Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mother anxiously waits for news of missing daughter

Mother anxiously waits for news of missing daughter

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Monday May 19,2008
By Denise Hollinshed

ST. LOUIS — Tracey Allen-Williams has left her daughter's bedroom untouched for 14 months, hoping that Kelly L. Allen will one day return to use it.

The room contains reminders of things important to Allen — a cluster of photographs of the rapper Lil Wayne on the wall and some Bible Scripture on a poster above her bed — and the things of everyday life, a duffel bag stuffed with some of Allen's clothes.

"This is a good child," Williams, 43, said of the second of her three children. "She never caused me any problems. She was responsible.

"For her to come up missing and nobody knows nothing, it's kind of scary, but we are standing on faith and God to bring us through."

Allen, who would be 21 now, was last seen on March 13, 2007, when she was spending the night at the apartment of a girlfriend in the 8600 block of Frost Avenue in Berkeley.

Williams, who lives on Salisbury Street north of downtown, said she last spoke with her daughter a few days earlier.

Family members have circulated fliers in St. Louis and Berkeley, and her story was featured on "America's Most Wanted" on television. The family hired a private investigator for $1,500 who turned up nothing.

Police believe foul play may be connected to Allen's disappearance. An income tax refund check for more than $2,000 has not been cashed and she left behind all her belongings.

Allen, who attended Lafayette High School, had a job interview just before her disappearance.

St. Louis Police Detective Jerry Griffin, who is handling the investigation, says police have few clues.

But two weeks ago, an anonymous phone call to Berkeley City Hall said that Allen's body had been buried in a backyard in Berkeley.

Griffin said the yard was searched, and that a bone — possibly human — was found. It is being tested.

After Williams was told that her daughter had not returned to the Berkeley apartment, she waited two days to report the disappearance to Berkeley police. She later filed a missing person report with St. Louis police.

Griffin said that the time lag has hurt the investigation. He said police were not able to properly handle the Berkeley apartment as a possible crime scene because it had been cleaned, and all of Allen's belongings had been retrieved by her family.

Williams says she regrets waiting to report her daughter missing.

"This is one of the hardest things that I've ever had to deal with in my life," she said.

Williams works at a Hilton hotel downtown, and among her co-workers is Vera Brown, a grandmother of 4-year-old Cermen Toney Jr.

He disappeared in November 2005 in State Park Place along with his baby sitter, Anquiaette Parker, 19. Their bodies were found in March in a cistern off Collinsville Road in Madison County. The former owner of that land has been charged with their murders.

Griffin said police want to do voice-stress analysis tests on Allen's boyfriend, the woman who has the Berkeley apartment, and that woman's boyfriend.

He also would like to talk to the person who called Berkeley City Hall about the buried body.

But now, he said, police have little to work on.

Anyone with information in Allen's disappearance is asked to contact Griffin at 314-444-2545 or CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS.

dhollinshed@post-dispatch.com | 314-340-8319



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