A Muslim woman is missing in Toronto after telling family members that she was going out for some fresh air and never returned. Police in the Canadian city say that 25-year-old Taneesha Brown was last seen on January 12 at around 10:30 p.m. in Markham, Greater Toronto.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Was Wearing a Hijab When She Vanished
According to the York Regional Police, Brown’s family are worried about her safety, particularly because she was not dressed for the weather when she vanished. The police description of Brown says that she is black, five-feet-five inches in height and weighs 122 pounds. She has black hair with pink streaks in it. Brown was wearing a Muslim dashiki with white pants underneath as well as a white hijab with pink running shoes. Brown has a black purse.
When her daughter vanished, Brown’s mother wrote on Facebook:
WE WANT HER BACK!
WE NEED HER BACK!
IF SOMEONE HAS HER…
PLEASE … GIVE HER BACK!!!
Brown’s mother, Kim Mazerolle, also wrote that since her daughter went missing, she’s been unable to sleep. In a press conference, Brown’s father, Uriel, said that he was concerned for her “state of mind” on January 12.
On January 18, police in York released a new video which appears to show Brown near Markham high school on the night she went missing.
2. Her Father Pushed Islam on Her as an Alternative to Medication for her Schizophrenia
The Toronto Star reports that Brown’s father, Uriel, tried to treat his daughter’s schizophrenia and bipolar disorder with religion rather than medication.
She is a follower of the controversial Nation of Islam. On her Twitter page, where she goes by the moniker Ta-Neesha X, he has a link to the Nation’s website. A week before she vanished, Brown wrote on Twitter, “Everything that The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Minister Louis Farrakhan has said has and is coming to pass.”
3. She Believes Bill Cosby Is Innocent
Her last tweet, sent on January 7, read, “Bill Cosby is innocent.” Other messages on the site, that weren’t related to religion, detailed her attempts to become a singer/rapper. On the same day as the Bill Cosby tweet, Brown wrote, “I want to be a rapper / singer but when I do it’s not for fame it’s to expose the wicked aka illuminati aka satan.” She adds, “Stop listening to dumb down music. Listen to conscious music with no profanity!”
4. Brown Regularly Uses ‘X’ as Her Last Name
On Brown’s Facebook page, her bio says she’s a Toronto native and still lives in the city. She says that she works at a Black Owned Business, but doesn’t specify. Like on Twitter, Brown puts “Ta-Neesha X” as a moniker. The use of X, a la Malcolm X, as a last name is to symbolize the African name that African Americans never knew.
5. There Has Been a Spate of Girls Disappearing in Markham Over the Last Few Years
A commenter on the York Regional Police’s Facebook post on Brown’s disappearance said, “What’s going on in Markham? Too many young girls are going missing.” While another said, “I have notice so many young girls go missing now days im very concern. i dont feel safe at all.” On January 3, a 12-year-old girl in Markham disappeared only to be reunited with her family a day later, reported CTV News. Police didn’t comment on where the girl was. In January 2014, three girls from the area, Emily Pointon, Laurielle Harris, and Kaitlyn Wilson, also vanished without explanation. They were later found safely.