What happened to Daisy Hayes?
On May 1, the 65-year-old woman’s niece dropped her off at the Kendall Campbell Apartments at 6360 S. Minerva.
Kendall Campbell Apartments is one of the Chicago Housing Authority’s senior buildings, managed by the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation.
The niece watched Hayes walk in to the building.
No one has seen this senior citizen since.
Teresa Smith, the missing woman’s distraught daughter, suspects the worst.
“You know your parent is out there somewhere. You don’t know if they are deceased or anything,” Smith told me.
Hayes does not have a history of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
The last time Smith spoke to her mother by phone was the weekend before Mother’s Day. The daughter, who lives in Chicago, was visiting Carbondale at the time. Though she was unable to connect with her mother on Mother’s Day, she said she wasn’t overly concerned. Unlike young folk, her mother isn’t the type to obsess over a cell phone.
“She would lose it or break it and wait a month or so before getting another one,” her daughter said. “I’m, like: She’ll call me because she wants some money for Mother’s Day.”
But Hayes didn’t call. And her daughter’s calls went straight to voicemail.
When Smith returned to the city and checked with relatives, she was shocked to learn they hadn’t heard from Hayes either.
“That was not normal,” Smith said.
She went to her mother’s building two days later.
Visitors have to sign in with a security guard, and no one is allowed to roam the hallways.
After signing in, Smith took an elevator to her mother’s unit on the 15th floor and knocked on the door.
The daughter then went to an apartment on the seventh floor where her mother’s “gentleman-friend” lived. No one answered there, either.
Smith said another building resident told her the man had moved out.
“She had been dating this guy since 2014,” Smith said, declining to give his name because of the investigation.
She filed a missing person’s report with the police that same day.
“If there was any foul play, it happened in that building because no one on the street would want to hurt her,” she said. “She knows too many people.”
A Chicago police spokesman said this is still a missing person’s case.
“We are awaiting some results from the state crime lab, and we did speak to a person of interest this week, but no charges as of yet,” spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
Smith said her mother’s keys, money and cell phone were not in her apartment
“Her comb and brush was in the bathroom sink, and her bed wasn’t made up the way she makes her bed up,” Smith said. “My mother is a neat freak. Whatever she touches is put back in its place.”
On Wednesday, the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization held a vigil outside the senior building.
“This was a 65-year-old woman that was 5-feet-2 and weighed 87 pounds,” said Shannon Bennett, a community organizer. “The daughter hasn’t been updated about progress in months.”
On Friday, a Cook County state’s sttorney’s spokesman described the case as a “very active” investigation.
Since there is no body and no DNA evidence, solving this mystery will depend heavily on witnesses.
Unfortunately, residents of the senior building have been reluctant to get involved.
“You don’t get the people’s help when you need it,” Smith said. “People turn their backs and shut their doors.”
She is also frustrated by the length of time it’s taking to get answers.
“I call the police, and they keep saying: ‘We are working on this case’ and ‘to be patient.’ They are not helpful at all. I believe they know something I don’t know,” Smith said.
One consequence of the city’s astonishingly low homicide clearance rate is that people in Smith’s situation worry that someone could get away with murder.
After all, in 2017 the police solved 114 of 650 murders that occurred — just 17.5 percent. It would help immensely if people in this predicament could get more support — such as regular updates and phone calls — from compassionate advocates while detectives and prosecutors do their jobs.
Smith won’t get any peace until she finds out what has happened to her mother.
She also needs to know someone cares.