Public Safety

Mother of missing girl, Breasia Terrell, clings to hope as search continues

Davenport woman holds on to hope as she deals with rumors, social media

Aishia Lankford of Davenport is shown at a July 14 news conference in Davenport about her missing 10-year-old daughter,
Aishia Lankford of Davenport is shown at a July 14 news conference in Davenport about her missing 10-year-old daughter, Breasia Terrell, 10, who was last seen Thursday. (Jessica Gallagher/Quad-City Times)
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DAVENPORT — Aishia Lankford of Davenport, the mother of missing 10-year-old Breasia Terrell, said she’s feeling “king of trapped” and “empty.”

“I want to be out there, looking for my daughter,” she told the Quad-City Times. “But I feel like I have to do this stuff with the TV people to make sure people see Breasia and know where to call.

“So I’m stuck. And a few people have asked me why I haven’t been at some of the searches, and I try to tell them about how much time it takes to do these things with media people.”

Police said Breasia was last seen Thursday. An Amber Alert was issued about her disappearance, though it was mistakenly canceled Wednesday before going out again.

Police have said Henry Earl Dinkins, 47, is a “person of interest” in Breasia’s disappearance. He has been held in Scott County Jail on a sex offender registry violation since Friday.

Lankford said social media — primarily Facebook — proved to be too difficult to handle during the search for her daughter.

“I shut my profile down,” she said. “So there were posts about my daughter and the search and soon people were posting about me.

“All of the sudden the search for a little girl is stuff about whether I’m a good mom. And I admit, I fell in it at first. I shot back and defended myself. Then I realized none of this is about me. Even if people think I’m worthless, they should still care about what happens to Breasia.”

Lankford described other distractions and harassment. Psychics contacted her. Someone sent a note claiming to have Breasia and demanded money. There are constant rumors.

She spent Monday night at a search scene while a number of people took to social media and proclaimed Breasia’s body had been found.

“How can you feel anything when a person tells you that your daughter is alive and an hour later you hear she’s dead?” Lankford said. “I can’t even tell you how it feels. And the whole time, you can’t think about how you feel anyway because your daughter’s still out there.”

Through the first five days of Breasia’s disappearance, Lankford estimated she slept “about five hours.”

“I feel empty. Like, just empty,” she said. “People want to know why I’m not crying all the time. I have nothing. My daughter is gone, and no one seems to know anything and I have no idea how to feel. I have to have hope.”

Lankford believes Breasia is alive.

“When I close my eyes, I can see her face. I can hear her voice,” Lankford said. “I hear her calling out to me to come and find her.

“That’s why I believe she’s alive. I don’t know where she is. But I have to find her.”

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