Whenever Karen Phillips called her daughter, her calls were never answered. So, when Keira Coles, 26, failed to kick off on October 2, 2018, Phillips’ maternal instinct kicked in. Something was not right.
Phillips shared a recent interview on The Shade Room’s achieves TSR. “I went on lunch break and went to her house to see if she was there, but she wasn’t there.”
Coles, who was pregnant with her first child, was a postal worker in Chicago’s Southside. Maybe she was busy with work and couldn’t keep up? not exactly. Phillips called the local post office and was informed that Coles was out of business today.
She then called the police and Coles’ then-boyfriend, Joshua Simmons, who was also the father of Kiera’s unborn child.
“[Joshua] Phillips said he would do everything he could to help. “Once the police went to question him, he was nowhere to be found. That’s when I learned he had something to do with him.”
Simmons moved and hasn’t contacted Phillips or her family since.
Watch: TSR Investigates Pregnant and Missing Persons: Inside the Search for Kierra Coles
A year passed without any new leads. And as Kira’s case turned cold, so did the authorities according to her family. As of 2021, Phillips says little has changed.
“After two or three years, [we’re] resident [in] Phillips said. “We know Joshua was the last to see her.”
No charges were brought against Joshua Simmons and he was only questioned by the police about Kira’s disappearance. TSR Investigates is hosting Justin Carter’s attempts to contact Simmons via Facebook were unsuccessful, and it appears he may be using another name on the platform.
But Chicago police stress that this issue remains a priority. In a statement issued in late September 2021, they wrote:
“The Coles case continues to be a high-stakes missing person investigation with suspicion of possible wrongdoing. At this point, anyone with knowledge of her last whereabouts is asked to contact the Chicago Police Department. We are looking for any and all information in an effort to locate it and we won’t stop until we do. The US Postal Inspection Service, the FBI, and the Chicago Police are jointly working on this investigation.”
So where is the media attention?
“We can all say the names Natalie Holloway, Lacey Peterson, Chandra Levy, Kylie Anthony, Elizabeth Smart and Gabe Pettito,” said Derica Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Messing Foundation. “But no one can name a missing black or brown male or female who got into the mainstream media. Not one. When we started the organization in 2008, 30% of the missing people in the United States were people of color. And that number has gone up since then. to 40%. So why not us?”
The question still looms, in the wake of the 2021 case of the disappearance of New York woman Gabi Pettito. Millions of dollars were spent searching for the 22-year-old, who was eventually found deceased.
“For the first three or four months, my daughter got a lot of coverage, but it faded away pretty quickly,” Phillips said. “I think if it was more than that, my daughter would be around now. Good or bad.”
There are 170 missing women in Cook County, which covers the greater Chicago area. Many of them are women of color.
“I think what we’ve seen recently with Gabe speaks for itself,” added Max Jolyon, president of the 11th Message Carriers Association of Chicago. “That’s why it’s called Amber Alert and not Shakita Alert. [Kierra] She is not just a member of our union, she is our sister. We have not forgotten and will not allow anyone else to forget.”
The reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Kierra Coles is approximately $50,000. Those with information are asked to contact the Chicago Police, the FBI, or US Postal Inspectors.