Home » Vinyette Teague, 18 Months: Vanished From Apt Hallway In 1983
It is always disheartening to learn of children who, at the time that they went missing, received little coverage. Stories such as these are proof that within the media, the plights of Black families facing the most traumatic experiences of their lives are often overlooked. We’re nearly two weeks away from a somber anniversary that marks 39 years since 18-month-old Vinyette Teague vanished from an apartment hallway on the South Side of Chicago. At the time, the case didn’t receive the attention it deserved; however, in the decades that have followed, the mystery of what happened to this baby girl has puzzled the inquisitive.
It was on June 25, 1983, when Kathy and her husband finally had a night out. The pair decided to have a date night at a local drive-in movie theater and they asked their relatives at home to care for little Vinyette during their absence. The family, which included Vinyette’s three brothers, lived at the Robert Taylor Homes and according to reports, while Kathy and her husband were away, their babysitting relatives were entering and exiting the apartment. They were spending time in and out of the apartment’s hallways and all seemed normal.
Then, Kathy’s mother, who also lived in the building but was at the apartment with Vinyette, received a phone call so she went inside of their apartment for a bit of privacy, reportedly leaving the little girl with a neighbor for but a moment. The neighbor was holding Vinyette but had to go back to their home to do the dishes, so the neighbor placed the child in the hallway, right near the family’s front door, before making their way back to their home. It was just a few minutes, but that was all it took for Vinyette Teague to disappear.
The Doe Network reported that there were nearly 50 people going in and out of the housing projects’ breezeway that evening. They included neighbors and Vinyette’s cousins, brothers, and other relatives.
When Kathy returned from the movies, she saw several police cars that had already responded to the scene. She instinctively knew that something had happened to Vinyette.
“I started running to the seventh floor and when I opened the door, I saw my mother and my mother-in-law…and that’s when I knew my baby was missing. I came back out of the door and just went floor to floor, door to door, searching for my baby,” Kathy told the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children back in 2020. “We don’t know from that day to this day if someone was walking up the stairs or going down, just saw a pretty baby…and just wanted her.”
“It’s hard to describe, because as the years go by, it gets numb and numb and numb and numb. You say to yourself, ‘If I break down and I cry, if I go crazy and don’t know what’s going on, who’s going to fight for my child? Who’s going to be their voice?’”
Authorities reportedly believe that a non-custodial family member abducted Vinyette. Authorities, Vinyette’s family, and neighbors searched the housing complex one floor at a time questioning people about the little girl. She has never been seen again.
At the time of her disappearance, Vinyette Teague stood 2 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 27 pounds. She had black/dark brown hair and brown eyes. Her dental records and fingerprints are not on file, but her DNA is available. She was last seen wearing brown and yellow pants and a multi-colored top. Vinyette would be 40-years-old at the time of this publication.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the Chicago Police Department, Area One – Youth Headquarters at (312) 747-5789, or the Federal Bureau of Investigation at (312) 431-1333. The agency case number is M10A8906.
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