Updated: Jun 15
For over a month, the Baker family in Brooklyn, New York have been searching for their 23-year-old missing daughter, TiJae Baker, who has been missing since May 1. TiJae Baker is a rising artist and art student in her final year of college. Baker was reported missing by her family on May 1, 2022, after traveling to Washington, D.C, to create posters for a woman she met online. More than 200,000 girls and young women under the age of 21 and more than 60,000 women over 21 go missing every year in our country. However, many of the missing young women have not captured national media attention. Often, the disappearances of young Black women and girls like TiJae do not receive the same widespread media attention as cases involving missing white women. For instance, earlier this year, the case that caught the attention of the media globally was the missing persons case of a young white woman, Gabby Petito. She was known for her YouTube videos and Instagram feed where she vlogged about her life. Suspicions of her whereabouts came when her fiancé, Brian, returned from their cross country van trip without her. The search for her began immediately, with the FBI getting involved before finding her body on September 19th, 2021.
Toquana Baker, TiJae’s mother, said the New York Police Department did not prioritize her daughter’s missing person case due to her race. The police mistakenly placed TiJae on a wanted poster instead of a missing person’s poster at first.
After a month of anxiously waiting, TiJae contacted her family on June 1, 2022 from a nail salon in Maryland calling for help. Roxanne Baker, TiJae’s grandmother, recalled the conversation saying, “she said just tell her mother to come get her — now.” However, the Baker family could not find TiJae after they immediately rushed to Maryland.
Toquana Baker has had trouble sleeping since her daughter’s disappearance and has been actively looking for her daughter. She has not heard anything from TiJae since receiving the phone call from the salon. Toquana said, “Somebody luring my daughter to another state. I have to deal with this, and it’s going to affect my daughter’s life forever.” Her mother is worried that TiJae was involved in human trafficking or stepped into a cult. Women and girls account for 71% of all human trafficking victims. However, when those women and girls are Black, the more dangerous reasons for missing persons such as trafficking, exploitation, and kidnapping are often overlooked in favor of accusations of running away with boyfriends.
Toquana also believes that somebody drugged her daughter, and she is not in the right state of mind; her girl needs help.
Today, Toquana Baker is still searching for her daughter TiJae. She has created posters and walked in alleys and woods to try to find TiJae. Toquana has approached patrol police officers in the Prince George County area and they have informed her they were unaware of her daughter’s missing persons case. In an interview with iWomanTV, Toquana stated that the police are not giving enough attention to this tragic incident and are not properly searching for TiJae.
Please contact 800-577-TIPS or (917) 500-7677 with information on TiJae Baker’s disappearance. Missing girls like TiJae need to be exposed in the media, and how society responds to this crisis is crucial.