Home » Tiahease Jackson, 11: May Have Fallen Victim To Serial Killer In 1983
She was only been 11-years-old, but Tiahease Jackson was described as a street-smart kid. She had been taught not to trust strangers and was well aware that there may be predators in her Staten Island neighborhood. In the late summer of 1983, Tiahease and her family—which included her mother, Gwendolyn Jackson, and three siblings—were living temporarily at the Mariners Harbor Motel on Forest Avenue. They had been displaced after a fire burned them out of their apartment, and the motel would become one of the last places that Tiahease Jackson was seen.
On August 14, 1983, Gwendolyn was reportedly taking a nap around 1:30 p.m. when another resident of the motel asked Tiahease, pronounced “Ty-eese”, to go to a local market to get them a pack of chicken wings. As her mother slept, the young girl went to the Crown Supermarket in the 900 block of Richmond Avenue and was reportedly last seen inside of the store. This wasn’t anything unusual for Tiahease Jackson, as she often ran errands in the city, sometimes with her sister or her sister’s friend. However, what happened to the 11-year-old remains a mystery because she never returned to the motel.
When her mother awoke at 4:30 p.m. and saw that Tiahease was not home, she immediately began searching for her daughter. Aside from the obvious worries about a child gone missing, Tiahease’s medical issues were also concerning. She was diagnosed with Brights Disease, or Glomerulonephritis, which is a kidney disorder that requires medication. She also had asthma, high blood pressure, and diabetes, all being treated medically, as well as learning disabilities.
Unsurprisingly, investigators questioned Tiahease’s family members and reportedly gave her mother and her uncle polygraph tests. Both passed and were cleared of wrongdoing early on in the search. There was a man whose name came up during the investigation, Andre Rand, and it was speculated that he may have had something to do with the disappearance of Tiahease Jackson.
If Rand’s name sounds familiar, it is because his name has been mentioned in several documentaries, including the famed 2009 film, Cropsey. Rand was convicted of the 1987 kidnapping and murder of Jennifer Schweiger, a 12-year-old girl with Downs Syndrome who went out for a walk and never returned home. He was also convicted of the 1981 abduction of seven-year-old Holly Ann Hughes who disappeared during her trip to the store to purchase soap for her mother.
Rand, real name Frank Rushan, reportedly lived in a makeshift campsite less than a half-mile from the motel where Tiahease and her family were staying, and the child’s mother told investigators that she saw a man matching his description often hanging out the motel’s parking lot in a van.
He is considered a suspect in several other cases, as well: Alice Pereira, 5 (1972); developmentally disabled Hank Gafforio, 22 (1984); Audrey Nerenberg, 18 (1977), Ethel Atwell, 47 (1978), and many others. Authorities lack evidence to try Rand on other cases they believe he is responsible for. The suspected serial killer will be eligible for parole in 2037 at 93-years-old.
Gwendolyn Jackson eventually relocated to her native Georgia with her remaining children. It is reported that in 2008, 25 years after Tiahease went missing, Gwendolyn passed away without learning what happened to her daughter.
At the time of her disappearance, Tiahease Jackson stood 4 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 90 pounds. She had black/dark brown hair and brown eyes. Tiahease has a lazy left eye that turns inward, a mole on her left cheek, and a scar on her left wrist that was caused by a burn. She was last seen wearing a white sweater or blouse, a dark blue ski jacket with white trim, blue jeans, blue plastic mesh shoes, a silver bangle bracelet on her left wrist, two purple combs in her hair, and a yellow metal necklace with a butterfly. Her middle name is “Tiawanna.” Tiahease would be 48-years-old at the time of this publication.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the New York City Police Department – Missing Persons Squad at (212) 694-7781 or their local authorities. The agency case number is KNMP00347.
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