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Dad of missing pregnant woman: ’All I can do is keep hope alive’

Joseph Coles holds up a missing poster for his daughter, Kierra Coles, during a press conference Friday in Pilsen. | Tom Schuba/Chicago Sun-Times

Joseph Coles had expected Tuesday to be a joyous day.

That’s when his daughter, Kierra Coles, was due to give birth to her first child.

But instead of spending the day in the hospital, welcoming a new grandchild, Joseph Coles likely will walk around the South Side, handing out flyers with photos of his missing daughter and limited details about her disappearance.

“We didn’t even know the gender,” Joseph Coles told the Sun-Times.

“All I can do is keep hope alive,” he said. “I take my grandkids, we pass out flyers every day. We don’t miss a day.”

MITCHELL: Where is police urgency in case of this missing woman?

Chicago police said Kierra Coles, a U.S. Postal Service employee, went missing Oct. 2 after leaving her apartment near 82nd Street and Coles Avenue. Two weeks later, the department announced that “foul play” was suspected.

Since then, few new details have emerged.

Kierra Coles was reported missing Oct. 2 after leaving her apartment near 82nd Street and Coles Avenue. | Chicago police
Kierra Coles was reported missing Oct. 2 after leaving her apartment near 82nd Street and Coles Avenue. | Chicago police

During a press conference Friday at the Rudy Lozano Public Library in Pilsen, Joseph Coles called for more assistance from the public and the agencies investigating his daughter’s disappearance — including Chicago Police and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which put up $25,000 of the more than $28,000 in reward money raised after she was reported missing.

“I just want people to come out and show their support,” said Joseph Coles, who quit his factory job in Wisconsin and moved to Chicago after his daughter went missing.

A CPD spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for new information about the case, and officers who spoke at the press conference didn’t provide an update.

Friday’s news conference also featured relatives of several other high-profile missing person cases; that included Shelia Bradley, the aunt of Tionda and Diamond Bradley, as well as Norma Peterson, Stacy Peterson’s sister-in-law.

Shelia Bradley has been searching for her nieces since they went missing nearly 18 years ago from their apartment near 35th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. At the time, Tionda was 10 and Diamond was 3.

Shelia Bradley speaks about her missing nieces, Tionda and Diamond Bradley, during a press conference in Pilsen on April 19, 2019. | Tom Schuba/Sun-Times
Shelia Bradley speaks about her missing nieces, Tionda and Diamond Bradley, during a press conference in Pilsen on April 19, 2019. | Tom Schuba/Sun-Times

Both Shelia Bradley and Joseph Coles said they use Facebook to bring attention to the cases that have come to define their lives. However, Joseph Coles claimed it can be difficult to get past some of the negative comments polluting social media.

“It’s a hard thing to be out here looking for my daughter [and] I get the negative people saying the wrong negative things,” Joseph Coles said.

“You heard that misery loves company? That is true facts,” he added.

Shelia Bradley has had a more positive experience with networking on social media. Her family and others have started a support group to investigate and bring attention to missing cases that have gone cold.

“Once the cameras go away, we’re left home alone with our own tears,” Shelia Bradley said.

“But we keep each other uplifted,” she added. “Families deserve closure.”