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Ventura family lists tip line for missing teen

April 27, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Chioma Gray has been missing for two years, after she was last seen on the morning of Dec. 13, 2007. Tuesday is Chioma Gray's 18th birthday.Gray was last seen when Gray's father dropped the Buena High School student at the school.

School video surveillance shows 20-year-old Andrew Tafoya arriving at the school at around the same time in a stolen Toyota sedan. Tafoya had been released from jail on Dec. 12. He was serving time for unlawful sex with a minor; the minor was Chioma Gray, who was 14 at the time.

Ventura Police suspect Gray left with Tafoya voluntarily.

A friend of Gray's said Tafoya wanted to go to Mexico with Gray. A camera at the Mexican border reportedly recorded the license plate of the car Tafoya had been driving.

The FBI has declared Tafoya wanted for child stealing, unlawful flight to avoid prosecution and auto theft.

"Every day is an experience that's like living in the pits of Hell," said Francine Black, Chioma's mother. "And not being able to see her, hold her or touch her is extremely life-changing."

Black said Chioma did not go willingly, but police disagree.

"This was really her, we felt, her going on her own with somebody she knew, and leaving," said Ventura Police Sgt. Jack Richards. "Not an abduction or kidnapping."

Since Chioma has gone missing, her mother has not been interviewed by police or the FBI. In a conversation with an FBI investigator, she was told her daughter was dead.

Chioma was a 4.0 student at the time of her disappearance. She would have graduated high school in a few weeks.

Franicine Black is now getting help from former assistant police chief of Oxnard Chuck Hookstra. They established an anonymous tip line. That number is (805) 844-5045. The number is not associated with law enforcement.


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