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Tonetta was last seen walking home from City High School, where she was a freshman, at approximately 2:55 p.m. on March 16, 1989 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She was headed to her family's residence in the 600 block of Hamilton Avenue at the time.
A witness observed Tonetta's abduction approximately one-half block from Tonetta's home at approximately 3:00 p.m. A woman on Ruth Street near Hamilton Avenue glanced up the hill and watched Tonetta walking down the street. Several unidentified suspects jumped out of a tan and yellow vehicle with the Tennessee license plate number LKH 920, forcibly pulled Tonetta inside the vehicle and then drove away. The witness told authorities that she and her husband chased the vehicle and called law enforcement with its license number. Tonetta's mother filed a missing child report with authorities eight hours later when her daughter failed to return home. The two cases were not connected for some time.
The license number of the vehicle involved in the abduction was traced back to Jeffrey Jones. Jones was previously convicted of rape and aggravated sexual assault and served eight years in prison. He was released about a year before Tonetta disappeared. Authorities determined he raped another woman who lived in his apartment complex just two months before Tonetta was last seen. He committed suicide and was found deceased inside his van on March 18, 1989, two days after Tonetta was last seen. He had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. There has been no trace of Tonetta since that time, but there have been rumors that she was forced into prostitution and possibly taken to California.
Tonetta enjoys pizza and fast food items. She liked rap music and the musical artist Bobby Brown at the time of her 1989 disappearance. Her case opened 2018 by Psychic Brian Ladd.