Original Report: Search leads police to forest preserve

July 6, 2009 9:18:02 AM PDT
An extensive search including a park lagoon and a forest preserve Tuesday failed to come up with any trace of two young sisters who have been missing from their South Side home since Friday. Tionda Bradley, 10, and her 3-year-old sister, Diamond Bradley, were last seen around 6 a.m. Friday in the area of 35th Street and Lake Park, near their home, after their mother left them alone and went to work, police Youth Investigation Commander Roberta Bartik said.

The girls' mother, Tracey Bradley, returned home at 3526 S. Lake Park Av. at about 11 a.m. Friday and found a handwritten note stating that Tionda had taken her sister to the Doolittle Elementary School, 521 E. 35th St. But no one there reported seeing them.

Since then, a dozen FBI agents were brought into the search at the request of Chicago police although there have been no signs of foul play.

One of the places searched Tuesday was the area of 99th Street and Vincennes Avenue, police News Affairs Officer Patrice Harper, but she would not give the reason why. Officers also searched a pair of mounds in the Dan Ryan Woods a mile north of there, according to a news report. This was the first time the search had gone poutside the girls' neighborhood.

Fire Department divers searched the Washington Park lagoon, near 60th, on Tuesday but found nothing suspicious, police News Affairs Sgt. Robert Cargie said. A search of garbage containers near 87th street also turned up nothing, said Cargie.

FBI spokeswoman Virginia Wright said "about 12, possibly more" FBI agents were "doing everything from canvassing (the area) and assisting." But she said this was just a "missing persons" case.

The FBI also had an evidence response team on standby, said Wright.

The girls were not with their father or any family members, Bartik said. "We're looking for good, concrete leads," the commander said.

Over the weekend, the search included the police Marine Unit, the Fire Department, helicopters, tactical teams, door-to-door searches and searches of areas along railroad tracks, Bartik said.

A Canine Unit search was conducted on Sunday in the area of 37th Street and Lake Park Avenue, police News Affairs Deputy Director Pat Camden reported.

In addition, fliers were being handed out in communities, she said.

Wentworth Area Youth Lt. Robert Biebel described Tionda as 3 feet 10 inches tall, weighing around 70 pounds, and with a slim build. Diamond was around 2 feet tall and weighed around 40 pounds. Both girls had their hair in ponytails.

Anyone with information about the two girls should call the Wentworth Area Youth Division at 312/747-8385.

Mayor Richard M. Daley was asked at an unrelated event Tuesday whether the mother should have left the girls alone. "I really don't know," he said. "I really don't have the facts. The first thing we are worried about is the safety of the two children."


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