced somebody so eager to tear down the doors of the FBI to prove who they are. So that gives me a different dynamic of hope,” Smith said.
“All I can do is hope it is her.””I’m waiting to find out the truth about Diamond Bradley…” Reed posted over the weekend.