Overview of Tonee Turner
Tonee is a lover of the arts, an educator, and a loving young woman with a creative spirit.
“She is irreplaceable. Very fun, very loving, very knowledgeable and very kind.” - Sydnee Turner, Tonee’s sister.
Tonee was a full-time fabricator at Studebaker Metals in Braddock, PA as well as a ceramics teacher at the Carnegie Library of Braddock. Beyond that, Tonee is a beloved daughter, sister, and friend to many. She loves dancing, studying nutrition, art and black history. Tonee loved going to concerts in and around Pittsburgh, PA and is described by loved ones as a loving, kind, caring and bubbly young woman.
“If you’ve gone to concerts in Pittsburgh, you’ve probably seen Tonee in front, dancing her little heart away. Whether she was alone or with friends, that didn’t matter to her when it came to dancing.” - Akayla Bennett, Tonee’s friend.
"She had a really magnetic personality. Something I always admired about her is that [she] was able to meet a person and they'd instantly love her." - Alexandra Aks, Tonee’s friend from high school.
"She was phenomenally creative. She was also just a really beautiful person to be around.” - Tonee’s friend, Malcolm Thomas.
Tonee visited a local Pittsburgh tea shop on December 30, 2019.
Tonee visited Dobra Tea in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh late on the afternoon of December 30, 2019. According to an employee of Dobra Tea, Tonee was only in the tea shop for a short period of time before leaving. After leaving the tea shop, Tonee hopped on a city bus down the street, presumably heading home. Around this time, Tonee was last in contact with her sister, Sydnee. Authorities believe that Tonee was in the Homestead area of Pittsburgh around 6:00 pm, when she last talked to her sister.
Tonee is seen for the last time at a bus stop, her belongings are found on a bridge.
Tonee is last seen exiting a bus at her usual stop on the corner of Hazelwood Avenue and Giddings Street, near her home. Shortly after Tonee is last seen exiting the bus, a firefighter walking across the Homestead Grays Bridge finds Tonee’s purse, shoes, and a ceramic pot. Inside her purse were her keys, cell phone, water bottle, diary, and her wallet. Tonee’s family believes that from the Homestead Grays Bridge, Tonee may have traveled down Interstate 80 near Homestead, PA.
By the following day, Tonee’s aunt is contacted by the father of the young man who found Tonee’s belongings. They were returned to her aunt shortly before noon on December 31, 2020. Tonee’s family members began realizing that Tonee was missing by that evening. She was reported missing shortly after and a missing person alert was published by the Pittsburgh Police Department on January 1, 2020.
The search for Tonee begins.
In the days and weeks following Tonee’s disappearance, friends and family begin searching the area for any other sign of Tonee. Shortly after her disappearance, a tip received by investigators led them to the Hill District of Pittsburgh, approximately 6 miles away from the Homestead Grays Bridge where Tonee’s belongings were found and approximately 2.7 miles from the bus stop she got off at. Nothing is found during any of these searches.
"But for her to be in the Hill District, totally out of character, I don't even think the buses are awesome here for her. There would be nothing here for Tonee, and I know that.” - Sydnee Turner, Tonee's sister.
Where the case stands today.
In September of 2020, local Pittsburgh artists Marce Nixon-Washington and Sandy Kessler Kaminski installed a mural of Tonee on a building on Braddock Avenue in Pittsburgh in her honor. The mural depicted Tonee, along with her birthday and the date she vanished. Along with these details, the following quote is also included: “The missing find solace in our hearts until they are found”.
“The grief manifested into an irresistible fire inside of me to find her in whatever way she returns,” she says, disappointed in how Tonee has yet to be found after nearly nine months. “Things became silent and all I wanted to do is scream her name on every street, in every ear, in every neighborhood, in every city, in every country.” - Marce Nixon-Washington, muralist.
Since Tonee’s disappearance, several events have been held in her honor and to raise awareness, including a prayer circle and dance meditation, vigils, a silent walk, and a dance event called “Move Through Grief: A Dance Party and Benefit for Tonee. Despite the massive effort made by Tonee’s friends, family and members of the Pittsburgh community, Tonee remains missing without a trace.
“I hope that the city knows she is loved, we are still searching and we will find her. I want the world to know that Tonee is more than just a missing person.” - Marce Nixon-Washington, muralist.
At the time of her disappearance, Tonee was described as an African-American/Caucasian woman with black hair that fell to her chin, and brown eyes. She is 5’3” tall and weighed approximately 130 lbs. Tonee has piercings in her nose, ears, and chin underneath her bottom lip. She has a tattoo of a spiral pattern on her left shoulder. She was last seen wearing a black zip-up jacket, a gray shirt with ‘habla espanol’ in orange letters on the back, grayish-colored cargo pants, and possibly a head wrap.
If you have any information regarding Tonee’s disappearance or her whereabouts, please contact the Pittsburgh Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit at (412) 323-7141.