Twenty-four years later, Teekah Lewis’s family still seeks answers

Teekah Lewis, a MMIW from Tacoma, Washington would be turning 27 this year.

Just minutes from Tacoma Community College, a Home Depot sits upon what used to be the New Frontier Bowling Alley. It is also the last known location of Tacoma two-year-old Teekah Lewis. Twenty-four years later, her family and investigators are seeking new leads.

On January 23rd, 1999, Teekah and her relatives gathered to have a family bowling night. Although it was packed, Teekah’s family kept a communal close watch on the toddler as she moved between the bowling lanes and the arcade, only a few steps away. She was last seen at 10:30 PM playing a coin-operated racing game. Fifteen seconds later, she disappeared.

Teekah is of mixed racial descent (black, white, and Chippewa Native American) and was last seen wearing a tweety bird shirt, white sweatpants, and little Air Jordan sneakers. She was described as a loving and shy ‘momma’s girl’ who would have never willingly wandered away. She has black hair and brown eyes.

Horrifically, there is very little evidence to go on. Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington (MMIWW) reports that a dark-colored 1990s Pontiac Grand Am was seen speeding out of the parking lot. There was also a person of interest, described as an adult white male in his 30’s, between 5’11” and 6’ tall, curly brown hair with a mustache, and a distinctive pock-marked face. It is possible he may have led her away into the men’s restroom. As her kidnapping happened in less than a minute, investigators feel that someone was most likely watching Teekah and her relatives, waiting to strike.

The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) movement works to end the extreme violence faced by Indigenous women and girls in North America. According to data collected in 2018, Native women and girls are murdered at 10 times the rate of the national average and almost half of Native women and girls have experienced stalking in their lives. 96 percent  of sexual violence perpetuated against Native women and girls is committed by a non-Native perpetrator. Despite these gruesome numbers, the mainstream press and media are almost silent on this issue. MMIW works tirelessly to ensure that cases like Teekah’s don’t fall into obscurity. 

As of December 2022, the Tacoma Police Department has released a new age-progressed photograph of Teekah in the hopes that it will spark new leads. The person that did this is still at large and possibly still in Tacoma. Teekah herself may be out there, unaware that she is a kidnapping victim. Regardless, somebody knows something about Teekah’s case. They must come forward. Teekah’s family deserves answers and justice.