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Nenomoshia Yates

A young girl runs an errand and is found dead three hours later

  • Last updated: November 7, 2023
  • Washington, DC
  • October 1, 1971

Overview of Nenomoshia Yates

Nenomoshia Yates was only 12 years old when she was killed.

Nenomoshia Yates - known as Neno - was only 12 years old and in sixth grade at Kelly Miller Junior High School. She was living with her father and stepmother in Washington, DC. Neno just became an older sister, as her stepmother had recently given birth. Unfortunately, there is limited information about Nemo as a person.

On the evening of October 1, 1971, Neno left her home located on the 4900 block of Benning Road in Southeast, DC, to go down the block—less than a block away from her home—to a local Safeway store. She had to get paper plates, sugar, and flour. She left her home at 7:00 p.m. An employee was able to confirm to police that Neno did purchase the groceries. It is believed that she was abducted from the parking lot. A witness recalls seeing Neno getting into a blue Volkswagon – however, this lead has not produced further information.

Three hours later, Neno’s body was found on Pennslyvania Avenue by a 16-year-old unidentified hitchhiker. She was strangled and sexually assaulted. Her strangulation was so violent that her killer broke her esophagus. Her shoes were missing, but she was fully clothed. Authorities did find unknown green fibers on her clothing.

Is Nenomoshia Yates a victim of the Freeway Phantom?

Between April 1971 and September 1972, six young black girls were abducted and murdered. Their names are Carol Spinks (age 13, abducted on April 15, 1971), Darlenia Johnson (age 16, abducted on July 8, 1971), Brenda Crockett (age 10, abducted on July 27, 1971), Nenomoshia Yates (age 12, abducted on Oct. 1, 1971), Brenda Woodard (age 18, abducted on Nov. 15, 1971), and Diane Denise Williams (age 17, abducted on Sept. 5, 1972).

Each victim left their home to run an errand and never returned home. Days later, their remains were found near the I-295 freeway. Unfortunately, each victim was sexually assaulted and strangled to death. All victims except Brenda Denise Woodard were found barefoot. Brenda Woodward’s body was found with a handwritten note signed by the Freeway Phantom that read:

This is tantamount to my insensitivity to people, especially women. I will admit the others when you catch me if you can!
-Freeway Phantom

Where the case stands today.

Currently, the Metropolitan Police Department is offering a $150,000 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest. The “Freeway Phantom” is the main suspect, but their identity remains a mystery. There have been some publicly named suspects, including the Green Vega Rapists, a gang responsible for multiple rapes and abductions throughout the Washington Beltway area. However, these cases remain unsolved.

If you have any information, please contact the Metropolitan Police Department at (202) 727-9099 or unsolved.murder@dc.gov.


  1. Date Missing:October 1, 1971
  2. Date Found:October 1, 1971
  3. Date of Death:October 1, 1971
  4. Birthday:December 24, 1958
  5. Age at Incident:12
  6. Race:African-American / Black
  7. Gender:Female

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