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View Full Version : NJ NJ - Celina Janette Mays: 9 months pregnant, 12, Willingboro, 16 Dec 1996



anthrobones
07-06-2007, 09:52 PM
Celina Janette Mays
Missing since December 16, 1996 from Willingboro, Burlington County, New Jersey
Classification: Endangered Missing

Vital Statistics
Date Of Birth: May 28, 1984
Age at Time of Disappearance: 12 years old
Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'0"; 120 lbs.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Black / Hispanic female. Very long and wavy black hair; brown eyes; Celina's eyebrows grow together. Medium complexion.
Clothing: Long red coat
Medical: She was 9 months pregnant at the time of her disappearance.

Circumstances of Disappearance
Mays was last seen in Willingboro, New Jersey on December 16, 1996.
Authorities said Celina had gone to church - the Gospel of Christ Ministries Inc. in Mount Holly - with family members and then came home for dinner and dessert. Without explanation, police have said, she told a cousin "thanks for everything." A few hours later, the young girl who was due to give birth before the end of the year, stuffed a pillow into her bed, grabbed a few precious possessions and disappeared into the night.
Right after her disappearance, Celina was supposedly spotted in Lacey and Hopewell townships but the leads did not pan out.
She did not take any extra clothing with her and left all of her personal items at home as well.
It is believed she has given birth and may be in need of medical assistance.
http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1577dfnj.html

Spazkat9696
07-06-2007, 11:00 PM
Why was a 12 year old pregnant? I bet she ran of with the dad and he killed her.

outofthedark
07-07-2007, 01:03 AM
The people investigating the case said there's some hope based the types of leads they were getting

SadieMae
07-07-2007, 01:45 AM
Why was a 12 year old pregnant? I bet she ran of with the dad and he killed her.
I had the read the thread title 3 times! 12 & pregnant? I hope that wasn't her outcome Spazkat. I'm hoping she ran off with the baby's father and he's taking care of them. Best case scenario considering the circumstances. Maybe they are afraid of him going to jail if she's found and staying in hiding. At least that's what I'm hoping.

outofthedark
07-07-2007, 02:16 AM
Considering her case, the only thing you can wish for is that she just ran away and is safe somewhere. Right now, she'd be a 24 year old woman with an 11 year old child. Maybe LE should check school records in the States for any 11 year old children attending school who might be her child, one of the only ways to ever find her unless she changed her name

Zanko
07-07-2007, 12:18 PM
I think the questions that would have to be answered are: Who was the unborn child's father? Was Celina a victim of incest? Was the father of the unborn child more than 3 years her senior? What was her family's plan for the baby after it was born? Was she in opposition to decisions being made about the baby? Was there anyone at the church that offered her an alternative to her family's plans? If her family wanted her to give the child up for adoption, did she not want to do this? If her family wanted to raise the child, did she not want that? Did someone offer to raise her and her baby? I would look into adults that had access to her that were involved in her church that may have "disappeared" around the same time.

teonspaleprincess
07-07-2007, 01:49 PM
There was a girl in my town who was the spitting image of this girl, and she had a child. I reported it, but I guess it didn't pan out. My mom thought I was crazy!

Zanko
07-07-2007, 03:07 PM
teonspareprincess, did you report your possible siting to:

Willingboro Police Department, Detective Al Kelley at
609-877-2200 extension 6268, using Agency Case Number:
NCIC Number: M-986381735 ?

kygal
07-07-2007, 05:34 PM
I would think that a 12 year old that was any stage of pregnant would be VERY noticable. Makes me wonder about what her life was like before she disappeared to get into this situation. :(

Do we know if they checked hospitals regionally for someone that age having a baby? It would certainly seem that she'd have complications from her age and body maturity. My hope is that she got to a hospital, as if she didn't she could have died in childbirth.

Also, were there any babies found abandoned in the area at the time? Perhaps one of these could have been her child. It wouldn't answer what happened to her, but it could give us some more information on what happened.

kygal
07-07-2007, 05:43 PM
http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/m/mays_celina.html

Seems there IS more to the story than on the Doe page. I am thinking that this was planned -- and that she has no intention of returning to her family.

teonspaleprincess
07-07-2007, 05:44 PM
teonspareprincess, did you report your possible siting to:

Willingboro Police Department, Detective Al Kelley at
609-877-2200 extension 6268, using Agency Case Number:
NCIC Number: M-986381735 ?

No, I believe that I called 1-800-the-lost. It's been a while since I have seen her around, this was a few years ago, but from NJ to NC isn't that big a jump.

Spazkat9696
07-07-2007, 08:10 PM
kygal~from your link I am guessing she still has not collected on her mother's life ins. I would think that at 12 she would have been aware of the life ins. I wonder why the dad would not help out the police? I am thinking maybe he was the dad and he killed her to cover up his being the father. The sad thing is my brother and I are 11 years apart and I could not imagine having to raise a child so close to my own age.

lostwithoutyou
07-07-2007, 09:32 PM
teonspaleprincess, even if you havent seen her in a while, its worth calling the willingboro police dept. it might not be her, but there is always a chance.

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed
02-01-2011, 11:43 PM
Celina's case was shown in a short clip on Nancy Grace, America's Missing.

http://cnn.com/video/?/video/crime/2011/01/28/ng.america.missing.two.hln

bykerladi
02-04-2011, 11:37 PM
teonspaleprincess, even if you havent seen her in a while, its worth calling the willingboro police dept. it might not be her, but there is always a chance.

Knowing the 'boro police, I highly doubt they'd care. Its a rough town, big gang population. Is her family still around? Why wouldn't she at least call her family and tell them she was ok? Its been too many years...

AnnieOakley
02-11-2011, 09:19 PM
Wow. Her child would be a teenager now. I have thought about her over the years after hearing her story (my own daughter was born in '94, and I remember hearing this story of a 12 yr old mom and thinking how scary that would be)

... but it just struck me how long it has really been. And still, she would only be 26?

I hope that they are both doing well somewhere.

Ives
02-17-2011, 01:27 AM
Maybe she left because she was going into labor? She wasn't hiding her pregnancy, there would be a reason why she felt she had too leave at that point though. Hmm. I just hope her and baby are fine.

Grifynne
06-08-2011, 11:49 AM
I am thinking that once we know who the father of the baby was, we will be a little closer to finding out what happened.

Also, after reading the Charley Project page, it sounds like religion was a huge part of her life and possibly a bit forced. I have no idea how she felt about that, but is it possible that maybe she felt she had sinned or done something wrong by being pregnant (and this could be made even worse if it was someone from the church or within her family who was the father) that maybe she left to commit suicide? I hate to consider that possibility, but if she didn't want to burden or shame her family because of their beliefs, maybe she would venture away from home to do it?

I'm not sold on this idea since no signs or a body was found. However I am still suspicious of whoever the father was.

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed
07-12-2011, 08:05 PM
Happy ending to Tammy Jordan case but others from the county still missing

The case of Tamela "Tammy" Jordan's disappearance remained open for nearly 10 years. No matter how cold the trail went, the search never ended and police continued to publicize the Burlington Township teenager's disappearance in hopes of finding a fresh lead or clue to her whereabouts.

[snip]

But others remain missing.

[snip]

Celina Janette Mays of Willingboro was 12 years old and 9 months pregnant when she walked out of her family's Country Club Park home just after midnight Dec. 15, 1996. She apparently told a cousin "thanks for everything" before she disappeared. Police found a pillow stuffed in her bed. Reported sightings of Mays have come from all over the world, but none have ever been verified.

More: http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/local/burlington_county_times_news/happy-ending-to-tammy-jordan-case-but-others-from-the/article_bfd48c3a-3667-544f-b5b3-1d61bc4918ec.html

Sue Doe Nimm
11-03-2012, 02:31 AM
Celina is the one I can't get out of my mind. I'd love to know what happened to her. It sounds as if this little gal had a rough life from this news article:

http://articles.philly.com/1997-01-10/news/25561226_1_neighbors-shy-girl-mother

Suddenly, Celina was thrust into the communal world of the Gospel of Christ Church family, where she shared a house with at least 15 other relatives, where she was homeschooled with the congregation's other children, where every aspect of her life seemed entwined with the church.

Suddenly, the physical and emotional parameters of her young life seemed confined to the red brick building on Washington Street in Mount Holly. The site, which once housed Sacred Heart Catholic Church, is now the hub of the church's activities.

The congregation's children are schooled there. Prayer services are conducted there. And several church families live there.

``They say Celina had no contact with the outside world, that sounds absolutely right to me,'' said Mayo Goldman, a former church member who left the congregation five years ago. ``They want to shut you off from outside communication.''

Sounds like a very cult-like atmosphere to me. I hope she found a sympathizer who helped her escape and is living happily somewhere.

Sue Doe Nimm
11-03-2012, 02:36 AM
Found another interesting article on Celina:

http://articles.philly.com/1997-01-25/news/25561144_1_due-date-willingboro-police-odd-case

Willingboro police said yesterday that the baby of Celina Mays, a pregnant 12-year-old missing since Dec. 15, might not have been due as early as was widely believed.

It seems as if her due date was the subject of some confusion. She had been concealing her pregnancy and hadn't had an ultrasound done until her fifth month. This still doesn't enlighten us to her whereabouts, but if this is correct she had a good month to get as far away as she could before she gave birth if she did indeed run away.

Gem2626
11-06-2012, 08:16 AM
Celina is the one I can't get out of my mind. I'd love to know what happened to her. It sounds as if this little gal had a rough life from this news article:

http://articles.philly.com/1997-01-10/news/25561226_1_neighbors-shy-girl-mother

Suddenly, Celina was thrust into the communal world of the Gospel of Christ Church family, where she shared a house with at least 15 other relatives, where she was homeschooled with the congregation's other children, where every aspect of her life seemed entwined with the church.

Suddenly, the physical and emotional parameters of her young life seemed confined to the red brick building on Washington Street in Mount Holly. The site, which once housed Sacred Heart Catholic Church, is now the hub of the church's activities.

The congregation's children are schooled there. Prayer services are conducted there. And several church families live there.

``They say Celina had no contact with the outside world, that sounds absolutely right to me,'' said Mayo Goldman, a former church member who left the congregation five years ago. ``They want to shut you off from outside communication.''

Sounds like a very cult-like atmosphere to me. I hope she found a sympathizer who helped her escape and is living happily somewhere.

She became pregnant at 11 years old! It's said she had no contact with the outside world which leads me to believe that someone within that church is responsible for getting her pregnant and I bet they have a good idea who it was.

This church does sound cult like. I wonder what plans they had for her baby once it was born? Were they angry at her for 'disobeying' their rules?

I think she fled in fear maybe to some sort of shelter that helped her get away. There is no way she ran away without help from someone.

KariKae
11-06-2012, 04:45 PM
Are there any shelters that would take her in?

I am wonder if a health care worker slipped her a phone number of a shelter? Celina called and was picked up and taken to a shelter.

I think that would be the best case scenario in a case like this...

Sue Doe Nimm
11-08-2012, 02:39 AM
She became pregnant at 11 years old! It's said she had no contact with the outside world which leads me to believe that someone within that church is responsible for getting her pregnant and I bet they have a good idea who it was.

This church does sound cult like. I wonder what plans they had for her baby once it was born? Were they angry at her for 'disobeying' their rules?

I think she fled in fear maybe to some sort of shelter that helped her get away. There is no way she ran away without help from someone.

The nature of this particular denomination makes me agree with your opinion that whoever got her pregnant was also in that circle. Given how insular the community seems, I don't suspect that she'd have had much of an opportunity to meet a boy who wasn't part of the congregation, much less become pregnant by one.

Her father's words make me suspect that he is circling the wagons to protect someone. When he says she was strong-willed, it's not a complimentary term. I belonged to a Pentecostal church for about a year. Obedience and submission are emphasized and praised, especially in women. Being willful is a sign that you are letting "The Enemy" (Satan) into your life, thoughts and deeds. They'll try and pray it out of you or "correct" your behavior. Meaning you'll have an elder tell you your thoughts, feeling or actions are wrong and that you need to line up with everyone else. This is done under the guise of concern and love for a struggling soul who is under spiritual attack. It isn't particularly loving.

I've absolutely no doubt in my mind that Celina's pregnancy was a huge issue there, not only because of her age but because of her proximity to the church leaders. Purity of thought and deed is another huge sticking point for this denomination, and having a pregnant 12 year old in the congregation would have been like a big old scarlet letter. I've absolutely no doubt in my mind that her condition was used as a lesson for other young girls there, and that the way it was presented wasn't terrifically sensitive to her feelings.

While Celina may have had a wonderful support system there, my gut tells me she did not. This is my opinion only and speculation on my behalf based upon my experiences with a similar church.

Sue Doe Nimm
11-08-2012, 02:48 AM
Are there any shelters that would take her in?

I am wonder if a health care worker slipped her a phone number of a shelter? Celina called and was picked up and taken to a shelter.

I think that would be the best case scenario in a case like this...

It's possible she was taken in at a shelter. While she didn't look like an adult, she could have passed for an older teenager. Checking in at a shelter under an assumed name and different age than her own is entirely feasible.

Given her age at the time of conception (OMG! ELEVEN!), I have to wonder if Social Services was involved. Perhaps a sympathetic case worker provided her with an escape hatch. It's possible that her physician did as well. While she is a minor and normally would have had her information shared with her parent or guardian, if you are a pregnant minor you have different rights to privacy in your health care. So if she shared something with her obstetrician, she would have had a patient-doctor privilege minors typically don't get.

I really hope she ran like the wind and is living safely and happily somewhere. It truly is the best case scenario in this sad case.

KariKae
11-14-2012, 04:46 PM
It's possible she was taken in at a shelter. While she didn't look like an adult, she could have passed for an older teenager. Checking in at a shelter under an assumed name and different age than her own is entirely feasible.

Given her age at the time of conception (OMG! ELEVEN!), I have to wonder if Social Services was involved. Perhaps a sympathetic case worker provided her with an escape hatch. It's possible that her physician did as well. While she is a minor and normally would have had her information shared with her parent or guardian, if you are a pregnant minor you have different rights to privacy in your health care. So if she shared something with her obstetrician, she would have had a patient-doctor privilege minors typically don't get.

I really hope she ran like the wind and is living safely and happily somewhere. It truly is the best case scenario in this sad case.

I also wish that is the case. Unfortunately, Celina's mother's life insurance policy ($50K) would go a long way to allow her to start a new life. Since it has not been claimed, I suspect Celina is no longer with us.

As others have stated, my guess is she was lured away from home by the pervert/sperm donor. My guess is he was married and knew his world was about to crash around him if it was found out he had impregnated an 11 y/o. He lured Celina away with promises of a wonderful life. ("Let's run away and live in Fiji" or something that would appeal to a 12 y/o). He killed her and disposed of her well. I'm sure it was very well planned.

Poor kid...

EmmaliLucia
11-17-2012, 12:21 AM
She was pregnant at twelve, she conceived at the age of eleven, and CPS was NOT involved?!

rob525
11-30-2012, 12:08 PM
Does anyone know if this "church" was affiliated with other branches in other states/locations. I had a thought that the church may have moved her in order to avoid LE figuring out who the father may be. I would think that child services would step in when a 12 yr old child delivers a baby and would conduct a test to determine paternity.

Roselvr
02-03-2013, 11:14 AM
She was pregnant at twelve, she conceived at the age of eleven, and CPS was NOT involved?!

All I can think of is that CPS is really backed up there.
I lived in the same county but 20 minutes away


Does anyone know if this "church" was affiliated with other branches in other states/locations. I had a thought that the church may have moved her in order to avoid LE figuring out who the father may be. I would think that child services would step in when a 12 yr old child delivers a baby and would conduct a test to determine paternity.


Doesn't look like it's affiliated with anything.
Website (http://www.gospelofchristministriesinc.com/)

jn0920
02-03-2013, 11:49 AM
IMO if I were her and ran away to have a baby at twelve, there would have to had been something terrible going on. After you've raised a child for six years, a third of the time you've been alive, I would assume for me at least, the 50k life insurance policy wasn't worth facing the skeletons in my closet.

My other thought about this is why would she put pillows in the form of her body? This was something I did as a teenager when I would leave at night and plan on being back in the morning. IMO the fact she did this, left her prenatal vitamins, and all person effects behind, she was planning on coming back that night.