After months of searching, Breasia Terrell's remains have been discovered. In a news conference on March 31, Davenport, Iowa police confirmed that remains discovered by fishermen last week was Breasia. Breasia, who was first reported missing last July, has been the subject of a lengthy search, and her parents have long prayed that she would eventually return home safely.
Who are Breasia Terrell's parents?
Throughout the investigation into her disappearance, Breasia's mother Aishia Lankford has been in the public eye, frequently encouraging her community to continue looking for her daughter. In the wake of the discovery of Breasia's remains, Lankford said "words cannot describe the heartache and emptiness that we feel," in a statement to The Des Moines Register. "Our love for Breasia has gotten us through the past nine months and will continue to see us through as we fight for justice."
Breasia went missing after spending the night with her half-brother in the apartment of his father, Henry Earl Dinkins. Dinkins is currently in custody on unrelated sex offender charges and is considered a person of interest in the case. He has not yet been identified as a suspect.
Lankford shut her social media down after Breasia's disappearance.
In an interview with The Quad-City Times, Aishia said that she shut down her Facebook account after it became too much to handle in the wake of Breasia's disappearance.
“I shut my profile down,” she said. “So there were posts about my daughter and the search, and soon people were posting about me."
“All of the sudden the search for a little girl is stuff about whether I’m a good mom," she continued. "And I admit, I fell in it at first. I shot back and defended myself. Then I realized none of this is about me. Even if people think I’m worthless, they should still care about what happens to Breasia.”
Aishia said that, even after leaving social media, she was still subject to harassment from psychics and a barrage of rumors and hearsay about her daughter's whereabouts.
“How can you feel anything when a person tells you that your daughter is alive and an hour later you hear she’s dead?” Lankford said during the interview, which was conducted shortly after Breasia's disappearance. “I can’t even tell you how it feels. And the whole time, you can’t think about how you feel anyways because your daughter’s still out there.”
"I don’t sleep. I can’t really eat. I haven’t been hungry,” she continued. “I feel empty. Like, just empty. People want to know why I’m not crying all the time. I have nothing. My daughter is gone and no one seems to know anything and I have no idea how to feel. I have to have hope.”
After Breasia's remains were found, Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski promised that the investigation into her case would continue. “What’s important to know is this: the work of our investigators is not over," he said. "Because we are fully committed to the integrity of the investigation, we cannot comment on specific details – other than to say we are professionally, thoroughly and with our deepest commitment to justice, continuing the investigation."