Editor's Note: UPDATE - The body of 21-year-old Dianna Brice was found in a wooded lot in Southwest Philadelphia around 11 p.m. on Monday, April 5, 2021. Her boyfriend Justin Smith is still missing and considered to be a person of interest.
Authorities are still searching for a 21-year-old pregnant woman, who mysteriously disappeared last week just hours before her boyfriend’s car was found engulfed in flames on a Philadelphia street.
Dianna Brice was last seen on March 30, 2021, at the K Laundry laundromat on Church Lane in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, where her mother was doing laundry. While waiting in the car, Dianna was joined by her 23-year-old boyfriend, Justin Smith.
Her mother, Betty Cellini told Dateline she returned to the car where she was greeted by Justin and a visibly upset Dianna.
“She was just so upset and she kept crying,” Betty said. “I asked her what was wrong. She said, ‘Nothing, Mom.’”
Dianna is 14 weeks pregnant with Justin’s baby and takes daily medication for a serious medical condition, her mother said. She told her mother that Justin would take her to get the medication. So around 1 p.m., Betty drove the couple to Justin’s car that was parked around the corner from the laundromat.
“I asked her, ‘You good?’ and then I drove off,” Betty told Dateline. “And I haven’t seen my baby since.”
Betty told Dateline that she did speak to her daughter on her cell phone a short time later and Dianna informed her they had driven to Philadelphia. She asked her mom to pick up her medication and assured her she would be home later.
But Dianna never returned home. Calls to her phone went unanswered.
Betty told Dateline that she finally got in touch with Justin who told her that they had gotten in an argument. They were in the area of 57th and Springfield Streets in SW Philadelphia and he said she got out of the vehicle and walked away.
“What kind of man does that?” Betty asked. “What kind of man just leaves your girlfriend carrying your child?”
She added that Justin told her he had searched the area for Dianna but couldn’t find her.
Betty told Dateline she was worried, so she told Justin on the phone that she would go ahead and file a missing persons report.
Around 5:30 p.m. police in Philadelphia found Justin’s 2018 black Ford Fusion engulfed in flames near 59th and Florence Streets in Southwest Philadelphia, according to a press release issued by the Upper Darby Police Department. Investigators determined that neither Dianna nor Justin was in the vehicle, the release stated.
Police are urging anyone who might have seen either Dianna or Justin to contact the authorities. Dianna is considered an “endangered” missing person and they are concerned for her safety.
Dianna’s family have also hired Kevin Ryan, a private investigator to assist with the investigation.
“Time is of the essence here,” Kevin Ryan told Dateline. “She hasn’t had her medication for days and she needs it daily. There are two people missing here and we are doing everything we can to find both of them. One will lead to the other, but Dianna is our priority.”
Kevin Ryan told Dateline that he, along with family members and friends of Dianna, have been pounding the pavement, looking for the young mother. He added that he’s interested in speaking to people who might be able to fill in the gaps of what went on in the couple’s lives in the days leading up to their disappearance.
“Two people just don’t disappear,” he added. Ryan said. “Somebody knows something.”
He told Dateline that both of their cell phones are off and there has not been bank activity on either of their accounts. He added that Justin’s wallet and other personal belongings were found inside his vehicle.
Betty told Dateline it’s unlike her daughter to go any length of time without speaking or seeing her 4-year-old-son.
“She can’t even go to a Wawa without calling me and asking how her son is doing,” Betty said. “Or calling to make sure he’s listening. It’s not even a question that she would leave on her own - she would never do that.”
Betty said their family and the community are frantically searching for her every day, talking to people in the area, hanging fliers and posting updates to the Dianna Brice Facebook Page.
“Her 4-year-old son is home asking me, ‘Where’s my mommy,’” Betty said. “And I don’t know what to tell him. I'm numb, I have no emotions. But we’re out there - we’re there pounding the pavement every day. She’s my baby and I need her home.”
Dianna is described as being 4’11” tall and weighs about 190 lbs. She has brown eyes and dark hair that she wears in braids, but usually wears a long, dark wig or scarf.
She was last seen wearing a black short-sleeve shirt, black sweatpants, furry Ugg slides. a long-haired wig with a scarf, and false lashes. She has a black heart tattoo on the right hand, a Mickey Mouse glove with the letters "AJ" on her left forearm and roses on her left shoulder and right ankle. She has the word "NANNY" tattooed on her left shoulder and the phrase "My Brother's Keeper" on her chest.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Dianna or Justin is asked to contact the Upper Darby Police Department Detective Division at 610-734-7693 or 610-734-7677 or the family’s private missing persons investigator Kevin Ryan at 803-993-8477.