Authorities are searching for a missing pregnant woman who disappeared from Chicago last fall.
Kierra Coles, 27, was last seen on October 2, 2018 leaving her apartment on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. She was three months pregnant at the time. Kierra’s father Joseph Coles told Dateline his daughter was excited to be a first-time mother.
“I saw her a couple of weeks before she went missing,” Joseph, who lives in Wisconsin, said. “She was happy to be pregnant.”
The day she disappeared, Kierra called out sick from her job as a letter carrier at the U.S. Postal Service. Surveillance video would later show Kierra leaving her apartment at 82nd Street and Coles Avenue and walking past her car. She is seen wearing her U.S. Postal Service uniform, despite having called in sick.
A few days later, according to NBC Chicago, Kierra’s mother Karen Phillips became concerned when she hadn’t heard from Kierra and calls to Kierra’s phone were going straight to voicemail. Karen called the Chicago Police Department two days later to report her daughter missing.
Police went to Kierra’s apartment to conduct a welfare check. Kierra was nowhere to be seen, but her car was still parked out front.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
"She wouldn't go this long without talking to me," Kierra’s mother Karen told local media two weeks after Kierra was last seen. "We talk every day. She wouldn't have me worrying like this."
In the months since Kierra’s disappearance, authorities have searched areas in and around the city of Chicago. Anthony Guglielmi, Chief Communications Officer at the Chicago Police Department, says there have been no signs of life since Kierra was last seen.
Kierra’s father Joseph told Dateline his daughter’s phone and prenatal vitamins were found in her car. Since Kierra’s disappearance, Joseph said he has quit his job in Wisconsin and moved to Chicago to search “day and night” for his daughter.
“I’m trying to stand out here and stay strong for my daughter and my grandbaby,” he said. “I do my daily routine – pass out fliers, trying to get the word out. There’s a lot of love in this family. There is no way in hell she would run away.”
Authorities – who Kierra’s father is confident will get answers in his daughter’s case – told Dateline they, too, suspect foul play in the young woman’s disappearance.
“We have a pretty good idea of what transpired. Now it’s a matter of finding evidence,” Chief Guglielmi told Dateline. “We are out of the opinion business. We base everything we do on fact and evidence. A detective’s personal opinion, quite frankly, doesn’t matter.”
Chief Guglielmi said police know there is “a minimum of two or three people of interest” who were the last to see Kierra before she disappeared.
“We’ve narrowed down our group here to a personal associate of hers -- a friend -- who was one of the last people to see her,” he told Dateline. Chief Guglielmi declined to comment on that person’s name, how Kierra knows them, or the other associated people of interest. “We haven’t found her yet, and that puts us in a difficult position.”
Joseph says he is holding on to hope that is daughter is still alive.
“I just want the world to know I love my baby and my grandbaby. It will be closure to know my baby is safe and home. That would be the blessing of a lifetime,” Joseph said. “The way the situation is now, I am keeping hope. Because there are young women who have been missing for longer than Kierra has, and they’ve been found safely. So I am keeping hope.”
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the whereabouts of Kierra. Additionally, the National Association of Letter Carriers is offering $3,500 for information on Kierra’s whereabouts.
Kierra Coles is described as being 5'4" tall and weighing about 125 lbs. with black hair and brown eyes. Kierra has a tattoo of a heart on her right hand, and a tattoo that says “lucky Libra” on her back. Kierra would be approximately eight months pregnant today. Anyone with information on Kierra’s whereabouts is asked to call the Chicago Police Department’s Area South Special Victims Unit at (312) 747-8274 or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at (877) 876-2455.
Bianca Hillier covers missing person and homicide cases for NBC News.