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Missing: Tonetta Yvette Carlisle

I am passionate about missing persons cases due to a personal family experience of having someone go missing in my family.

Tonetta as a child and an age progression photo.

Tonetta as a child and an age progression photo.


Tonetta was 15 when she went missing. She was 5'1" and 95 pounds. She is an African American female with black hair and brown eyes. She has large, almond-shaped eyes. Her hair at the time of her disappearance was curly and trimmed short on the top and sides but longer in the back. Her ears are pierced and she has several caps or fillings on her teeth.

She was last seen wearing a pink and white striped blouse, a denim skirt, and white sneakers. She is classified as a non-family abduction.


Tonetta Carlisle was born on August 28, 1973, to her mother Nonie Sturdivant. She was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. As she grew into a teenager, she grew to love pizza and fast food, and she also got into rap music and particularly loved to listen to Bobby Brown.

The Incident

On March 16, 1989, Tonetta was walking home from school at approximately 2:55 P.M. She was walking home from Chattanooga High School and she lived in the 600 block of Hamilton Avenue. This was about a mile walk, and it would have taken her around 20 minutes to get home. A resident who lived on Ruth Street, right off of Hamilton Avenue and only half a block from Tonetta’s home, saw Tonetta walking down the street when a tan and yellow van pulled up next to her. Several unidentified individuals jumped out and grabbed her, forcing her into the van. The woman was able to get the license plate number “LKH 920” and saw it was a Tennessee license plate. The woman and her husband got in their own car and followed the van and alerted authorities with the details they gathered. Tonetta was officially reported as missing when her mother called the police after her daughter failed to return home after eight hours. However, it took a full two days before the police realized the two reports were connected.

Authorities tracked the license plate number to a vehicle registered to Jeffrey Jones. Jones had a prior record of being convicted of rape and aggravated sexual assault and had served eight years in prison. He was released in 1988, just one year prior to Tonetta’s abduction. Police learned of two other women that he had raped in his apartment complex just two months before Tonetta was taken. When they went to find Jones, they found he had died two days after the 15-year-old had been taken. He was found dead inside his van from carbon monoxide poisoning. Tonetta has never been found after that day.

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This shows the path from the school Tonetta attended to her home.

This shows the path from the school Tonetta attended to her home.


Tonetta’s mother says she’s found peace with the situation but feels empty without closure. She is still upset with the police for not immediately enacting a search for her daughter. She believes the only person who knew what happened was the man who killed himself. She believes her daughter is buried somewhere and hopes one day someone will find something. Her mother claims that if her daughter was still alive, she would be trying to contact her.

Even though she believes her daughter is dead, she still refuses to change her phone number in hopes that if she’s wrong, her daughter will call her.


A lot of people believe Tonetta had been forced into prostitution and possibly taken to California. They say the group of individuals that took her are part of a human trafficking group that transports young girls to a California prostitution ring.

There have also been numerous calls and tips of people who claim to have seen Tonetta as far as Minnesota and even in supermarkets and housing projects in Alton Park, Tennessee, but none of the tips have been of use.

The Chattanooga police got in contact with the authorities in California where this prostitution ring was said to be, but after the California police investigated, they didn't find Tonetta.

Contact Information

If you have any information on Tonetta Yvette Carlisle, please contact the Chattanooga Police Department at 423-698-9700 or 615-698-9752.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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