A young woman from Brooklyn, in her final semester in college, has been missing for over a month and the family is asking for support in locating her. Relatives believe, after hearing a cryptic call with the 23-year-old asking to be rescued that she has been brought into a cult or is being trafficked.
According to her mother, Toquanna Baker, Tijae Baker has been missing since Sunday, May 1, after she took a bus for a weekend art job in Washington D.C., with a woman she met online.
The woman is said to have hired the GenY-er to design posters for her.
An art major in college, Tijae was allegedly hired to do the project after posting her work on her Instagram profile. However, the mother says the young person stopped communicating with them after getting on the road, which is unusual as the young woman typically texts or calls people as a habit. Calls to Tijae have not been answered and all but one call from the person has been made.
On Wednesday, June 1, Tijae called home from a nail salon and spoke to her grandmother, begging to be rescued, ABC7 reports.
Roxanne Baker, who says her granddaughter seemed to whisper in fear during the call, said, “She said just tell her mother to come get her – now.”
The family went to Maryland to find her, but was unsuccessful. The salon gave the Bakers surveillance video showing Tijae was indeed in their place of business.
Toquanna has enlisted public officials and community activists, New York City Council members Charles Barron and Darlene Mealy to drum up support and draw attention to the missing young woman.
“We believe more needs to be done,” Barron said.
Mealy said, “We are asking for justice to make sure Ms. Baker comes home.”
“My baby is out there, and traumatized and scared,” Toquanna Baker said to CBS News.
She further said she has not been able to sleep well.
Toquanna lamented, “For somebody to lure my daughter into another state. I have to deal with this, and this is going to affect my daughter’s life forever.”
According to Crime Stoppers’ Missing Person’s report, Tijae is 5’7″, 130 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Following numerous police reports, the first response from the local agency was a police flier with Tijae on a wanted poster, not a missing person’s poster. Even those alerts, after weeks, did not receive much traction.
Toquanna said she is not waiting on them to find their daughter, saying she will be canvasing the Washington area herself. “I’m going back out there. I’m going to find my daughter.”
“I’m going through abandoned buildings, walking through alleyways,” the frightened mother said.
“We want someone to look at these cameras and get to the bottom of where she went,” said Mealy.
“On the missing persons bill, they don’t register Black people as quickly as they do white people, so when a white person’s missing, the whole world stops,” she continued. “When Black people are missing, ‘Oh, she’ll be calling back. Or she might be a partying.’”
According to the National Crime Information Center, 268,884 girls and women were reported missing in 2020, and of that number approximately one-third identified as Black. This number is staggering as the 2020 Census has noted that, “Black girls and women account for only about 15% of the U.S. female population.”
Any leads or information regarding Tijae’s whereabouts can be sent to the New York Police Department at 212-694-7781, 877-97-BAMFI, or BAMFI.org.