Local News

Halifax teen's disappearance still a mystery

Posted February 22, 2011 2:25 p.m. EST
Updated February 22, 2011 3:09 p.m. EST

— A year after Jalesa Reynolds was last seen using a public computer in Scotland Neck, authorities say the case is moving forward – even though there’s been no sign of the missing 18-year-old.

“The case has proceeded in a positive direction and is active and ongoing,” Scotland Neck Police Chief Joe Williams said Tuesday. “Clearly, the recovery of Miss Jalesa Reynolds is an important event for the investigation to move into a different phase.”

Reynolds, whom family members have described as a quiet and shy girl, was last seen Feb. 22, 2010, at Halifax County Memorial Library. Investigators believe that based on her computer activity at the library, she might have gone to a home on Cemetery Road after leaving the library.

Details about the investigation, however, are scarce, partly because of a gag order issued shortly after the disappearance.

Although it was lifted months ago, Williams declined to say anything more about the case Tuesday, other than investigators do suspect foul play.

Authorities have focused their case on a few individuals, including a man Reynolds might have visited that day, but there’s been no persons of interest publicly named.

Williams stopped short Tuesday of saying whether he thought the girl might be dead.

“I would say, at this time, we are probably leaning in that direction, and that’s all I’m going to say at this point,” he said.

Frederick Lassiter, Reynolds’ cousin and a spokesman for her family, however, said that, although the family remains hopeful, they realize the likelihood is not good that she’ll return home alive.

“A year of not hearing from her, we can pretty much say we’re looking for the worst,” he said.

Family members have planned a vigil for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Pilgrim Way of the Cross Church, at 314 E. 16th St., to remember her.

The governor’s office is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction in the case, and Williams urged anyone with information they might have to come forward.

“I want to bring the attention to this case so it will move forward,” he said. “The more people that know about it – the last interview we did, did generate some positive results, and I think this will help.”

Reynolds is 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs about 220 pounds. She was last seen wearing tan pants, a pink shirt and a denim jacket with a flower design on the back.

“Not a day goes by that you don’t think of your loved one – where she’s at, what condition she’s in, but through God, we’re going to hope and just keep praying,” Lassiter said. “We’re just looking for some resolution.”

“We’re just hoping and praying, one way or another, to just bring her back home,” he added.