Missing Moms: Pregnant Baltimore Woman Vanished Ahead of Her Baby Shower
"We still struggle with who would want to hurt her, if that's what happened," says the father of Akia Eggleston, one of eight missing moms profiled in this week's issue of PEOPLE
As a single mom with a 2-year-old daughter, Akia Eggleston was used to getting things done on her own.
So when family and friends wanted to celebrate her pregnancy — she was 22 and eight months along with her second child, a boy — the aspiring model planned her own baby shower, set for May 6, 2017, in the community room of a local mall.
Guests arrived, but Eggleston never did. As friends went looking for her, it turned out she had last been seen May 3 at the Baltimore, Md., apartment she shared with a roommate.
Her daughter was staying primarily with a sitter, while Eggleston was largely on bed rest for her pregnancy.
"She loved children; she was over-ecstatic" about her pregnancy, Shawn Wilkinson, Eggleston's stepdad, tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story focused on the mysteries of eight missing moms across the country.
For more information about Akia Eggleston and other missing mom cases, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week's issue, on newsstands Friday.
Investigators learned that Eggleston withdrew $572 from a downtown bank on May 3 —possibly as a down payment for a new place with her baby's father, says Wilkinson. But they've revealed no new clues since.
"We cannot go into much detail about this case because it is a still open and ongoing investigation," Baltimore police spokesman Lindsey Eldridge tells PEOPLE.
But in a June 2017 news conference a month after Eggleston went missing, another police spokesman said, "foul play is something that we are absolutely exploring, because she was eight months pregnant at the time, and we're obviously beyond the point where she could have given birth."
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Says Wilkinson: "She loved her daughter, did anything she could for her." He adds: "We were all excited for the coming of the new baby."
"We still struggle with who would want to hurt her, if that's what happened," he says. "Who would want to, if it has happened, take her life or take the life of her child?"
"The not knowing is the dagger in the back each and every day," he says.
Police describe Eggleston as Black, with black hair, brown eyes, standing 4-feet, 11-inches tall and weighing 100 pounds, with an identifying tattoo of cherries on her left shoulder blade.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Baltimore police at 410-396-2499.