For decades there have been unanswered questions about the disappearance of 15-year-old Tonyette Carlisle. It was an average school day on March 16, 1989, in Chattanooga, Tennessee when Tonetta was making her way home at approximately 2:55 p.m. She was close to her home over on Hamilton Avenue when a witness watched in horror as Tonetta Carlisle was kidnapped off of the street.
A woman, who was about a half of a block away from Tonetta’s home, told police that she looked upwards towards the hill on the road and saw Tonetta Carlisle walking down the street. Then, a tan and yellow vehicle approached and the witness said that there were a number of people who jumped out of the vehicle. grabbed Tonetta, and threw her in the van before driving off. The woman and her husband chased down the car, a vehicle with a Tennessee license plate number reading LKH 920, and then called the authorities for help.
Meanwhile, Tonetta’s worried mother, Nonie Sturdivant, waited for her daughter to return home from school. Nonie quickly reported her daughter as missing, but the police didn’t initially connect the two cases. When investigators ran the license plate number through their system, it was traced back to a man named Jeffrey Jones. Police believed they were on the right track when they learned that Jones had served eight years in prison after he was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and rape. He had only been out of prison for approximately a year before the Toletta Carlisle kidnapping occurred and was reportedly tied to the rape of a woman two months prior.
While Jeffrey Jones was a promising lead, he would dig an even deeper hole into the mystery of the disappearance of Tonetta Carlisle. On March 18, 1989, just days after Tonetta was kidnapped, police located Jones’s van and found the suspect inside. He’d committed suicide by way of carbon monoxide poisoning.
” I think Tonetta put up a fight and I believe he accidentally hurt my baby. And I believe she’s buried somewhere and that’s the very reason he went on and killed himself,” Tonetta’s mother told reporters in 2013. “I wish someone had the courage to come [forward]… you know the information about my daughter, cause somebody right here in Chattanooga knows something about my daughter.”
Tonetta has never been located and authorities stated that there were rumors that she was kidnapped and forced into prostitution in California.
In 2019, Nonie and Tonetta’s brother, Darrell Stewart, learned that the teen’s case was being reopened by the District Attorney’s office. “You see stuff like this in movies and you hear about it, you don’t think it will hit home,” said Darrell. “We really want to encourage everyone through our little sister, with school starting, to be careful. The parents, network with each other try not to have your child walking by herself.”
At the time of her disappearance, Tonetta Carlisle was a petite teen who stood 5 feet 1 inch and was 95 pounds. She had black/dark brown hair—curly, shorter on the top and sides while long in the back—and brown eyes that are described as being almond-shaped. Tonetta was last seen wearing a pink blouse with white stripes, a denim skirt, and white shoes. She didn’t wear glasses and it is unknown if she was wearing any jewelry.
Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact the Chattanooga Police Department at (423) 643-5000 or their local authorities.
Please share this story about Tonetta Carlisle to help bring her family closure. She is our sister and her life matters.
Lelisia Slade Was Drug-Addicted When She Vanished In 1988
The 25-year-old had turned to prostitution to support her habit.
Many of the cases that date back decades often have only fragmented bits of information. Take for example Lelisia Slade who went missing in June 1988, but the exact date is unknown. She was reportedly last seen near Lipscomb and Horne Street in Melbourne, Florida, but no one has had contact with the 25-year-old mother since. (more…)
Aneshia Harris, 19, Skipped School & Vanished In 1993
Joyce Dupont, 25, Vanished After Asking Her Sister To Babysit In 1994
Quahziah Bouie, 15: Police Fear She May Be Victim Of Sex Trafficking
Shapammala Buckner Vanished After Arguing With Her Boyfriend In 2017
Marialice Clark, 14, Vanished In 1972 Under Strange Circumstances
Julii Johnson Was Killed In A Murder-For-Hire Plot By Boyfriend’s Ex-Girlfriend 
Tyarra Williams, 19, Was In Her Apartment Complex When She Vanished In 2016
Bridget Shiel Killed Running From Murderer, DNA Yields Suspect
Jackie Neal, Blues Singer, Was Killed By Her Ex-Boyfriend In 2005
Tynisha Ysais Killed By Rapper Roommate Who Ate Parts Of Her Body Raw
- Aneshia Harris, 19, Skipped School & Vanished In 1993
- Joyce Dupont, 25, Vanished After Asking Her Sister To Babysit In 1994
- Quahziah Bouie, 15: Police Fear She May Be Victim Of Sex Trafficking
- Shapammala Buckner Vanished After Arguing With Her Boyfriend In 2017
- Marialice Clark, 14, Vanished In 1972 Under Strange Circumstances
2010s2 months ago
Jurayah Smith: Stepmother Convicted Of Capital Murder For Child’s Death
2020s2 months ago
Ruth Louie, 82, Went On Walk & Was Last Seen Getting Into Car In OK
2010s2 months ago
Alexis Murphy: Teen’s Remains Located 7 Years After She Went Missing
2020s2 months ago
Cynthia Bah-Traore Last Seen At A Texas Gas Station In February 2021