The Vivid Faces Of The Vanished Missing Veterans: Demakia Phinizee
When Demakia Phinizee turned 21 years old, she enlisted in the United States Army. The Army veteran served five years before returning to her hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi, and pursuing a career in Criminal Justice. Demakia worked as a security guard at the Fillmore Center, an alternative school in the 900 block of Filmore Drive. Demakia was married to Robert "Tre" Phinizee and had three children. According to her family, Demakia loved her children immensely.
“She loved those kids,” her mother, Charlene Dillard, told the Daily Journal. “She lived for them.”
Demakia and Robert were separated. According to the Charley Project, the couple had two prior domestic violence incidents. Demakia was dating someone new and moving on with her life.
On October 12, 2007, Demakia gave a co-worker a ride to the Fillmore Center where they both worked. Later that evening, Demakia failed to pick up her children from her sister's house after school. When 6:00 pm arrived, and there was still no sign of Demakia, her sister went to her apartment. Demakia's car was missing, and the door to her apartment was unlocked. Her sister called the Verona Police Department and reported Demakia missing.
When authorities arrived at her apartment, they realized the master bedroom sheets were missing from Demakia's bed. According to the Lee County Courier, Robert told the authorities that one of the children wet the bed. He said he removed the sheets.
Later the same evening, on October 12, 2007, Demakia's red Grand Am was found abandoned in an apartment complex in the 2600 block of West Jackson Street in Tupelo, Mississippi. According to authorities, a witness saw a black man, wearing a white t-shirt and jeans, jump out of the car and run behind the apartments.
“When the sister returned around 6:00 pm the car was gone, and the house was unlocked. She said she had last talked to her sister (Demakia) on the phone the night before,” said Sgt. Tara Sloan, reports the Lee County Courier. “I know of two domestic violence-related incidents. We questioned the husband. He said he saw her at 6 that morning. He is not a suspect.”
The next day, the day after Demakia disappeared, Robert packed up his children and moved out of Tupelo, Mississippi. Robert moved to Olive Branch, Mississippi, and remarried. In February 2020, Robert and his wife were in the process of a divorce. Robert shot his wife, who he described to WREG as the "soon to be ex-wife." Robert was charged with attempted murder.
“She came around the corner. I could see her hands like this. It was dark, she couldn’t see me. I hit the floor,” he told reporters with the cameras rolling, reports the Lee County Courier. “When I hit the floor I grabbed the gun like this and I grabbed her by the throat and wrestled her down. She said, ‘No, no, no Tre’ and when I fell on the floor with her, fell on the floor, I laid on top, the gun went off. Boom.” His bond was set at $1 million.
Demakia Ann Phinizee has never been found.
"Someone needs to let me know where my daughter is. I'm tired of sitting up at night and wondering where she is and if she's OK. No mother should have to go through that," her mother Charlene told the Daily Journal.
Demakia Ann Phinizee is 5'1"-5'3" and weighed 122-160 pounds when she vanished. If you have any information, please contact the Mississippi Department of Public Safety at 662-563-6400.