Home » Karena McClerkin, 18: Attended A Party & Vanished In 2016
One look at the Justice for Karena McClerkin and Bring Karena McClerkin Home Facebook pages will break your heart. The last time anyone heard from the 18-year-old was back on October 11, 2016, in Kokomo, Indiana, when she reportedly told her grandmother, Gerry McClerkin, that she had plans to attend a party. Karena said she was meeting up with a boy and then they would make their way to the event together, but sometime during the evening, she vanished without a trace.
“The last thing my granddaughter said to me – she held my hand and said, ‘I’ll be alright grandma, I’ll be alright,'” Gerry said. WRTV did a follow-up report on this case in 2019 on the anniversary of Karena’s disappearance, stating that the teen left the party she said she was going to then walked to a nearby BP gas station. It was there that Karena was captured by surveillance cameras before witnesses claimed that they saw her get into a vehicle in an alley. The car and who Karena may have been with is unknown.
This is a case that continues to plague Karena’s family and investigators. It is stated that several leads have been followed yet still, what happened to Karena McClerkin remains a mystery. However, Gerry believes that her daughter is no longer alive. The stories that she has heard about what could have happened to Karena over the years are stomach-turning, from the teen being buried in a sack to being disposed of in a waterway. In 2018, there were even private investigators who agreed to tackle the case free of charge.
They were unsuccessful.
James McClerkin, Karena’s father, dedicated his life to finding his missing daughter early on. He reportedly lost jobs and had to move out of town in order to afford the ability to care for his other kids.
“You want somebody to listen to you … nobody’s listening,” Gerry said last year. “It’s just frustrating not to have any answers for an 18-year-old. She was a beautiful girl. It’s been four years. Four years too long. Every minute is a nightmare.” In a separate interview with reporters, Gerry stated, “There doesn’t have to be an arrest. All that has to happen is that Karena be brought back, dead or alive. We don’t care who done it, we just want her back.”
Karena MCClerkin reportedly had a history of substance abuse and around the time she went missing, she’d discussed checking herself into a rehabilitation center in Florida. Karena reportedly had even filed the paperwork.
In 2017, Gerry sat down with Dateline and detailed her granddaughter’s social life. “I told her to not go down that path. That there were other, bigger things she could do with her life,” she said, admitting that Karena struggled with addiction to multiple substances. “She had her whole life ahead of her.”
“It’s just a horrible mess, and the things you hear just make you sick,” Gerry said. “I didn’t want to believe she was dead. It took me a while to accept that idea… Because of her race and age and the situation, no one seems to care. None of it means that she isn’t important. Every person is important and that includes my granddaughter.”
However, Kokomo police have stated that they are actively exhausting all leads.
At the time of her disappearance, Karena McClerkin stood 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 130 to 135 pounds. She is described as biracial (Black and White) with red/auburn hair and brown eyes. Both of her ears are pierced, she wears glasses (prescription), and has two tattoos: a round symbol on the inside of her right forearm and “RIP” with angel wings on the upper area of her right arm. Karena goes by the nickname “Ree” and some reports spell her name “KaRena” or “Ka’Rena.” She was last seen wearing a black midriff shirt, a gray sweatshirt with a hood, ripped jeans, and brown sandals. She would be 22-years-old at the time of this publication.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the Kokomo Police at 765-456-7017, Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477, or their local authorities. The agency case number is 2016-06924.
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