Eleven-month-old Ta'Niyah's mother, Miranda Jones said that she last saw her daughter on October 19, 2002 in Bartlow, Florida when she dropped her off at her boyfriend, Michael Lewis' apartment at 10:30 that night so he could babysit while Miranda went out with friends.
Michael claims that Miranda picked up Ta'Niyah at 8:30 or 9:00 the next day and hasn't seen Ta'Niyah since, but Miranda says she hadn't seen her boyfriend since October 19th.
The next day on October 20, 2002, Miranda called authorities to report a physical altercation between herself and Michael. She says she went to Michael's apartment to get Ta'Niyah, and Michael said the baby was at a friend's house. Miranda went to the friend's house and found it vacant, so she went back to confront Michael.
Michael allegedly threatened Miranda and kicked her, knocking out several of her teeth. He claims Miranda attacked him with a kitchen knife, cutting his hands, and he hit her in self-defense. Blood was found in Michael's apartment and photographs were taken by investigators of the wounds on Michael's hands. Police say it's possible that Ta'Niyah is being used as a pawn in a domestic dispute between her parents.
In a 2006 press interview, Miranda believed that her daughter was alive and in the care of Michael's family members. She also said there was a dispute over the identity of the baby's biological father and paternity testing had been scheduled sometime after Ta'Niyah's disappearance.
Miranda stated she believed Michael took her daughter and hid her because he was scared he'd lose access to Ta'Niyah if it was discovered that he wasn't her dad. Even though there's no physical evidence that Ta'Niyah's dead, she is considered an endangered missing person and some investigators believe she's still alive.
Miranda and Michael continue to date each other occasionally and had a baby together a year after Ta'Niyah disappeared. The Florida Department of Children & Families moved to have Miranda and Michael's parental rights of their infant terminated because a court petition stated that Ta'Niyah was injured in a confrontation between her parents and presumed dead. Their second child has been adopted by another family and Michael's been arrested six times after the baby's disappearance, mainly on charges related to domestic disputes with Miranda.
Investigators believed Miranda and Michael are responsible for Ta'Niyah's disappearance and possible death, but due to lack of evidence and their conflicting stories, charges haven't been brought against either of them. They were offered immunity from prosecutors from any charges if they would return Ta'Niyah alive, but neither of them accepted the offer.
Miranda and Michael implicate themselves in Ta'Niyah's disappearance, but her case remains unsolved.
Ta'Niyah's nickname is "Ny Ny" and she has reddish-black hair, pierced ears, and a light-colored birthmark on her right leg. It's unknown what she was wearing the day she went missing.
[edit | edit source]
- [link Ta'Niyah Monique Leonard] on Charley Project.