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Holiday Mystery: Where is Shemika Cosey?


Shemika Cosey vanished just a few days after Christmas on Dec. 30, 2008, from Berkeley, Missouri. This time of year has been hard for Shemika’s mom, Paula Hill, who has spent the last 15 years without her daughter home for the holidays. 

Hear from Shemika’s mom. 

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is releasing a new age progression image of what Shemika may look like today at 31 years old. Paula hopes that this new image will generate fresh leads and bring us one step closer to knowing what happened to Shemika. 

shemika  at 16 next to her age progression photo at 31

Shemika age progressed from 16 to 31 years old.

On the night of Shemika’s disappearance, Paula says her 16-year-old daughter was picked up at her home by her cousin. The two were planning to have a sleepover at the cousin's house, which Paula says was not an unusual occurrence. Shemika was very family-oriented and had countless sleepovers with her cousin who lived just a town away. Paula never imagined that would be the last time she would see her daughter. 

“My niece said they stayed up to like 1:30 a.m. watching movies,” said Paula. “And when she went to bed, Shemika was there on the couch in the living room.” 

The next morning, Shemika’s aunt woke up and noticed that Shemika was nowhere to be seen and the door was unlocked. Shemika’s purse and jacket were also missing, but her clothes and overnight bag were still inside the home. 

“That's when she called me and asked me, ‘Did Shemika come home?’” explained Paula. “And I said, ‘no.’ She was like, ‘Shemika is not here.’” 

two photos of shemika smiling next to each other: one in a red shirt and jeans, the other in a black shirt and jeans

Shemika prior to her disappearance. 

No one has seen or heard from Shemika since that dreadful night, and Paula strongly believes that even if Shemika voluntarily left the home, she intended on returning. 

Shemika loved her family more than anything. She had her big sister and little sister, who was only 10 months old when Shemika disappeared. “My child would not leave and be gone like this on her own without contacting her family,” said Paula. “I cannot explain the feeling that our family had been going through, missing a family member, not knowing where she is.”

shemika in a white shirt standing next to her mom (red shirt) and older sister (jean jacket)

Shemika (right) with her mom, Paula (middle), and older sister, Marquisha (left).  

Paula says the hope she is holding on to that she will see her daughter again is the reason she has never stopped searching and will do anything to ensure that the world will not forget about Shemika. 

“I pray every day that you find a way home to your family,” pleaded Paula. “I hope you see this and know that your sisters and everyone want you home. My baby needs to be home with me.”

shemika as a young girl in two pictures: left: shemika wearing a tweety bird shirt and pigtails, right: shemika wearing a navy blue shirt with flowers and pigtails

Shemika as a young child.  

If you have any information about Shemika Cosey or her disappearance, please contact NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or the Berkeley Police Department (Missouri) at 1-314-524-3311. 

View Shemika’s Missing Poster here: