June 14, 2022
On the afternoon of May 1st, 2022, twenty-three-year-old TiJae Baker left her home in Brooklyn and never returned.
TiJae lives at 245 Wortman Avenue in Brooklyn, New York and left her home at approximately 3:36pm wearing a black sweater, gray shorts, and a white top. She was headed for the bus station, where she was scheduled to catch a bus to Washington D.C.- a bus, reports state, that she boarded in Brooklyn, getting off at Union Station before vanishing into thin air.
TiJae was an art major completing her final semester at the time she went missing. She had recently done a popup shop of her artwork which she posted regularly on her Instagram account and was traveling to Washington D.C. after connecting with a woman online. This woman, who remains unnamed in the media, talked with TiJae, an aspiring artist, regarding a job opportunity involving poster design. Although it was only supposed to be a weekend job offer, TiJae failed to return.
The journey from TiJae’s home on Wortman Avenue to Union Station in D.C is over 230 miles via I-95 South and would have taken over five hours by bus.
TiJae did not contact her family on arrival. This was completely out of character for the twenty-three-year-old who called or at least texted her mother, whom she lived with, every day. According to online articles, the missing girl’s phone was switched off soon after she left the Brooklyn area and she did not contact any friends or family after leaving her hometown.
Then, out of the blue on June 1, 2022, one month after her disappearance, Toquanna Baker, the missing girl’s mother, received a phone call. It was her daughter, TiJae, asking for Toquanna to come and rescue her in a scared whisper. Surveillance footage provided to media outlets by Toquanna Baker shows TiJae calling her home from a nail salon in Maryland.
The family quickly made their way to Maryland, but could not locate TiJae. She was gone by the time they got there.
According to TiJae’s family, when they reported her missing to police TiJae’s photograph and details were accidentally put on a “Wanted” poster, as opposed to a “Missing” poster.
They decided to make their own missing fliers and hand them out in the area as well as in and around Washington D.C.
New York City Council members said of the situation: “On the missing persons bill, they don’t register Black people as quickly as they do white people, so when a white person’s missing, the whole world stops. When Black people are missing, ‘Oh, she’ll be calling back. Or she might be a partying.”
So far there have been no significant tips as a result of the canvassing but Toquanna vows to keep handing out posters and travelling to Maryland, where she has been searching abandoned buildings and other areas she believes TiJae could be.
“For somebody to lure my daughter into another state. I have to deal with this, and this is going to affect my daughter’s life forever.”
The distraught mother, who admitted she has barely slept over the last month, organized a rally in New York earlier this week, however, voiced that she intended to travel back to Washington to continue searching for TiJae, saying: “After this rally, I’m going right back out there, because I’m going to find my daughter.”
Toquanna believes that she has identified the woman TiJae talked with and was supposed to meet, and said she believes her daughter may have gotten involved in a cult or human trafficking situation, although the reasons behind this suspicion have not yet been expanded upon.
According to the Polaris Project, it is a myth that human trafficking usually involves kidnapping or physically forcing a victim into a situation. The organisation states that most traffickers trick or manipulate victims into their control. There has been a rise in traffickers coercing victims via social media after the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Polaris states: “The internet has dramatically reshaped how we buy and sell everything – including each other. Social media has been used by traffickers to recruit victims, to proliferate their trafficking operations, and to control victims through restricting their social media access, impersonating the victim, or spreading lies and rumors online.”
TiJae posted her artwork to her Instagram account it is suggested that the unnamed woman she was purportedly meeting with may have reached to her to recruit her for a weekend art job via Instagram direct messages.
TiJae is described as 5'7", 130 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to contact the New York Police Department at 800-577-TIPS.
Her mother stated that she had no mental health issues, had never went missing for any period of time before and was in good health.
The poster can be viewed HERE<<
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