‘I’m not giving up’: Mother continues search for missing daughter, starts foundation to help others

Updated: Apr. 26, 2019 at 8:41 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It has been almost three years since Toni Jacobs has gotten the chance to wrap her arms around her daughter Keeshae.

“I just made a post the other day, why can’t I find KeeShae Jacobs? But I am not giving up,” Toni Jacobs said.

On Sept. 26th, 2016, a then 21-year-old Keeshae told family she was headed to a friends house near Chimbarazo Park, and also said she would be back. Family and friends continue to wait for her return, while so much remains a painful mystery.

Family and friends say it was not like Keeshae to not call her mother. Toni almost immediately knew something was wrong.

“I feel like somebody has her and they won''t let her get to me.” Jacobs said in a 2016 interview. “I don’t think she just left me because she wouldn’t do that.”

Over the years, police have gotten tips, but the investigation continues. In 2017, Richmond Police revealed foul play is suspected in Keeshae’s disappearance.

“They’re saying someone incarcerated is aware, they say they know what happened, where she’s at, or have information period,” said Jacobs. "As of right now they say they’re not going to see this person again, because the person won’t talk.”

Keeshae’s story has been shared nationwide over the years, but Jacobs feels another family tragedy, pushed Keeshae’s disappearance to the forefront of the hearts and minds of Richmonders.

“After my son got murdered, I think that pushed it to another level,” said Jacobs. “It flashed brother of missing woman murdered.”

In January 2017, just four months after Keeshae’s disappearance, Deavon Jacobs, Keeshae’s older brother was shot and killed. James Henshaw was arrested, charged and convicted of murder, but in January 2019, a judge ordered a new trial which will take place in June 2019.

Deavon leaves behind a son who is now 6 years old, and his love Janelle Robinson thinks of him and Keeshae often.

“They were twins--I miss them both” said Robinson. “She was everything I wanted in a little sister because I always wanted one.”

Robinson says Jacobs strength has helped her keep going over the last two years.

“It still gives me hope when people are found, it gives me so much hope,” said Jacobs.

It’s the reason she wanted to hold a Missing Person’s Day in the City of Richmond. Jacobs at first wanted to raise awareness about Keeshae’s disappearance by attending rally’s and walks in other cities, but with people still missing in the City of Richmond and Central Virginia, Jacobs wanted to give the community a moment to come together.

The inaugural Missing Person’s Day was held in April 2017, to coincide with Former Governor Terry McAuliffe’s proclamation designating April 29 as Virginia Missing Persons Day.

“I’m bringing awareness, I want parents to know the dangers that are out there, and a lot of people hear about it but I put a face to it I put Keeshae’s face to it,” said Jacobs

April 27th, 2019 marks Jacob’s 3rd Annual Missing Persons Day in partnership with the Richmond Police Department and the Carol Adams Foundation. It is also a chance for Jacobs newly founded Keeshae Jacobs Foundation to spread the word about their mission.

“Keeshae’s not gone, but we can use Keeshae’s story and her name to help other families in need,” said Jacobs. “Keeshae is alive and we are not giving up.”

She is hoping through the KJ Foundation to offer support groups to family members who have missing loved ones, and continue to educate the community.

“I have said this so many times I don’t want anyone else to go through what I have to go through,” said Jacobs. “There are people out there who understand what you’re going through who can encourage you and maybe give you advice, why not accept the help?”

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