WEST ENGLEWOOD — Family and friends joined Latrecia Lockhart Wednesday as they searched the West Englewood neighborhood for her daughter, Taylor “Tay Tay” Lockhart, 13, who has been missing since July 31.
The canvassing group searched alleys, empty and abandoned buildings and knocked on doors to pass out fliers in the area Taylor was seen last. The group started its search near 73rd Street and Damen Avenue and was working its way toward 55th and Winchester Street.
“I have got to find her. I know she is out there somewhere hoping she is found,” Lockhart told DNAinfo Chicago. “I think about her all the time. Wondering if she is safe. Wondering if she is eating right and wondering if she is being taken advantage of by some stranger.”
Described as soft spoken by family and friends, Taylor attended Clissold Elementary School, is black, stands 5-feet-6 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. According to Chicago police, she was last seen with hair in a ponytail and was wearing a pink and yellow shirt, black yoga pants and white, purple and black Air Jordan gym shoes.
“We went over my girlfriend’s house [7300 block of South Damen Avenue] and Taylor was playing with my friend’s daughter and neighbors. My friend and I were sitting on the porch when I realized Taylor was missing,” Lockhart said. “I went inside to see where she was and could not find out. The other kids said she was inside using the bathroom, but as I searched the house I found the back door unlocked and opened. That’s when I knew something was wrong.”
Lockhart, a single mother, is optimistic Taylor is safe.
“I know she does not have any ‘street smarts’ so that concerns me. But I am hopeful that God is keeping her safe and returns her to me soon,” she said. "We plan to continue looking for her until she is found, and we welcome any help from the public.”
Chicago police have no leads in the case. Morrison Investigation, a private firm in Chicago, is assisting the family in the search, Lockhart said.
“At this point I do not know if Taylor left on her own or was abducted,” she said. “Her dad is in prison [and has not been in her life for years], although he had recently started writing her letters and she seemed to enjoy that. I have no reason to think anyone would want to kidnap her.”
Lockhart said Taylor ran away from home in April but returned two days later.
If Taylor, whose 13th birthday was Oct. 22, is unsure whether to return home, Lockhart has a message for her.
“She can come home without worrying about being punished or judged. I want her to know that Momma loves her and just wants her back home safe,” she said.
Latrecia is asking anyone with information about Taylor to call (800) 883-5587 or Chicago police.