As an intense search for missing 10-year-old Breasia Terrell extends into its second week, her family say they believe she is being held against her will and said they are not giving up hope that she’ll be found safe.
“She’s out there somewhere and when she’s home safe, that’s when the story begins. That’s when she’ll tell us what happened,” Breasia’s mother, Aishia Lankford, told Dateline. “But we just have to find her. That’s what we’re focused on now.”
Breasia, known to her family as “Bree,” was last seen during the early hours of Friday, July 10, at an apartment on East 53rd Street in Davenport, Iowa.
Aishia told Dateline that it had already been planned that her 8-year-old son, Bree’s half-brother, would spend the night of July 9 with his father, Henry Dinkins, and Henry’s girlfriend, at their apartment on East 53rd Street. Henry had also offered to watch Bree.
“She’s close with her brother and wanted to hang out with him,” Aishia said. “We had no reason to worry that anything bad would happen.”
Aishia said she checked on her children that night and they told her they were playing video games and having a good time.
“Bree texted me and said, “Good night, Mama, I love you,’” Aishia said. “And that’s the last time I heard from her.”
When Aishia got to work the next morning, she got a call from Henry Dinkins. She said that Henry told her that when he woke up, Bree was gone.
“At first I laughed because it sounded like a joke. It didn’t make any sense. It’s not like her,” Aishia said. “She would never walk out, especially in the middle of the night. In the dark? No. Never.”
Bree was reported missing that day and an investigation was launched by the Davenport Police Department.
Later the same day, a search warrant was executed at the home of Henry Dinkins, and the 47-year-old was arrested and charged with a second-offense sex offender registration violation and a probation violation, according to the criminal complaint filed in Scott County District Court.
On July 15, 2020, the Davenport Police Department named Henry Dinkins as a person of interest in relation to Breasia’s case. He is not currently a named suspect and no charges have been filed against him related to this case.
At a press conference on Monday, July 20, Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski said they are still actively investigating Breasia’s disappearance.
It was also announced that there was no longer a need for search parties to search further out into Clinton County.
“We are incredibly grateful to the community to assist in the search for Breasia,” Chief Sikorski said. “Several hundred community members responded to our call for volunteers to search, showing the care and compassion of our community.
Police said they are focusing their efforts on the investigation and thanked the community and the agencies with their assistance in the search efforts.
“At this time, we continue to focus resources on the investigation to pursue the leads that have been developed and are evaluating the tips that were provided to us by the community,” he said.
Chief Sikorski said anyone who is interested in assisting or donating items that will help protect the searchers can contact Family Resources.
On Tuesday, family and friends continued their own searches, in other areas around Davenport. Hundreds have joined them and the family said they are grateful.
“We’re just out here every day, hanging fliers and giving them to businesses to display,” Bree’s uncle, Demarcus Lankford, told Dateline. “We just need to get her face out there as much as possible. We need to find her.”
Bree’s mother remains convinced that the answers to her daughter’s whereabouts can be answered by Henry Dinkins. She told Dateline she spoke to him last week at Scott County Jail, where he remains in custody on those unrelated charges.
“He broke down after only a few minutes,” Aishia said. “I’ve known him for 11 years and I’ve never seen him show that kind of emotion. I know he knows something. I told him, ‘You’re never going to have a good night’s sleep in that cell until she’s home.’”
Aishia added that when her daughter is returned home safe, she believes that’s when they’ll hear the truth about what happened.
“I can’t wait until she comes home and I have my girl back,” Aishia told Dateline. “And she’ll have her voice. And she’ll be able to tell us everything.”
Breasia is described as being 4’5” tall, weighing about 75 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
The Davenport Police Department also continues to ask the public for any information regarding the whereabouts of Henry Dinkins from 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 9 to 12 p.m. on Friday, July 10. Dinkins’ primary vehicle is believed to be a 2007 Maroon Chevy Impala.
Anyone with information about Breasia’s whereabouts is asked to immediately call (563) 326-6125. Pictures of Henry Dinkins and his vehicles can be found at www.davenportiowa.com/missingchild.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Kristi Johnson announced a $10,000 reward Wednesday for anyone who has information that assists law enforcement in finding 10-year-old Breasia Terrell or leads to the arrest of anyone involved in her disappearance.
Agents and personnel from the FBI Omaha headquarters and the Quad-City resident agency have participated in searches, reviewed cell phone records and provided other technical, investigative resources, according to a press release issued by the Davenport Police.
“Because of the nature of our work, many won’t see the FBI working this investigation,” Johnson said. “We’ve been here from the beginning, thanks to the commitment of our partner, the Davenport Police Department, to use all the resources available to them to find Breasia and bring the person responsible for her disappearance to justice.”