LAURYN DICKENS – ENDANGERED MISSING September 7, 2010 – USMCC000190LTWH – UPDATED 05.31.2013
Date of Birth: November 24, 2009
Height: 1’9” Weight: 17 lbs
Hair: Black Eyes: Brown
Missing: September 7, 2010 From: Memphis, TN
Last Seen Wearing: Brown onsie with pink flowers and polka dots.
Lauryn lived with her mother, Shakara Dickens, 19, and her 3-year old brother at the Raleigh Village Apartments in 4900 block of Yale Road in Memphis, Tennessee at the time of her disappearance. Shakara stated that at 11:00 a.m. on September 7, 2010, she gave Lauryn to a strange woman who claimed to be a friend of Lauryn’s father, Benjamin Norfleet. She said the woman came to her house because she’d told Norfleet she could no longer care for Lauryn. Shakara described the woman as Caucasian, with shoulder-length straight gray hair parted in the center. She was in her forties and had glasses. She wore a white, button down blouse, khaki Capri pants and white closed-toe sandals. Sharakara gave Lauryn to the woman without asking her name or contact information, and never saw either of them again.
Shakara didn’t report Lauryn as a missing person until September 15, more than a week after her disappearance. Her parents insisted on it and brought her to the police station when they realized Lauryn was missing. The police were immediately suspicious of her story. Norfleet, who was in jail for unrelated charges when Lauryn disappeared, said he never sent anyone to pick up Lauryn and didn’t even know any woman matching that description. He stated he hadn’t spoken to Shakara since late August, beginning on September 1st, she suddenly started blocking his calls and didn’t tell him why. No one besides Shakara reported seeing Lauryn after September 6th. Shakara also gave inconsistent explanations for Lauryn’s disappearance, at one point, she claimed the baby was with Norfleet’s parents.
Cadaver dogs indicated the presence of human remains in Lauryn and Shakara’s apartment and in the car Shakara drove. A week after Shakara reported Lauryn’s disappearance, she was charged with aggravated child neglect, child endangerment and false reporting. Court documents stated the police believed Lauryn was deceased, Lauryn’s body was never recovered.
In January 2011 Shakara was charged with first-degree murder and was held on $4,000,000.00 bond.
At Shakara`s trial in March 2012, Norfleet and a cellmate of hers were among the witnesses who testified against her. The cellmate claimed Shakara broke down during a religious sermon in jail and said `God would not forgive me for what I`ve done` and that she had done `what I was in for`. Authorities also found a poem she had written in her cell which the characterized as an admission of guilt. Shakara`s defense attorney argued that there was a total lack of physical evidence and insufficient proof that she had harmed or killed her baby. She was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, second degree murder, child neglect and filing a false report. Until then, she had no prior convictions. In June of 2012, as part of an agreement with prosecutors, Shakara admitted her guilt in Lauryn`s death. She stated she smothered the baby by placing her hands over Lauryn`s mouth and nose until she went limp because she was frustrated by her crying, then wrapped her body in a towel, placed her in a garbage bag, and dumped the baby girl in a trash bin, which was emptied a few days later. She said that she was stressed at the time because her work hours had changed and she couldn`t find a babysitter. She expressed remorse for her actions. Shakara was sentenced to 19 years in prison without the possibility of parole. She could have faced up to 54 years, and could be released in as little as 14 years. Lauryn`s body has never been located.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Lauryn Dickens, please immediately contact the Memphis Police Department at:
The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children at: