2001: Relatives and police officers grow frustrated with fruitless search for Jaquilla Scales

09/03/2011 1:27 PM

09/03/2011 1:32 PM

Editor's note: Story originally published on Oct. 5, 2001

It was one month ago today that 4-year-old Jaquilla Scales last slept in her bed in a small pink house on Volutsia Avenue.

She vanished that night while her family slept around her. She hasn't been seen since.

As each day passes with no sign of the girl, the frustration grows for relatives and police.

"You think about it at least a little every day," said Wink Adkins, the girl's uncle. "Nobody knows where she is. It's frustrating."

Police feel the same way.

What started a month ago as an immense search by more than 50 law officers and dozens of private citizens has been scaled back to a couple of detectives chasing what few tips are coming in.

Five 3-inch binders are filled with investigative documents relating to the more than 100 tips they have received, Lt. Gary Tabor said. Between 150 and 200 people have been contacted. Leads were checked out as far away as California and Ohio.

A short segment on the case aired on the Fox television show "America's Most Wanted" last month but brought in only a handful of leads.

"We're frustrated, and I'm sure the family is, too," Tabor said.

Jaquilla's disappearance is still classified as a missing persons case, which means police have no evidence of foul play. They haven't ruled out the possibility that she simply wandered away.

Family members consider that theory unlikely, saying if she had gone anywhere it would have been next door to her grandmother's house.

They think someone entered through an unlocked back door and took the girl. They also are finding it harder and harder to believe she will be found alive.

"I keep praying and hoping," said Lisa Scales, Jaquilla's great-aunt. "I just keep thinking about how someone came in and took my niece's baby."

Scales is also worried that with everyone's attention focused on last month's terrorist attacks, Wichitans no longer have Jaquilla on their minds.

Police said that although the number of leads has dwindled, Jaquilla hasn't been forgotten.

As recently as Wednesday, detectives were on 53rd Street North investigating what a person reported as a suspicious sleeping bag. Police were summoned, but it was empty and did not belong to Jaquilla.

"We just need for people to be aware the girl is still missing," Tabor said.

Anybody with information about the disappearance can reach police at 268-4181, 268-4646 or 911.

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