Prescott, AR

“She Was Determined To Do Something Great,” Family Members Say Of Missing Arkansas Girl Who Wanted To Join Air Force

The Vivid Faces of the Vanished
Mercedes Zaevon ToliverThe Charley Project

18-year-old Mercedes Zaevon Toliver graduated from Prescott High School and dreamed of being in the Air Force. In 2016, she spent the summer studying for the ASVAB test at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas.

“She was determined to do something great,” her cousin, Vontrice Flemons, told Dateline. “She wanted to prove that she could be somebody.”

Mercedes likes to make people laugh and is described as a kind person who never met a stranger by her family members.

“She has a big heart. Always thinking about someone else. That’s just the kind of person she is,” her aunt, Doris Fleming told Dateline.

Mercedes enjoys music and was active on social media.

"She was always on social media. Or listening to music. She loved music," Felice told Dateline.

She was the typical teenager who could be "stubborn at times," Felice said, Dateline reports.

On December 17, 2016, Mercedes and her mother, Felice Hopper, had an argument. Mercedes left their house on Roston Road in Prescott, Arkansas on foot shortly after midnight. Felice assumed her daughter walked to the home of an aunt, Doris Fleming, about a quarter mile away. Doris and Felice are sisters.

The following day, Felice went Christmas shopping. She wanted to surprise Mercedes with some gifts.

“She loved to draw,” Felice told Dateline. “And she was good at it. I wanted her to have a real art kit. I couldn’t wait for her to see it.”

When she called Mercedes to ask about her size for some clothing items, her phone went straight to voicemail.

“I figured she was out of minutes, so when I had a chance later that day, I loaded more minutes on her phone,” Felice told Dateline. “But when I tried to call again that weekend, there was nothing. Straight to voicemail again.”

Felice knew something was wrong.

“She had that cell phone in her hands 24/7. So when I couldn’t get through to her, I knew something was wrong," Felice told Dateline.

Felice discovered Mercedes never arrived at her sister's home, Mercedes’s aunt Doris. Doris never knew Mercedes was coming over that night.

“She was always over here… since she was a baby,” Doris told Dateline. “But not that weekend. I saw her, and her mother, on Friday. And that was the last time I saw Mercedes.”

The family contacted the Prescott Police Department and reported Mercedes missing.

“She was gone. Just like that,” Vontrice told Dateline. “It didn’t make any sense. She was always in contact with one of us. This wasn’t like her to just vanish.”

Authorities, family members and the community went door-to door and searched the entire area for Mercedes. The Prescott Police Department worked with the Arkansas State Police to track her cell phone but were unable to locate it. The cell phone has not been used, according to authorities.

“She was a social media junkie,” Felice told Dateline. “Always on Instagram and Snap Chat. For all of that to just stop… that’s odd.”

The Prescott Police Department said there have been no recent leads, tips or any information in the disappearance of Mercedes.

"We had some leads early on -- within the first month -- and past that everything dropped off,” Prescott Police Chief Joseph Beavers told Dateline. “We haven't received leads at the police department in quite some time.”

Mercedes Zaevon Toliver is 5'3" and weighed 120 pounds when she vanished.

If you have any information, please contact the Prescott Police Department at 870-887-6779.

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