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Woman speaks at a rally for missing persons

Karen Phillips, mother of Kierra Coles, speaks about her daughter at a news conference Sunday to raise awareness of missing persons cases in Chicago.

Anthony Vazquez

On Mother's Day, moms of missing refuse to give up searching and hoping

If Karen Phillips could say something to her missing daughter, Kierra Coles, it’s that she’ll “never give up as long as there’s breath in my body” in her yearslong search.

On Sunday afternoon, Phillips and La Shann Walker, mother of Diamond Bynum and grandma to King Walker, gathered with family members and community activists at Daley Plaza in the Loop — as they have in previous years — to call for help in the investigations into the disappearances of their loved ones.

“Once again, another year has passed and nothing has been done about my daughter’s disappearance,” Phillips told reporters. “Is she harmed? Is she OK? Does she have a baby? Do I have a grandchild out there?”

Coles, then 26 and three months pregnant, went missing on Oct. 2, 2018. She was last seen that day leaving her apartment near 82nd Street and Coles Avenue in South Chicago, according to a missing person alert from Chicago police.

Coles, a U.S. postal service worker, was described as a 5-foot-4, 125-pound Black woman with brown eyes, black hair and a medium-brown complexion, police said. She has a tattoo of a heart on her right hand and one that reads “Lucky Libra” on her back.

 Phillips wishes the police department would reach out and give her any kind of update about the case, or whether the department was still investigating.

A spokesperson with the police department told the Sun-Times the case remains an open investigation. Anyone with information on Coles’s disappearance is asked to send a tip to

Diamond Bynum and her nephew, King Walker, were last seen July 25, 2015, at their home near Fifth Avenue and Matthews Street in Gary, Ind., according to the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force.

In the years since their disappearance, police have searched for new leads, though Walker feels they should be doing more to help find her daughter and grandson.

“We’re standing here on Mother’s Day about our missing children,” Walker said. “I can’t find the words to even explain the hurt every day.”

Walker said Gary police ignored requests to issue an Amber Alert for Bynum, now 30, who suffers from a genetic disorder and is mentally stunted. King’s 11th birthday was Saturday.

 She told the Sun-Times she’s had to call off from her daycare job to try and get updates from police.

A spokesperson with the Gary Police Department couldn’t immediately be reached by the Sun-Times.

Walker described Bynum as a “sweet person who wants to help everybody” and King as “someone with a lot of energy.”

Phillips told the Sun-Times she misses her daughter’s “voice and bossiness.” Coles often told her mother that she “spoils her children too much.”

Phillips encouraged mothers in a similar situation to her and Walker to stay persistent in their searches for their loved ones.

“Always keep hope that you will get the answers you’re looking for, just don’t give up,” Phillips said.

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