The disappearance of LaQuanta Nachelle Riley

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – LaQuanta Nachelle Riley disappeared 19 years ago after leaving her mother’s home in a car with an unidentified male driver. Her family has not seen her since.

Riley was born on Feb. 26, 1984, to Pam Riley, then 16. Because her mother was so young, Riley’s aunt stepped up and raised her near Atlanta. Riley was close to her great-aunt, Katie Smith, who helped care for her. Throughout her childhood, Riley always stayed in contact with her mother. She has five younger siblings. A sister died from AIDS in 1996.

Riley graduated from Redan High School in Stone Mountain, Georgia, in 2002. During high school, she was an honors student and played the clarinet. Riley received a full college scholarship and planned to study criminal justice and work in forensic science.

Riley’s family described her as a bubbly and compassionate young woman with many friends. She loved cooking and music.

In 2003, Pam Riley lived at 1528 Hill St., and Smith resided at 3148 South Rick Drive. The houses were only three miles apart. That summer, Riley moved in with a friend in Eufala, Alabama, but decided to move in with Smith during Thanksgiving weekend.

Riley’s cousin, Stacey Riley, then 18, was also living with Smith.

“They had one stipulation while they were living there,” Smith told Crystal Bonvillian of The Montgomery Advertiser in January 2004. “And that was, no men in the house.”

On Sunday, Dec. 7, 2003, Smith was visiting relatives in Stone Mountain when Riley called after arguing with Smith’s son about the no-men rule. Smith calmed Riley down and told her not to worry about it, and they hung up. That was the last time Smith spoke to Riley.

That evening, Riley decided to go out with a male friend. At 11:30 p.m., the friend picked her up at Smith’s home and drove Riley to her mother’s home to grab a coat.

Upon arrival, Riley’s brother met her at the front door, and he noticed a dark green four-door car, possibly a Ford Taurus or Chevrolet Caprice, that he did not recognize. He asked his sister who was in the car. Riley vaguely told him it was a friend she had met in the neighborhood.

Riley left Smith’s home in the green car, leaving her money and purse behind. Her family has not seen her since. Three days later, Pam Riley reported her daughter missing to the Montgomery Police Department (MPD).

About one week after Riley disappeared, her mother received a disturbing phone message from Riley.

The teen cried out, “Let me go” or “Leave me alone.” Pam Riley could hear a man’s voice say her daughter’s name in the background, and the call was disconnected.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported in January 2004 that Pam Riley received a different phone message about two weeks after Riley vanished.

During the call, Riley cried, “I don’t want to eat,” before someone disconnected the call.

LaQuanta Riley: newspaper photo of her mother holding a picture frame containing a portrait of her and Riley
Pam Riley in 2008/The Montgomery Advertiser

Lt. Huey Thornton told Bonvillian the police had no substantial leads in Riley’s disappearance and could not trace the phone call.

“We’ve been checking the areas we think she might have gone after she went missing,” Thornton said. We’ve checked local hospitals and different jails and have put lookouts on the NCIC (National Crime Information Center). We’ve found nothing.”

Thornton further said there had been neither an indication of foul play nor Riley leaving voluntarily. Her family believed her to be a victim of crime because she would not go without letting someone know her whereabouts. Furthermore, the family made Christmas plans, in which everyone chose a Christmas outfit; it was an annual holiday family tradition.

Riley had chosen a pair of jeans and a brown and white swirl-designed top, the price tags still attached after she disappeared.

A few years later, Pam Riley received a tip that someone had rented an apartment under her daughter’s name in Stone Mountain. She drove there but found no trace of her daughter. However, she spoke with some residents, and one man claimed Riley had been living in the apartment complex but had recently moved out. According to the man, Riley got into a fight with someone and showed up at his apartment door, asking to use his phone. Police could not confirm if the woman was Riley, and it is unclear if the man allowed her to use his phone. Her family believes she would call her mother or Smith if she had access to a phone.

Riley remains missing 19 years later. Her mother, now Pam Riley Boldin, has never stopped looking for her and has since founded the Riley Relief Foundation, an organization providing local support and assistance to other families of the missing.

If alive today, Riley would turn 39 on Feb. 26, 2023.

According to Central Alabama Crime Stoppers, the City of Montgomery, the Montgomery District Attorney’s Office, and Crime Stoppers are each offering a $5,000 reward for information about Riley’s disappearance.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 334-215-STOP, Secret Witness at 334-262-4000, or the MPD at 334-625-2831.

True Crime Diva’s Thoughts

Riley’s actions before her disappearance are odd. She left her home with the unknown driver and had him take her 3 miles to her mother’s house to get a COAT. This right here tells me she voluntarily went with the man at first.

Who was the male driver? Why didn’t Riley tell her brother more about him when he asked? If she was in danger, why didn’t she alert her brother?

I think the Stone Mountain sighting could be valid. But, if the person who kidnapped her put the apartment in her name, that was a dumb move. But if Riley did, it supports the theory that she left voluntarily and could come and go as she pleased.

If she willingly left, she might have had a reason she did not want to share with her family. Maybe she was pregnant, or she got into trouble that she could not stick around. It doesn’t matter how close one is to family; sometimes, you keep the truth from them.

I think Riley willingly left initially, but something happened after that, and she could not leave. Thus the phone calls for help, and she never returned home.

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True Crime Diva

True Crime Diva

I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

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