TA’NIYAH MONIQUE LEONARD – ENDANGERED MISSING October 19, 2002 – UPDATED 04.12.2013
TA’NIYAH MONIQUE LEONARD
Ta’Niyah Monique Leonard
Date of Birth: November 16, 2001
Height: 2’6” Weight: 20 lbs
Hair: Black Eyes: Brown
Missing: October 19, 2002 From: Bartow, FL
Distinguishing Features: Pierced Ears. She has a light birthmark on her right leg.
Ta’Niyah’s mother, Miranda Jones, claims she last saw the baby girl when she dropped her off at her boyfriend’s, Michael Lewis, apartment at the Azalea Gardens complex on Golfview Avenue in Bartow, FL, at 10:30 PM so he could babysit Ta’Niyah while Jones went out with friends. Lewis claimes that Jones picked up Ta’Niyah at 8:30 or 9:00 AM the next day and he has not seen Ta’Niyah since.
On October 20, 2002, Jones phoned police to report a physical altercation between her and Lewis. She said she went to Lewis’ apartment on the evening of October 19 to get Ta’Niyah, and he told her the little girl was at a friend’s home. Jones went to the friend’s home and found it vacant, so she returned to Lewis’ apartment and confronted him. Lewis allegedly threatened her and kicked her, knocking out several of her teeth. Lewis claimed Jones attacked him with a kitchen knife, cutting his hands, and he hit her in self-defence. Blood was found in the apartment and pictures were taken of the wounds on Lewis’ hands.
Police say it is possible that Ta’Niyah is being held as a pawn in a domestic dispute between her parents. In a press interview in 2006, Jones stated she believed Ta’Niyah was alive and in the care of Lewis’ family members. She said there was a dispute over the identity of Ta’Niyah’s biological father and a paternity test had been scheduled for sometime after her disappearance. Jones stated she believed Lewis took Ta’Niyah and hid her because he was afraid he would lose access to Ta’Niyah if it turned out he was not her father.
Ta’Niyah is considered to be endangered. There is no physical evidence to indicate the baby girl is dead, and some investigators do believe she may still be alive. However, Jones and Lewis, who continue to date each other occasionally, had another baby girl a year after Ta’Niyah’s disappearance and the Florida Department of Children and Families moved to terminate their parental rights towards the infant. Their court petition stated Ta’Niyah was injured in a confrontation between her parents and is presumed deceased. Jones and Lewis’ second child has since been adopted by another family. Lewis has been arrested at least six times since Ta’Niyah’s disappearance, mainly on charges related to disputes with Jones.
Investigators believe that either Lewis or Jones is responsible for Ta’Niyah’s disappearance and probable death, but they cannot proceed with charges against either of them due to a lack of evidence and due to the conflicting stories. Prosecutors offered them immunity from any charges if they would return Ta’Niyah alive, but neither accepted the offer. Each one has implicated the other in the little girl’s disappearance, but no corroboration can be found for either version of events.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Ta’Niyah Monique Leonard, please immediately contact the Bartow Police Department at:
The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children at: