Details of Disappearance
Tiahease was last seen leaving the Mariner's Harbor Motel on Forest Avenue in the New York City borough of Staten Island on August 14, 1983. She lived in the hotel with her mother and three siblings, the family having moved there after getting burned out of their apartment. The Jacksons planned to relocate to the southern United States.
At 1:30 p.m., while Tiahease's mother was asleep, another resident of the hotel sent Tiahease out to purchase chicken wings from the Crown Supermarket in the 900 block of Richmond Avenue.
Tiahease never returned to the hotel and has never been heard from again. Her mother woke up at 4:30 p.m., and, discovering her daughter had been missing for three hours, immediately called police.
Tiahease's mother describes her daughter as streetwise and wary of strangers. She frequently went on errands in the city, sometimes with her sister or a friend and sometimes alone, and had been warned about predators. She has never been heard from again. Tiahease's mother and uncle both passed lie detector tests and are not considered suspects in her disappearance.
Andre Rand, a mentally incompetent convicted child sex offender from New York, is a prime suspect in Tiahease's case. Photos of him are posted with this case summary. Tiahease disappeared twelve days after Rand's release from a New York prison. He had a campsite at the Baron Hirsch Cemetery less than half a mile from the Mariner's Harbor Motel, and Tiahease's mother said she had seen a man matching his description loitering in the motel's parking lot.
Rand is also believed to be connected to the 1972 disappearance of Alice Pereira, the 1978 disappearance of Ethel Atwell, and the 1984 disappearance of Henry Gafforio, among other missing persons' cases.
There is speculation that Rand may have been involved in the 1977 New York disappearance of Audrey Nerenberg as well. In 2004, he was convicted of kidnapping in the 1981 abduction of Holly Hughes. All of them vanished from the Staten Island area, with the exception of Nerenberg.
Rand was previously convicted of the 1987 New York abduction of Jennifer Schweiger, a twelve-year-old girl with Down Syndrome whose remains were discovered near his former campsite on the grounds of the now-defunct Staten Island Developmental Center (formerly known as the Willowbrook State School).
Volunteers continue to search the abandoned property twice a year for evidence related to Rand's other alleged victims, but nothing has been discovered. The Staten Island Developmental Center is two miles north of the site of Tiahease's disappearance.
Rand, whose birth name is Frank Rashan, has maintained his innocence in all charges against him. Tiahease's case remains unsolved.