"I turned back and asked, 'Where's Teekah?,'" Theresa Lewis recalls
Credit: NCMEC

In 1999, Theresa Lewis was enjoying a rare night out with her extended family at the New Frontier Bowling Alley in Tacoma, Washington, when the unthinkable happened.

It was Theresa’s turn to bowl and she asked her family to watch her 2-year-old daughter Teekah Lewis, who had been playing video games.

“I turned back and asked, ‘Where’s Teekah?,'” Theresa, now 48, recalls.

The little girl had vanished.

“It was the biggest mistake of my life,” says Theresa.

According to the nonprofit National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, there were 424,066 reports of missing children made to law enforcement in the United States in 2018. Theresa is among many parents whose lives have never been the same.

Two decades after Teekah went missing, the fear, panic and regret still haunt her.

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“I’ve missed 20 years of birthdays, 21 Christmases,” she says while holding back tears. “I’ve missed my baby’s first day of preschool, kindergarten, graduation — I’ve missed all of that.”

Through the years, law enforcement has investigated hundreds of tips, but there has been no sign of Teekah, who would now be 22.

In an effort to renew interest in her daughter’s case, the Washington State Patrol put images of Teekah on the side of two semi-trailers traveling through the western part of the United States.

Each year, Theresa holds a vigil at the site of her daughter’s disappearance with a vigil. And for every birthday, she organizes a celebration with families and friends.

“I want my baby home,” she says. “Why should I have to go another 20 years without my daughter?”

Anyone with information about Teekah should call the Tacoma Police at 253-798-4721 or call The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.