Eufaula, AL

In 2003, a teen left home with a strange man and never came back. Two weeks later, her mom received a shocking message.

Fatim Hemraj
LaQuanta RileyPhoto byWAKA

19-year-old LaQuanta Riley was born in 1984 to her mother, Pam Riley, who was only 16 at the time. As a result, LaQuanta was raised by her aunt, Katie Smith. LaQuanta maintained a good relationship with her mom and they kept in touch throughout her life. She loved to cook and listen to music. LaQuanta graduated high school with honors and received a full scholarship to college. She was about to begin her freshmen year studying criminal justice when she suddenly vanished.

On Friday, December 5, 2003, LaQuanta called Pam and asked to be picked up from her apartment in Eufaula, Alabama. Upset, LaQuanta told her mom she got into an argument with her roommate and wanted to move in with her. Unfortunately, Pam couldn't pick LaQuanta up at that time and told her to call her aunt, Katie, instead. LaQuanta didn't tell Pam what the argument was about and Pam didn't ask. Pam later stated that she didn't want to pry, and called it her biggest regret.

LaQuanta called Katie who agreed to pick her up. She packed up all her belongings and moved back in with Katie and her cousin, Stacey, who she had grown up with, in Montgomery. Katie and her husband only had one rule that LaQuanta had to follow: she was not allowed to have any men over. The next day, Katie and Stacey took off for Georgia on a planned trip, leaving LaQuanta home alone with her uncle.

On Sunday, December 7, LaQuanta got into an argument with her uncle because she wanted to have a man over, and he said no. Upset, she decided to leave. An unknown male picked her up at 11:30 pm. He was driving a dark green 4-door Ford Taurus or Chevrolet Caprice. LaQuanta asked him to take her to her mother's home 3 miles away to pick up her jacket. When LaQuanta arrived, her brother answered the door. He asked LaQuanta who the man in the vehicle was and she told him she had met him in the neighborhood. Sadly, he wasn't able to get a clear view of the man's face.

LaQuanta's brother said that LaQuanta was in a rush and did not want to talk. She grabbed her jacket, got into the man's car and they drove off at 11:45 pm. It was the last time he saw his sister.

Pam reported her daughter missing on December 10. Since LaQuanta was 19 and legally an adult, her case was not taken seriously and loved ones were left to search for her on their own.

Two weeks later, Pam received a disturbing message on her answering machine. Most of it was inaudible, however, she claimed she heard a woman's voice say either, "leave me alone" or "let me go home." Pam also said that she heard a man's voice in the background say LaQuanta's name at which point, the line went dead. Pam said she was confident that the woman was LaQuanta.

Unfortunately, the call could not be traced. Distraught, Pam listened to the voicemail over and over until a power outage erased it. Investigators were never able to get a copy of the message.

Two years later, Pam was informed that LaQuanta's name had been used to rent an apartment in Stone Mountain, Georgia, the same city where LaQuanta went to high school. Pam drove three hours to the apartment complex and spoke to several tenants. One man looked at a picture of LaQuanta and said that she used to live down the hall from him with her boyfriend. The man said that LaQuanta once asked to use his phone after an argument with her boyfriend and that she moved out a few days before Pam got there. It's unknown whether the woman really was LaQuanta.

Nearly 20 years later, the search for LaQuanta continues. Investigators believe she meant to return because she left her purse and money behind. In addition, LaQuanta had purchased Christmas gifts and an outfit she bought for a family Christmas dinner was found in her closet with the tags still attached. Neither her roommate nor the man who picked her up has ever been identified.

LaQuanta was last seen wearing a yellow and green Ecko shirt, blue jeans, and green and yellow Reebok sneakers. She has "RIP Mesha" tattooed on one bicep and "LaQuanta" on the other.

Today, LaQuanta Riley would be 39 years old. If you have any information, contact 215-STOP. An $11,000 reward is available.

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