- A Chicago mother is still searching for her missing pregnant daughter after three years.
- Kierra Coles, a U.S postal worker, was last seen in October 2018.
- The Chicago Police Department is investigating her disappearance.
Karen Phillips never stops thinking about her missing pregnant daughter who vanished three years ago in Chicago, Illinois. She couldn’t if she tried.
“I got her pictures in my car, on my key chain, in my bedroom, all over the house. Anywhere I turn, I see her face,” Phillips told Insider. “I still have all her belongings that I moved out of her house.”
Most nights she’s afraid to sleep because thinking about her missing daughter Kierra Coles is a “reoccurring nightmare.”
“First it was, I didn’t see my daughter in two weeks. Then it was six months. Then it was a year. Now I’m at three years,” she added. “I have to set my mind as if I just saw her yesterday for me to be okay throughout the day. I have to believe she’s alive.”
Coles was three months pregnant when she went missing on October 2, 2018, local news reported.
The two had a close relationship, and although Coles moved out of her mother’s home about three months before she went missing, the two would still talk daily. It was strange for Phillips, a mother of four daughters, to not hear from Coles for 24 hours.
In the first few months of her daughter’s disappearance, Phillips said she could not “eat for about two months…because my stomach was in a knot.”
“I lost weight and couldn’t work,” she said. “I was scared the police were going to come, knock on my door and say, ‘can you come identify?’ I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
As each year passed, Phillips celebrated her Coles’ birthday on September 24. This year for her 29th, close friends and family gathered for the occasion, she said.
ABC News reported that the Chicago Police Department has been working on the case, calling it “a high-risk missing person investigation with potential foul play suspected.”
The United States Postal Inspection Service has been creating flyers and joined in on the investigation, the agency told the outlet.
Phillips said that she wishes the resources and effort from police and the media put into other cases like Gabby Petito’s was also put into locating her daughter.
Petito, a 22-year-old white woman, disappeared after a cross-country road trip with her fiance Brian Laundrie. Last week, a Wyoming coroner determined that her death was a result of manual strangulation. Petito’s story made national headlines, and experts cited “Missing White Woman Syndrome” and the disparities in media coverage for people of color, for why women like Coles don’t get the same attention.
“When [women of color] go missing: the world, the country, does not get alarmed and does not get concerned,” Dr. Kaye Wise Whitehead, associate professor of Communications and African American Studies at Loyola University Maryland, previously told Insider.
Other families of missing people of color, like Miya Marcano and Jelani Day, have also echoed similar sentiments as Phillips. During a press conference last month, Petito’s father said: “I want to ask everyone to help all of the people that are missing and need help.”
Phillips pointed to the irony that her daughter studied radio broadcasting and had dreams of being on the big screen one day.
“She graduated [and] she kept saying I want to act, I want a model and I’m going be on TV,” Phillips told Insider. “She wasn’t going to stop until she did that, which I believe that would’ve happened next.”
“But this is not what she meant when she said she wanted to be on TV,” Phillips said.