The FBI are investigating the claims of a woman in Texas who says she is Diamond Bradley – a young girl who disappeared from her Chicago home more than 20 years ago in what became one of the city’s largest missing person cases.
Following the revelation, the woman has reportedly submitted cheek swabs and fingerprints to the federal bureau to be tested for a DNA match.
Three-year-old Diamond Bradley and her sister Tionda, 10, disappeared from their family’s apartment in Bronzeville, Illinois in summer of 2001.
This week a video was posted on the social media platform, TikTok, where a woman, off-camera, can be heard saying that she is “here with Diamond Bradley”. The video, reportedly shot in a parking lot in Harris County, Texas, shows a woman scrolling through news reports on a phone about the disappearance of Diamond Bradley.
“This is Diamond Bradley,” says the voice off-camera, while the woman looks at photos of the missing child on the phone.
“Can I see your scar?” the person, asks the alleged Ms Bradley. The woman agrees and drops her head, where the camera zooms in on what is supposedly a scar.
Sheliah Bradley-Smith, the missing girl’s great-aunt and the family’s spokesperson for the last two decades, has been in contact with the woman who does not give another name in the TikTok clip, according to local TV station, ABC7.
“A young lady reached out on Facebook,” Ms Bradley-Smith said. “She believes she is Diamond Bradley, my missing niece.”
The two women had a lengthy phone call, Ms Bradley-Smith said.
“She pretty much said that she remembered being in a car and being around Tionda for a while, but then she said she was taken away and never saw her again,” she added.
On 6 July, 2001, Diamond and her sister Tionda left a note for their mother, Tracey Bradley, saying they were going to a nearby playground. The girls never returned.
Since then, the family has kept up their search for the girls. They believe the sisters were abducted by someone they knew, the family told NBC News in 2021. Ms Bradley-Smith said that she believes the girls were coached to write the note for their mother by the person who took them.
“The person who took the girls was right there beside [Tionda] — telling her exactly what to write,” she said. “She was being coached.”
The family believe the grammar used was too advanced for 10-year-old Tionda, and that leaving a note was unusual as the child would have just called her mother, according to NBC News.
The Chicago Police Department launched a massive search for the girls and interviewed more than 100 sex offenders. But no new leads or suspects have been identified since their disappearance and the case remains open.
The disappearances shocked Chicago, dominating the headlines and resulting in several false tips as to their whereabouts. The most recent false tip was made in 2019, when another woman in Texas claimed to be Diamond.
“It’s been heartbreaking. It will lift you up, and give you the hope, and slam you back down to the ground,” Ms Bradley-Smith told ABC7.
Ms Bradley-Smith added that the woman who claims to be Diamond is the first to express excitement at the idea of taking a DNA test.