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Kathy Teague
Vinyette Teague in 1983
Vinyette Teague, age-enhanced
Kathy Teague and her daughter, Vinyette Teague

Vinyette Teague`s mysterious abduction was a very brief news story in the major Chicago papers and newscasts in the summer of 1983. Vinyette was a sweet but cautious child, Kathy Teague said, and was very particular about who could hold her. On the night of June 25, 1983, she perched most of the evening in the lap of a trusted neighbor who was helping watch Teague`s four kids while Teague and Vinyette`s father, went to a drive-in movie. The air was thick and hot, and the neighbor, Kathy Teague`s mother, her two sisters and her cousin were sitting with a large group of neighbors out in a porch area playing cards and talking. The phone rang and Kathy Teague`s mother went inside the apartment. Then her sisters drifted off and the cousin left and the trusted neighbor went to do the dishes.

A short time later, Vinyette was gone. No one had seen anything. She was 18 months old and was not even wearing any shoes.

Kathy Teague arrived home at 3 a.m. The first neighbor who saw her in the parking lot screamed from a fifth-floor window, ``Kathy! Kathy! Kathy!`` Her voice echoed in the brick and asphalt canyon even as they reverberate today in memory: ``Kathy! Kathy! Kathy! Do you have your baby?`` After Vinyette disappeared, Kathy Teague searched Robert Taylor Homes building to building, floor to floor, door to door. She pawed through incinerator ashes and peered down the elevator shafts. ``In a sense, I had given up on life,`` she said. ``Everything in my mind was blank. I couldn`t even think.``

No ransom note ever arrived, no scrap of clothing was ever found. Crank callers phoned to say Vinyette`s body had turned up in a bag by the railroad tracks or cut to shreds on the roof of a nearby restaurant. Another caller put a young girl on the line and had her holler, ``Mommy, mommy, mommy!``

Kathy Teague`s best and most optimistic guess is that someone saw Vinyette at the playground the afternoon she disappeared and decided to adopt her. ``She was a really pretty child, with a big, beautiful smile,`` Teague said. ``And I`m not just saying that because I`m her mother. The feeling in my heart is that she`s alive - that someone just wanted her for their own.``She still has nightmares about Vinyette`s abduction and she feels her absence sharply around the holidays and the anniversary of the disappearance.

Kathy provides peer support to a searching family as a trained volunteer with Team HOPE/National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.