Stories about people who disappear in broad daylight are those that disturb me the most. It seems unfathomable that a person can be walking down the street one moment and then unaccounted for the next, but unfortunately that is a frightening reality that occurs from coast to coast.
It was just two days before Thanksgiving 2014 and 18-year-old Aaliyah Shadeay Bell was visiting her uncle’s home in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She was seen in the area walking down Chestnut Street, but that is the last known information that anyone has about Aaliyah’s whereabouts. Family, nor friends, have heard from her since that day.
Authorities initially thought that she could have run away or been somewhere with friends, but she left behind all of her belongings including her cell phone, wallet, and clothing. That same day one of her family members wired her $100 so that she could go shopping, but that money was never retrieved. Also, Aaliyah’s family stated that the high school teenager was always active on her social media accounts, none of which have seen any movement since her disappearance.
It was confirmed that on the day that she vanished, Aaliyah attended school at Phoenix Academy. It’s an institution that works on an unconventional schedule where students can take online courses in addition to in-class instruction two days out of the week.
“Whether she’s 18 or not, this is not her normal thing to do, to stay away from family this long. Something is keeping her from home,” said family friend Chandra Cleveland-Jennings. “We are a little frustrated. As far as we know, there have been spottings of her at a motel.”
Investigators hit the streets looking for any sightings of Aaliyah Bell, and calls came in from the public that, as the family friend stated, the teen was living or visiting a motel. Police said that Aaliyah could be in Fayetteville, North Carolina or Atlanta, Georgia. Could she have become a kidnapping victim and forced into sex trafficking and prostitution?
Four years later and Aaliyah’s family is no less closer to identifying what happened to the girl with dreams of one day becoming a hairstylist. In an effort to help Aaliyah’s frustrated yet worried family, representatives from local chapters of the NAACP met with the teen’s loved ones.
“They came in to make sure everything was handled correctly, and they are using their resources to get out that she’s still missing,” Cleveland-Jennings said.
It is the opinion of Aaliyah’s family that she is alive and being held against her will.
Aaliyah was last seen wearing gray leggings or jogging pants and a black peacoat with neon blue and green shoes. She stands 5’6″ tall and 145 pounds. When she disappeared, Aaliyah had shoulder-length black hair. Her eyes are brown. She has star tattoos on her left abdomen and has a lip piercing.
Anyone with information regarding Aaliyah Shaneay Bell’s case is urged to contact the Rock Hill Police Department at 803-329-7200. No bit of information is insignificant.
Share this story about Aaliyah’s disappearance to continue the conversation about her disappearance. She is our sister and her life matters.