Since: September 25, 1995
On September 25, 1995, Ke’Shaun was last seen at his home in the 1400 block of North 17th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His mother, Tina Vanderhorst, informed the family and the police that the boy had been taken by the Department of Human Services (DHS). However, her family grew suspicious, and on October 13, her sister filed a missing person report for Ke’Shaun.
After the child vanished, police inspected Tina’s flat in the 1400 block of 17th Street and found it to be dirty, disorganized, and rat-infested. Despite the DHS not having a child by that name in their custody, Tina continued to claim that Ke’Shaun was in their care.
She was detained for violating her parole. Later, she was accused of dealing in infants, jeopardising a child’s welfare, and defiling a minor’s morals.
At the time of Ke’Shaun’s disappearance, Tina had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and her partner had previously threatened to take Ke’Shaun away from her. When his mother was behind bars, he had previously been in foster care.
After Tina was let out of prison in November 1994, Ke’Shaun received his mother back. Due to the fact that his mother had never been charged with abusing or neglecting him, he was categorized as having a low risk of abuse. He was taken away from her right away because she was in jail when he was born.
A social worker started coming to the family on a regular basis in January 1995 to provide Tina counseling and assist her in taking care of her son. During this period, DHS employees observed Tina and regarded her as a loving mother who lacked any signs of drug usage.
The social workers asked the DHS to close their case on Ke’Shaun after six months since they didn’t think he and Tina need supervision. The file was closed in August 1995. The following month, Ke’Shaun vanished.
By 1995, Tina had given birth to seven kids, Ke’Shaun being the youngest. In the 1980s, four of her children passed away. Terrance Slaughter passed away at the age of eight months in 1980, Catrina Stephens at the age of three months in 1983, and Kenneth Stephens at the age of ten months in 1985. Pneumonia and sudden infant death syndrome were blamed for those fatalities (SIDS).
Marie, Tina’s preemie daughter, was hooked to crack cocaine when she was born in 1988. She was born weighing just one pound, and she passed away at four weeks old without ever leaving the hospital. The remaining two sons of Tina, born in 1986 and 1987, had never lived with her; instead, at the time of Ke’Shaun’s disappearance, they were residing with their paternal grandmother. Tina frequently paid them a visit.
After her claims regarding Ke’Shaun and the DHS were shown to be untrue, Tina claimed that she had sold Ke’Shaun to Virginia Graham, an African-American woman. Tina claimed that Graham, a stranger to her, had been to her flat and offered to take care of Ke’Shaun because “someone” had informed her that Tina was finding it difficult to care for him. Tina received $500 from Graham in twenty-dollar bills, which she spent on crack cocaine.
With this case synopsis is a sketch of the woman. In 1995, she was characterised as being in her mid-to-late 35s, 5’4″, 140 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. The kidnapper was well-dressed; she wore a maroon skirt, a cream-colored top or jacket, and fancy fingernails. Her ears were pierced.
Graham was driving a four-door, light blue car with the letters “AL” on the registration plate. For Ke’Shaun, she had a white child seat in the vehicle. She informed Tina that she was married, had two children, and resided in Philadelphia. Graham has never been named, if she even exists.
Later, Tina modified her tale once more, claiming that she had taken Ke’Shaun at a friend’s fruit stall on Cecil B. Moore Avenue while high. She was unable to recall what happened to the youngster following that.
Prior to his abduction, Tina routinely left Ke’Shaun at the fruit stand for brief intervals of time but would always return to pick him up. Prior to his abduction, neighbours said that Ke’Shaun always wore clean clothes, didn’t seem hungry or mistreated, and Tina rarely left him in the care of strangers, even for an extended period of time.
Ke’Shaun and the woman Tina told the police about are no longer known to exist. In November 1996, his mother entered a no contest plea to child endangerment related to his case and received a sentence of 2 1/2 to 7 years in jail.
At her sentence hearing, Tina vehemently denied selling Ke’Shaun and reiterated her claim that she gave him to an unfamiliar woman who knocked on her door. She claimed that while under the influence of drink and narcotics, she mistook the woman for a DHS employee.
After Ke’Shaun vanished, the police reopened their investigation into Tina’s other children’s deaths. However, no charges were brought.
After being released from prison, Tina was at least once detained for prostitution. She was accused of murder, robbery, arson, and other crimes in connection with the death of a Germantown, Pennsylvania man in September in October 2016. She is accused of setting his body on fire after stabbing him 77 times in his residence.
Along with this case narrative, there is a picture of Tina taken at the time of her murder arrest. In September 2017, a trial resulted in her release.
Ke’Shaun has never been found, and his whereabouts are unknown.