Detectives working on the case continue to follow leads in the disappearance of the 10-year-old girl, who vanished on July 10. Authorities and family are hoping to find her alive, Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski said.
“We all want to find her alive,” Sikorski said, according to The Associated Press. “That is what our intent is as we continue with the investigation.”
Investigators said the search continues and “resources will be focused on pursuing leads that have been developed and are evaluating the tips that [were] provided to us by the community.”
Additional details surrounding the leads were not provided by officials at the time. But the police chief said the focus of the search for Terrell remains in the Scott and Clinton counties in eastern Iowa.
“We are incredibly grateful to the community to assist in the search for Breasia,” Sikorski said. “Several hundred community members responded to our call for volunteers to search, showing the care and compassion of our community.”
An Amber Alert for the missing girl was activated on July 15, one day after investigators announced a registered sex offender as a “person of interest” in her disappearance.
Sikorski identified the person of interest as 47-year-old Henry E. Dinkins of Davenport at a press conference last week. He was taken into custody on July 10 on separate charges of sex offender violations, a class D felony.
“A person of interest is different than a named suspect, a person of interest is someone who has not been arrested or formally charged in this case but may have information that could assist with the investigation,” the police chief explained.
Dinkins has not been charged in Terrell’s disappearance, though the Amber Alert issued last week described him as the abductor. He is on the state sex offender registry for a third-degree sexual abuse conviction in 1990.
He was taken into custody on charges of violating the terms of his parole by failing to give authorities his latest address and having contact with minors.
The girl’s mother, Aishia Lankford, is convinced the answers are with Dinkins, as she was last seen spending the night at his apartment, reported WQAD. Dinkins is the father of Terrell’s half-brother.
Lankford said she understands now that she made a mistake to trust Dinkins, but is still confident that her little girl will come home.
Police described Terrell as an African American girl and was last seen wearing an oversized white t-shirt, flip flops, and shorts. She is 4 feet 5 inches tall, weighs about 75 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes.
Weeks of Large Search Efforts
Dozens of volunteers searched for Terrell following a tip the first week she went missing that led officials to the forests of Davenport’s Credit Island, but they found no sign of the girl.
Following new information last week, a dozen law enforcement agencies and scores of volunteers participated in a massive search, based in the tiny town of Low Moor.
“We have identified a wide area to search and we are initiating a process to complete that,” Davenport Police Major Jeff Bladel said.
Sikorski said the investigation still continues “full steam ahead” and also includes the FBI and state and local agencies, The Associated Press reported.
The search effort last weekend “included aerial support with more than 150 law enforcement personnel involved in the search as well as private citizens,” police said in a release.
“The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also have provided resources to the department,” it added.
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