Tacoma, WA

24 Years Later: The Disappearance of Teekah Lewis

Fatim Hemraj
Teekah Lewis (R) age progression photoPhoto byTacomaNews

Teekah Lewis lived in Tacoma, Washington, with her mother, Theresa, and her five siblings. The 2-year-old adored Winnie the Pooh and her favorite food were french fries and starbursts. She used an inhaler for asthma and required medical supervision. Teekah is half Chippewa Indian and half Black.

On January 23, 1999, Theresa took her children to the now-defunct New Frontier Lanes bowling alley to spend the evening with her relatives and a few friends. The group totaled nearly a dozen people.

Teekah spent most of her time in the arcade just a few feet from the exit. At some point, she won a stuffed animal and lovingly gave it to her 10-month-old baby sister, Katarina.

Theresa was watching Teekah in the arcade when she looked away for 15 seconds to check on Teekah's brother. The little girl was gone when she turned her attention back to Teekah. The authorities were notified and a massive search was conducted, but Teekah was nowhere to be found.

Teekah was last seen at 10:15 pm and a witness recalled a late 1980s or early 1990s maroon 4-door Pontiac Grand Am with tinted windows and a spoiler speed out of the parking lot around that time.

After local news outlets broadcasted photos of Teekah, a 17-year-old boy came forward with a chilling story. He stated that he was at the bowling alley with his family on January 23, 1999. He was headed to the restroom when a man bumped into his shoulder, hard, and continued walking past him. The teen stated that the man was holding a little girl's hand, and leading her toward the restroom.

The witness said he recalled thinking that the strange man was the rudest person he had ever encountered in his life, considering that he did not stop to apologize. He assumed the man was the little girl's father. It was only after he watched the news, that he realized the little girl was Teekah

Fortunately, only a few days had passed and the teen was able to provide a detailed description of the man. He was described as white, in his 30s, 5'11" with a husky build, and shoulder-length brown curly hair. He had a mustache, a large nose, and a heavily pockmarked face. The boy also provided a description of the man's clothing but it was not revealed to the public until just recently in December 2022. The man reportedly wore faded blue jeans and a blue checkered flannel shirt.

On November 29, 1998, a 4-year-old boy was S/A in a bathroom stall at the same bowling alley by a white male with brown curly hair and pockmarks on his face. In December 1998, a "white male with brown curly hair" tried to lure a boy from the bowling alley, and on January 23, 1999, just hours before Teekah was taken, a similar-looking man tried to take two children from a park 1 mile away from the bowling alley. Their father chased the man, who sped off in a blue 1995 Pontiac Grand Am.

It's unclear whether the witness who saw a red Pontiac Grand Am speed away from the bowling alley later that night remembered the color correctly and if these incidents are even linked together, at all.

24 years later, Theresa continues the search for her daughter. She holds a vigil every year on January 23 and always celebrates Teekah's birthday on July 4. She was ruled out along with the friends and family members who were at the bowling alley the night Teekah was taken. Teekah's father, Robert Lewis, was also ruled out because he was serving time when the incident occurred.

Teekah was last seen wearing a green Tweety Bird t-shirt, white sweatpants, and white Air Jordans. She was also wearing a bright pink fleece jacket that night, but it was not on her when she vanished.

Today, Teekah Lewis would be 27 years old.

If you have any information, submit an anonymous tip at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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