Local News

Warrant issued for mother of missing Durham boy

Posted March 8, 2011 12:04 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2011 3:57 p.m. EST

— The mother of a missing Durham boy failed to appear in court Tuesday to face a drug charge, and authorities on Wednesday issued a warrant for her arrest.

Vania Rae Sisk is the mother of Jadon Higganbothan, 5, who Durham police say hasn't been seen since October. Sisk hasn't been charged with any crime in connection with his disappearance but was charged last month with possession of marijuana.

Sisk's attorney, LiBria Stephens, declined to comment Wednesday.

Durham police have searched the home at 2109 Pear Tree Lane several times in recent weeks for evidence in the disappearances of Jadon and Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, who investigators say was part of a group of people who lived with Sisk and her son.

During one search, investigators said, they found a man identified as Pete Moses, who was wanted on outstanding weapons charges, hiding in a cabinet inside the home.

Search warrants from the Teller County Sheriff's Office in Colorado state that Sisk moved to the Colorado Springs area with members of the Black Hebrews, a religious sect that believes it descends directly from the ancient tribes of Israel.

Colorado authorities said they became involved in the case last month when Durham police called to ask them about the whereabouts of Jadon and Sisk.

Authorities went to a Woodland Park, Colo., home on Feb. 23 to ask Sisk about the missing boy, but neither she nor her son was there. Ten other children, including three of Sisk's, were taken from the home and placed in the custody of the Teller County, Colo., Department of Social Services.

Moses' family said Tuesday that he was in the home in Colorado at the time and said he was "afraid for his life." They said they haven't heard from him since then.

"Pete Moses is not part of any movement such as Black Hebrews. He has no part of any cult, nor does any member of his family," his relatives said in a statement.

Sisk has since spoken to authorities in Colorado and Durham police. She told local investigators that she left Jadon with an acquaintance on Feb. 20, but police said her statements were inconsistent.

According to the warrants, a confidential Durham police informant who is a former member of the Black Hebrews told investigators that Jadon was shot by a member of the group in October while they were still in North Carolina. The body was wrapped in plastic and stuffed into a suitcase, and the suitcase was disposed of a few days later, the warrants state.

The informant also told police that McKoy got into an argument with a member of the Black Hebrews in December, and she was beaten up and shot to death by members of the group. They later disposed of her body, the warrants state.

McKoy's family in Washington, D.C., reported her missing in early February. Her mother, Yvonne McKoy, said Wednesday that police told her they haven't been able to substantiate the informant's allegations.

"I'm at a point where I want facts and I want proof," she said. "I can't go on what someone has said – he say, she say. That's not concrete enough for me, no. I want proof, and I want facts."

Although Yvonne McKoy fears her daughter is dead, but she is holding out hope she is still alive.

"In my heart, I'm going to still believe it, yes. I will still hold on to that. I will hold on to that unless someone proves it otherwise," she said.

Anyone with information on Jadon's or McKoy's whereabouts is asked to call the Durham Police Department at 919-560-4440, extension 29335, or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.