Bradley Sisters Still Missing 10 Years Later

Updated 07/06/11 – 6:37 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — It was 10 years ago Wednesday when Tionda and Diamond Bradley disappeared from their home on the city’s South Side, and the family says it feels like yesterday.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller reports, the girls’ family is asking for the public’s help.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller reports

If they are still alive, Tionda Bradley would be 20, while Diamond would be 13.

The Bradleys’ extended family comes together once a year, determined to keep the disappearance of Diamond and Tionda in the public eye. But it’s something they live with each and every day and have now, for 10 years.

The Bradley sisters’ great aunt, Sheila Bradley-Smith does not believe the girls are still alive. But she says she is hoping against the impossible that they might be.

Meanwhile, the scars of the girls’ disappearance are still fresh in the family’s mind.

“It still seems like yesterday to us,” Bradley-Smith said. “Time stands still totally for us.”

Because she believes the girls are probably dead, she is asking for some very specific help – to search for their bodies.

“Anyone with farmland that has abandoned barns or storehouses, I’m asking those people in particular to go out and survey and search on their land, places that they could have been buried,” she said.

Michael Carter, the girls’ oldest cousin, was 13 when they vanished.

“Some nights you lay awake at night, you’re wondering, your mind is racing and you lose a lot of sleep and it affects your life, your daily life,” Carter told CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley.

Police launched one of the biggest manhunts in Chicago history after the girls disappeared, searching open fields, railroad cars, and 5,000 abandoned buildings. It mostly turned up nothing.

Their grandmother, Mary Bradley, said she truly believes police have done everything they can to find Diamond and Tionda.

Today, Tionda would be 20, Diamond would be 13.

Sheila Bradley-Smith said she reached a new breaking point at a ceremony for missing children.

“As were were standing there lighting the candles, a person passed me a second candle and I was trying to give it back to the person, but then it finally occurred to me that i was the only one who had two candles,” she said. “And everyone else there had one.”

Family members have been living on hope but are realistic as well.

“I don’t know if they’re dead or alive. Hopefully, I wish they would be alive but if not, I’m prepared for it,” Mary Bradley said.

Police say the investigation into the girls’ disappearance is in the Cold Case Unit, and is a priority for the detective who is assigned to the case.

Bradley-Smith says she is encouraged by the new investigator, Det. Ed Carroll.

“He is really vigilant,” she said. “He’s a real go-getter.”

While police could not confirm it, Bradley-Smith says there are some promising leads in the case.

“Some valid tips have come in, and also some more evidence may have come in,” she said.

Family members still believe that someone saw something and knows something about what happened to the girls and that, eventually, they’ll talk.

Tionda and Diamond were last seen in their apartment complex near 35th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue on July 6, 2001. Their last communication was a note saying they were going to play at a park.

A Web site,, remained active for several years but has now been taken down. But another site mounted by Bradley-Smith is still active, and points out there is still at $30,000 reward in the case.

In 2008, a private detective concluded that a mysterious Internet picture that appeared on a MySpace profile was in, fact Tionda Bradley, but that conclusion later proved incorrect.

The family will hold a vigil Wednesday evening for the girls.

  • Just Axin

    The family’s never been straight with the police on this one.

    • Nonya

      How do you know ? Are you a family member ? Shut the H*LL up !

      • Darrell Johnson

        there both alive and reproducing chi’llins by the dozens

      • g-man

        Easy—— remember that the girls momma got herself a lawyer and demanded her right to not talk to the police about her missing kids THATS RIGHT the kids momma don;t wanna talk to the police Why would that be ?????

  • marsares

    Ayone who harms a child should be shot dead!

  • sasha


  • sasha

    nonya think about it, who in there right mind leaves there kids unattended to supposedly go to work and you supposedly couldnt find a babysitter which is bs, shes not looking for her kids like she should, its a brush off, why? cuz she had something to do with her kids disapperance. therefore she is as guilty as casey anthony who murdered her child and got away with it!!! nothing adds up. THE MOM IS GUILTY!!!

  • rebecca b

    I remember when this happened. It was heart breaking. Still is. Unfortunately it is probably true they are no longer alive. Why do people do this to innocent children who could have had happy lives?

  • Lyndia

    I hate to think that the mother has something to do with the disappearance of her children but the mother has never cooperated with the police as I recall. Oh yes Sasha, I believe casey anthony was guilty too.

    • jsm

      and Susan Smith and thousands of other “mothers”

  • Andi M

    Don’t know if I can say their mom is guilty like some of you. All I know is this case haunts me every year around this this time, as I had just giving birth to my son. He was premature and easily could’ve passed on, therefore my only thought was how heartbreaking for this family- losing two precious little gems. Tionda and Diamond, just know where ever you may be there are some of us who still remember and look into the faces of strangers- just in case.

    • Kesha

      Well Said!!! I have two daughters (10 n 12) and I pray for them everytime they walk out the door to go to school, the library or even outside to just to play because you never know who is watching

  • unknown

    The rumor around that area is that the mom sold them…sad i hope someone finds them

  • Larry

    This was a pretty big story at the time that was reported on almost daily until The Attacks. Then, it was all forgotten very quickly.

  • shawn jones

    I agree with “unknown” the mother sold her children. So sad!!!

  • sasha


  • Linda Zyla

    I’d like to know why the mother wasn’t arrested for leaving the kids alone. And where the hell was DCFS? I beleive the mother probably sold the kids to support her dope habit.

  • Anthony Ellis

    The mother knows where her children are. The father took them across the water to his home country, wherever that is. Ask her where he is from and you will find those kids.

  • Leroy Goldberg

    Wherever they are now, however they are now, they are much better off.

    • Vince

      I Hope You’re Right.

    • B


  • southlooper

    Alien abductions? Also – still missing –
    Jesse Ross
    John Spira
    Stacey Peterson
    Lisa Stebic

    Where ARE these people?

  • Tanya Livingston

    Why does the mother never talk to the media? How come it is always a designated spokesperson? This time its the great aunt. Mother has a smart lawyer who told her to maintain a low profile unlike that Florida mother.



  • Jaye

    Torrence, you & your loved ones are definitely in my prayers.

  • god plz help

    she aint got those kids they were my niece friends they use to b at our house alot and im praying for those kids to return she the mom doesnt like to speak because of people like u who critcizes people who r already suffering and i no the mother she does not do drugs she was a great parent kids always looked nice hair stayed combed god please help those kids find they way home

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