Six years ago Sunday, Diamond Bynum and her young nephew King Walker left a family home in Gary, Indiana, and never returned.
“It’s like they vanished from the face of the Earth,” La Shann Walker, Bynum’s mother and King’s grandmother, told the Sun-Times before a Sunday news conference in Daley Plaza.
She insisted the Gary Police Department should be doing more to crack the cold case, which involves two people who are especially vulnerable. Bynum, now 27, suffers from a genetic disorder and is mentally stunted, while King is just 8.
She said her calls to a police sergeant leading the case have either gone unanswered or unreturned, and she still doesn’t understand why the FBI or other agencies weren’t tapped to provide assistance.
King’s parents, Ariana Walker and Joshua Williams, later claimed authorities have failed to provide a critical police report, which they believe is vital for them to conduct their own probe with the assistance of a private investigator.
“I don’t feel like they’ve been helpful at all during the whole process,” Ariana Walker said. “It’s kind of been like they’ve been fighting us every step of the way.”
Williams said he believes police officials are now “trying to cover their tracks. I really think they dropped the ball from the beginning, and that’s why they’re pushing to like not release the original police report.”
A Gary police spokeswoman didn’t respond to questions from the Sun-Times.
La Shann Walker believes the disappearances of King and Bynum could potentially be traced to a GoLo Gas station in Gary, where she said a search dog lost their scents and a witness reported seeing them. However, she noted that surveillance video from the gas station was later deleted, and her loved ones weren’t seen in the footage that was ultimately recovered and reviewed by investigators.
Their scents were also detected at a vacant home, according to La Shawn Walker. But, like with the video at the gas station, that evidence apparently hasn’t led to a break in the investigation, which she claimed amounts to a systemic failure.
“They failed Diamond and King very badly,” she said. “And I just don’t know where to pick up the pieces.”
Disillusioned with the lack of progress, she encouraged officials to restart the investigation and interrogate potential witnesses again. Meanwhile, her frustrations boiled over Sunday after officials in Gary pulled out of another news conference with the family later in the day.
While the family has different theories about what happened, they’re still holding out hope King and Bynum will return home.
“We’re going to have so much fun,” said La Shann Walker, envisioning a reunion. “I’m going to try my best to teach her about strangers and all that type of stuff about wandering off. We’re just gonna make up for all the missed birthdays, and hopefully, we can go on a vacation or something and just spend time with each other.”