Christal Ann Rice Cooper

Christal Ann Rice Cooper
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Friday, May 1, 2015

A Mother's Quest For Her Daughter Who Has Been Missing For Eleven Years . . .

Christal Cooper


Article 2,016 Words


A Mother Awaits With Two Hands
One Holding Balloons
The Other Candles

“There are no words in the dictionary to describe what this feels like.  At least not any words I know of.”
Pam Riley Boldin


Pamela Riley Boldin was fifteen years old when she got pregnant with her firstborn LaQuanta Nachelle Riley.
She remembers the baby kicking inside of her stomach and how the feeling was spiritual and revelation-al all at the same time.  “I realized there was a life growing inside of me.”


On February 26, 1984, at age 16, Pamela gave birth to her baby girl and when she looked at her baby girl for the first time, she thought she was the most beautiful thing she had laid her eyes on.


When LaQuanta was six months old Pamela noticed a rash on her baby girl and flew into a panic. 
“She had some rash on different areas of her body and it was like death and life to me.  I had no idea what to do so I knew the only person I could take her to was Aunt Katie.”


Aunt Katie, along with other family members, helped raise Pamela since age five, when her mother (Aunt Katie’s sister) was murdered in a domestic violence dispute.  Aunt Katie took care of six-month-old LaQuanta, giving her the medicine she needed.


Pamela went on with her sixteen-year old life, doing the things typical 16-year old girls do, except she had a baby girl who, through the years, would stop at her house and give her special letters.


“She would come to my house and give me her school pictures in an envelope and when I reached in the envelope there would be letters.  That’s how we communicated at that time– through letters – where we would talk about everything  (like) how the Christmas dinner was, and how she was doing good in school.”
LaQuanta soon became the big sister to five other siblings, whom she adored and they adored her, especially her one and only younger sister Kamesha, who in 1992 was sexually assaulted by a 48-year-old-man infected with HIV.  Four years later, in 1996, Kamesha died from AIDs when LaQuanta was only 12 years old.



By age 13, LaQuanta proved to be intelligent, compassionate, a studious student who made the honor roll and was a wiz at biology.


       “During her eighth grade graduation ceremony LaQuanta said she was thankful for the three mothers that she had.  “For my birth mother who I love more than anything and I know she loves me more than anything,’” her Aunt Katie, and cousin Tammy, Aunt Katie’s daughter.”


LaQuanta graduated from Redan High School in Stone Mountain, Georgia in 2002. 
In November of 2003, at age 19, LaQuanta was making plans to move out of her apartment in Eufaula to move in with her Aunt Katie.  By this time LaQuanta had lived in apartments in Atlanta, Montgomery, and Eufaula.  The young lady, perhaps, was still trying to decide where to settle, but there was one thing she was sure of:  she wanted to become a forensic scientist and she was making plans to attend college on a full scholarship to pursue that dream.


At this time, Pamela was no longer the teenage girl, and was in full mother mode, and desired to be the mother to LaQuanta that she was not mature enough to be at age sixteen.


 “There were so many questions I had for LaQuanta – about her friends, her apartments in Atlanta, Eufaula, and in Montgomery, about the people she hanged around with, but I knew our relationship was not the typical mother and daughter relationship and I wanted to give her space.”
In November of 2003, LaQuanta traveled to Eufaula to retrieve some of her belongings.  The same day, LaQuanta, sounding stressed, called her mother asking her to pick her up.  Pamela told her she wasn’t able to pick her up that evening and she would have to wait until the morning, but LaQuanta said she would get someone else to pick her up. 


“I never asked her what happenein Eufaula.  I was trying not to pry and to give her space.  That is y oe regret.”
       Pamela did indeed give her oldest child her space, but always was sure to be there for LaQuanta when she needed her, like the time LaQuanta and her Aunt Katie got into an argument.  LaQuanta immediately called Pamela.


       “Aunt Katie did not want LaQuanta to have male visitors in her apartment, but like the typical 18 year old LaQuanta felt otherwise. I told LaQuanta she needed to do what her Aunt Katie says.  LaQuanta said, “Oh, Mama, that is what you would say.’”
       That was the last conversation Pamela would have with her firstborn, and Pamela has not seen LaQuanta since then, for over 11 years.
LaQuanta was last seen at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday December 7, 2003, leaving her mother’s house in a green four-door car (Ford Taurus or Chevrolet Caprice) with an unidentified male.  LaQuanta’s brother asked her who the driver was and LaQuanta replied, “Just a friend.”


Pamela reported her daughter missing to Montgomery Police 72 hours later.
A few days later, Pamela received a voicemail message of what she believes is LaQuanta’s voice upset and crying with an undecipherable man’s voice in the background.



There have been numerous rumors – LaQuanta rented an apartment tin Stone Mountain, Georgia; LaQuanta was murdered and buried in some secret place; or LaQuanta was killed and her body tossed into Cooter’s Pond in Prattville, Alabama.  


       It’s been 11 long years to think of the “what ifs,” and the possibilities, in what Pamela describes as holes in her life and in her soul, which resulted in a deep, severe, despairing depression.
       “I knew what to do when you were thinking of suicide, I knew what to do when you were depressed, I knew what to do when you were sick, but what do you do when your child is missing?  I buried my youngest daughter, I buried my dad, (and) I buried my grandmother.  I know how it is to loose somebody, but when you have somebody that’s missing that ain’t on the same ball field.  It’s the difference between tennis and football.  It’s not the same thing.  It’s basically one day at a time kind of thing and if you don’t got trust in God I don’t know any human being that could run this race by themselves.”


       Pamela withdrew from the world, from her church, even her own family, going back and forth in her brain of all the regrets she had of giving LaQuanta too much space, and not asking her more questions about what was going on in her life.


       One year later, Pamela released a balloon to let LaQuanta know she is not forgotten.  She somehow knew LaQuanta was looking at those balloons rise to the sky, giving her hope.


She also held a candlelight vigil promising LaQuanta that she would never stop looking until she was found. 


The only problem was Pamela didn’t know what to do, much less find any words in the dictionary to describe the torment that she was going through.  She fell even deeper into a depression that consumed her entire being. 


       But in 2007, four years after LaQuanta disappeared, it all changed, when Kelly Murphy, the mother of missing child Jason Anthony Jolkowski and founder of Project Jason (http://www.projectjason.org), called her. 


“What I was doing was giving up and dying slowly. From grief until I got a call from a Kelly, saying, “Hey my son disappeared”, and this is what I did and this is what I’m doing.”  She said she knew what I was going through.  That phone call from Kelly changed my life and gave me hope and purpose.”


       As a result of that phone call, Pamela started opening herself up to the missing child community, meeting other parents of missing children, including John Walsh, whom she had a deep discussion with about her situation, and his response:  Never give up!   


In 2008, she trained to become an a Team HOPE volunteer (www.missingkids.com/teamhope).  In addition to being an active member of the Team HOPE parent support network, Pam has also become a missing person's advocate. Speaking as a surviving parent, she travels throughout the country advancing her qualifications and sharing her perspective of searching for a missing daughter. 



That one balloon release in 2004 on her front porch with just a few relatives turned into the Prayers By Balloon Release, which takes place every year on National Missing Children’s Day, which was made into law by President Ronald Reagan and first observed on May 25, 1983.


That first candlelight vigil now is a huge event that takes place at designated areas in Montgomery every December; the past two years the candlelight vigil has been held at the Montgomery Capital Rotunda.


The three things that keep Pamela going is the candlelight vigil in December; the Prayers By Balloons Release in May; and the strong belief that LaQuanta is still out there waiting to be found.   


“When those girls (Michelle Berry, Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, and Michelle Knight) from Ohio escaped one of the girls said the only thing that kept her going was hearing on the television when her family would remember her with a balloon release.  Even the law enforcement said, “Okay we are just going to call it closed.  We are going to get the judge to sign that she is no longer with us.”  But the Mom didn’t want to do that and the Mom had the right mind because everybody else was (saying) her daughter was dead, but how could she be dead when she done escape the house she’d been caught up in for eleven years?  But the girl could still hear on the television the different things the family did looking for her.  She said that’s what kept her sane, (and) that’s what kept her holding on.  


You know, every situation is different but who am I to say that my daughter might not be somewhere and she hadn’t given up by seeing us do these candlelight and balloon releases?


The best scenario is what I’ve been hoping and searching for eleven years for God to bring her home and that’s what I’m hoping and praying for and I don’t have any control of what other people think and what they are imagining.   I learned not to go in my head by myself because that’s not a good place to be.  So when people ask me what you think?  I don’t think anything.  I gave it to God and all I’m doing is putting one foot in front of the other and seeing how it all turn out because the energy it takes to think or to believe or to consider that she is no longer with me is way more energy it take to believe that she is alive.  God will bring her home at His appointed time.”


       Pamela set up the Riley Relief Foundation whose main mission is to provide awareness and support for the families and loved ones of the missing and the exploited.


In fact, Pamela believes the person exemplifies the Riley Relief Foundation’s missions stations the most is LaQuanta herself.


       “Look what she’s doing now!  She’s helping millions of people and they don’t know that.  She’s doing what she’s always dream of doing.  What people are doing about her is what she wanted to do now.


She’s still the same bundle of heaven that God gave me 31 years ago.  Nothing’s change that – can’t nothing change that.”
The Prayers By Balloon Release will take place on Sunday, May 24, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. at the Trenholm College Campus located on 1225 Airbase Blvd in Montgomery, Alabama.   


The Neighbors In Christ (http://www.neighborsinchrist.org) will be there to issue identification cards to children.


To donate funds to the Riley Relief Foundation visit any Wells Fargo branch nationwide or mail checks or money orders to Wells Fargo at 800 Madison Avenue in Montgomery, Alabama 36104.


To contact Pamela Riley Boldin visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pam.boldin?fref=ts; visit the LaQuanta Riley Missing Facebook Page at


Photograph Description And Copyright Information

Photo 1
Pamela Boldin next to her daughter’s missing poster in front of her house in Montgomery, Alabama.
Attributed to Christal Rice Cooper
Copyright granted by Pamela Boldin and Christal Rice Cooper

Photo 2
Pamela Boldin looking out the front door of her home.
Attributed to Christal Rice Cooper
Copyright granted by Pamela Boldin and Christal Rice Cooper

Photo 3
Pamela cradling roses in her hands in front of her Montgomery Alabama home.
Attributed to Christal Rice Cooper
Copyright granted by Pamela Boldin and Christal Rice Cooper

Photo 4
Newborn baby LaQuanta Nachelle Riley
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 5 and Photo 6
LaQuanta Nachelle Riley, 8 months old.
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 7
LaQuanta Nachelle Riley with her younger brother.
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin

Photo 8
Kamesha Riley
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin

Photo 9
Letter from LaQuanta to her younger sister Kamesha that was printed in the brochure for Kamesha’s funeral.
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin

Photo 10
LaQuanta Nachelle Riley, age 15
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 11
LaQuanta Nachelle Riley, age 17
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 12
LaQuanta Nachelle Riley, age 18
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 13
LaQuanta Nachelle Riley
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin

Photo 14
LaQuanta Nachelle Riley hugging her little cousin
Copyright granted by LaQuanta Nachelle Riley

Photo 15
Pencil drawing of LaQuanta Nachelle Riley by her Uncle John Riley
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin, Christal Rice Cooper, and John Riley.

Photo 17
LaQuanta Nachelle Riley
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 19
LaQuanta Riley missing poster.
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 20
LaQuanta Riley missing poster.
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 21
Pamela Riley Boldin looking toward the heavens.
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin

Photo 22
Pamela Riley Boldin in the yard of her Montgomery, Alabama home
Attributed to Christal Rice Cooper
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin and Christal Rice Cooper

Photo 23
One of the many balloon releases for LaQuanta Nachelle Riley
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin.

Photo 24
The brochure for one of the many candlelight vigils for LaQuanta Nachelle Riley.
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin

Photo 25
Pamela Riley Boldin looking out the front door of her Montgomery, Alabama home
Attributed to Christal Rice Cooper
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin’

Photo 26
Web logo for the project Jason web page.
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 27
Project Jason web photo of Kelly Murphy
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 28
Pamela Riley Boldin and John Walsh
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin

Photo 29
Pamela Riley Bolding is in the right heart, third person from the left, wearing a blue/brown dress with a matching headscarf.
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 30
Web logo for National Missing Children’s Day
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 31.
Image of the candlelight vigil for LaQuanta Nachelle Riley this past December.
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin

Photo 32
Prayers by Balloons Poster
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 33
Amanda Berry, Georgina “Gina”  DeJesus and Michelle Knight
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 34
Auntie Katie holding a lighted candle at one of LaQuanta Nachelle Riley’s candlelight vigils. 
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin

Photo 35
Pamela Riley Boldin in her Montgomery, Alabama home
Attributed to Christal Rice Cooper
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin and Christal Rice Cooper

Photo 37 and 38
The Riley Relief Foundation logos
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin

Photo 39
Pamela Riley Boldin holding a poster of Alabama’s Missing Children
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin

Photo 40
Prayers By Balloons poster
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin

Photo 41
Neighbors In Christ web logo

Photo 42
Pamela Riley Boldin in the yard of her Montgomery, Alabama home
Attributed to Christal Rice Cooper
Copyright granted by Pamela Riley Boldin and Christal Rice Cooper 

6 comments:

  1. You are always in our prayers Pam, and hope that your beautiful daughter comes home to you. We are here for you if there is anything we can do.. Nita and Tony

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  2. What a beautiful tribute! Her perpetrator, and all of the evil perpetrators in the world, will rot in the deepest crevices of hell. Almighty Father, bless this family. In God's name, Amen.

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  3. Someone says she was buried in a swamp in Newton. I hope your daughter is still a live. Go back over all the evidence and details. Did she have an computer or beeper.

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  4. Did you mean NEWTOWN located in north Montgomery Alabama

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  5. Anonymous..Did you mean Newtown in North Montgomery ?

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  6. You and your family will forever be in my prayers. You are not alone❤❤❤ someday it'll all be clear. We sometime can't understand why things happen the way that they do, but just know that one day she's coming home. Dont loose that faith.

    ReplyDelete