A girl who went missing in Phoenix nearly 24 years ago has been found living in Connecticut.
Aleacia Stancil was born to a mother who struggled with drug use and prostitution. The mother, Toni Stancil, told a friend one night in December 1994 that she needed a few days to clear her head, and handed her baby to the friend.
Police officers said that the child was passed from person to person and eventually went missing.
Stancil didn’t alert officials that her baby was missing until March 1995; by then, Aleacia was in the care of Child Protective Services, but no one knew her identity. Toni Stancil was murdered shortly thereafter, eliminating the major witness in the case.
In 2008, cold case detectives reviewed the case, and a profile was developed, including age-progression photos, but the case didn’t progress much.
In 2014, a young woman who went to a hospital in Connecticut for care said she had no identification and didn’t know much about herself. A nurse went online to look for missing people and found an age-progression photo of Aleacia. The nurse called the police and officers asked the woman to submit DNA for testing.
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Three years later, the tests came back a match, reported 3 TV.
Stancil lives with an adopted family and under a different name, but is reconnecting with her birth family.
“Even after 20-plus years, happy outcomes can come,” Phoenix Police Sgt. Armando Carbajal told KTAR.
“This was obviously an outstanding example of how Phoenix Police detectives and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children work together, and that no case is ever put on the shelf,” Carbajal said. “It’s continuously worked and all leads are aggressively sought after until they can be resolved.”
Carbajal noted that the girl has chosen to remain anonymous.
“She doesn’t want it to interfere with her life, but she has indicated that she’s happy that she was able to find out who she was,” he said.