Selma, AL

Missing Alabama Teen Girl Vanished One Year After Her Mysteriously Father Disappeared

The Vivid Faces of the Vanished
Tarasha BenjaminThe Charley Project

17-year-old Tarasha Benjamin is well-known in her hometown of Selma, Alabama. On the morning of June 26, 2010, Tarasha, nicknamed "Pooh," and a friend left her mother's house. Tarasha was going to the local flea market and driving an SUV that belonged to a friend.

"Tarasha left my house at about 9 to 9:30 am on June 26, 2010, going to the Selma Flea Market. She left with a friend of mine in her truck. They were going to the Flea Market. She goes every Saturday. For some reason, I just felt something, a feeling in my body that something was wrong," her mother, Regina Benjamin, told WSFA.

Regina Benjamin knows pain. In 1996, her 3-year-old and 4-year-old daughters died in a house fire. In 2009, her husband, Tarasha's father, Clyde Chandler, disappeared. His body was eventually found behind a Steak Pit in Selma. What happened to him remains unclear, Regina told WSFA.

Around 11:00 am, the feeling something was wrong became so intense that Regina began calling relatives and Tarasha's friends asking if anyone had seen her or the vehicle, a gray Mazda Tribute, she was driving. According to a relative, they remembered seeing the vehicle on the Cecil Jackson Bypass. The truck was found abandoned on the Bypass, about one mile from the flea market. It was facing the opposite direction of the flea market with a broken driver's side door handle and two missing windows.

"It was just sitting on the side of the road. No one was in it. Now I'm thinking something happened," Regina told WSFA. "Stuff was thrown out on the side by it, and we searched and searched. We never found her."

Around 1:00 pm, the friend Tarasha left with and who owned the vehicle came to Regina's house asking where Tarasha and her car were. The friend and Tarasha separated after the pair left Regina's house. The friend was unaware if Tarasha went to the flea market or not.

"She left with a girl that stayed down the street with me, say they were going to the flea market. But the girl came back later without Tarasha, and I haven't seen her since," Regina told WSFA.

Regina became more alarmed and contacted the local police.

"We never found her, and still to this day, we don't know anything. She just vanished, and Selma is a small town. I know there's somebody out there that knows something about my daughter being missing. If it was me and I knew something, I would tell it because I wouldn't want a mother to go through the pain that I go through every day," Regina told WSFA.

Investigators conducted an extensive search for Tarasha. They went door-to-door in Selma, combed wooded areas, and searched bodies of water. Authorities and Regina both believe Tarasha was taken out of Selma.

"Selma, she's not here because we done tore Selma up and down looking for Tarasha Benjamin," Selma Police Department Lead Investigator Ronald Jones told WSFA.

"Somebody is going to tell me something. I just feel it that's why every day I post pictures. I miss her and I'm going to keep looking until she gets here. I don't care how long it takes but she will be coming home," Regina told WSFA.

Tarasha "Pooh" Benjamin is 5'2" and weighed 125 pounds when she vanished.

If you have any information, please contact the Selma Police Department at 334-874-2134.

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