Terasi Niholimbele

Niholimbele, circa 2017; Some of Niholimbele's tattoos

  • Missing Since 08/30/2017
  • Missing From Phoenix, Arizona
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race Black
  • Age 23 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'6 - 5'8, 125 - 135 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A white t-shirt and dark blue jogging pants, possibly cut off at the knees. Carrying a dark-colored backpack.
  • Medical Conditions Niholimbele started showing signs of mental illness, including anger issues, mood swings and delusions, beginning when he was about twelve or thirteen years old. In young adulthood he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and prescribed medication. He functioned well when he was taking his medicine, but he didn't take it consistently. During the periods when he was not taking his medication, Niholimbele would often become hospitalized or get arrested.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics African-American male. Black hair, brown eyes. Niholimbele may use the last names Musengesenge and/or Sibomana. He has a mole on his forehead above his eyebrow, and numerous tattoos on his neck, chest, arms, hand and legs; photos of some of them are posted with this case summary.

Details of Disappearance

Niholimbele was last seen at 5:00 p.m. on August 30, 2017. He told his wife he was going to run an errand, and a friend dropped him off at a house in the vicinity of the 5500 block of west Flower Street in Phoenix, Arizona. Niholimbele was supposed to call his friend when he wanted to be picked up, but he never did and has never been heard from again. His family reported him missing on September 1.

The house where Niholimbele was last seen was connected to associates of a drug cartel, and a few months after he disappeared, a man was murdered there in a drug-related homicide. It's unclear whether the death it has any connection to his case, but police think some of the same people involved in that murder could have also been connected to Niholimbele's disappearance. His wife stated he used marijuana and had a medical card for it, but that he didn't use illegal drugs. In spite of his struggles with bipolar disorder, it was uncharacteristic of him to be out of touch with his family.

Niholimbele's family, which includes his parents and eight siblings, is from the African nation of Burundi. They fled the country during the genocide against the Tutsi in the 1990s when his mother was pregnant with him, and he was born in a refugee camp in Tanzania. They moved to the United States when Niholimbele was four years old.

Although he had a green card, Niholimbele never became a U.S. citizen. At one point he was nearly deported, but the immigration court decided to let him stay because of his mental health issues, his wife and child who are both American citizens, and the fact that he isn't a citizen of any other country.

His wife stated their marriage was good and he adored their three-year-old daughter, and she thinks he may have been murdered. His case remains unsolved.

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated April 17, 2019; distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.