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After Thirteen Years, The Search For Jaquilla Scales Continues

Thirteen years ago today, JaquillaScales, a 4-year-old African-American girl, vanished from her Wichita home. No new leads have surfaced, but Jaquilla’s mother still hopes her teenager will be found. KMUW’s Carla Eckels reports…

On September 5, 2001, Jaquilla Scales disappeared from her home on north Volutsia. The 4-year-old was last seen wearing a knee length nightshirt; she was asleep, after midnight, with her great-grandmother and little brother. Her mother, Eureka Scales returned home to find no signs of Jaquilla.

"It’s weird because there's was no evidence, no fingerprints, nothing," says Scales. "It's like she just vanished and I don’t understand."

Even though the case has been open for 13 years, Eureka says she would like to see more investigative work by the FBI and Wichita Police.

"The last time I heard from the police officer,  it was a detective in 2012," she says. "He came out for a DNA test and I asked him why they needed a DNA test and I asked 'did y'all find her?' And he didn’t want to give me any hope."

Robert Lowery with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says biometric information is collected on all children who’ve been missing a long time to help with identification.

"Fingerprints, any scars, marks, tattoos, dental work, dental coding is extremely helpful," says Lowery. "Keep in mind, for a worse case scenario but also that we have a 4-year-old child here. If she’s been with somebody for an extended period of time, she may not even remember who she is -- so all this can help us in the event we find Jaquilla."

Eureka hopes social media and other tools will also help with Jaquilla’s safe return. She has yet to be able to offer a reward for her missing 17-year-old.

Originally aired on Morning Edition on 09/05/14

Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.