Livonia, MI

In 1994, a mom said she lost her 4-year-old son at the mall but witnesses saw her alone. What happened to D'Wan Sims?

Fatim Hemraj
D’Wan SimsPhoto byCBS News

4-year-old D’Wan Sims lived in Detroit, Michigan with his mother, D’Wanna, and D’Wanna’s boyfriend, Victor Jackson. D’Wanna shared custody of D’Wan with his father, Nicholas Sims.

On December 11, 1994, D’Wanna approached a custodian at Wonderland Mall in Livonia, Michigan, and said that she couldn’t find her son, D’Wan. Mall security spent 90 minutes searching for him, to no avail. At 4 pm, D’Wanna went to Lady Footlocker, where her mother Beverly worked part-time, and told her that D’Wan was gone. Frantic, Beverly immediately left work and called the authorities.

D’Wanna said she picked D’Wan up from the babysitter’s house at 10 am and took him to the laundromat. The 25-year-old said she then took D’Wan Christmas shopping at Wonderland Mall, arriving between 1:45 and 2:30 pm. D’Wanna said they walked into Target, which had its own entrance. She said D’Wan was walking behind her as they exited Target and entered the mall. A few seconds later, D’Wanna turned around to ask D’Wan a question and he was gone.

However, surveillance footage would tell a very different story.
D’Wanna returned to the mall the next day to show reporters where she last saw her sonPhoto byDetroit CBS

The footage showed that D’Wanna entered the mall alone and immediately approached an employee to report her son missing. She was unable to explain why D’Wan wasn’t in any of the footage. At one point, D’Wanna pointed out a woman with a child and insisted that it was her and D’Wan but the woman was wearing different clothes and the child was a little girl.

D’Wanna said her decision to take D’Wan Christmas shopping was spontaneous but the babysitter would later say D’Wan told her that his mother was taking him to the mall to buy a power ranger, his favorite action figure. The babysitter said D’Wan was excited and couldn’t wait.

Two witnesses said they saw D’Wanna park her car and enter Wonderland Mall alone. Along with the surveillance footage, investigators were confident that D’Wan was never in the mall, to begin with, and the search was moved to the home where he lived with D’Wanna and her boyfriend, Victor.

Unfortunately, nothing relevant to the case was found.

Nicholas Sims said D’Wanna was a great mother to their son while Beverly said D’Wanna would never harm him. Despite this, D’Wanna was never able to explain the inconsistencies in her story.

The search for D’Wan was one of Michigan’s largest.

Tragically, he was never seen or heard from again.
A newspaper clipping of the casePhoto byMedium

D’Wanna’s boyfriend, Victor, and D’Wan’s father, Nicholas, both passed polygraph tests. D’Wanna failed twice. She married Victor shortly afterward. After they split, D’Wanna moved to Durham, North Carolina, re-married, and had two children. D’Wanna Wiggins passed away in 2020.

She maintained her innocence for 26 years.
An age-progression photo of D’Wan SimsPhoto byMissing & Expoited

Today, D'Wan would be 32 years old.

If you have any information, contact Livonia PD at 313-421-1920.

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