Where is Akia Eggleston? Pregnant Baltimore mom disappears on day of baby shower; reward for info offered
12/07/2017 3:41 pm PST
A Baltimore case has left a family heartbroken, and police are searching for answers.
Akia Eggleston has been missing since the spring and to make things even more troubling, she was 8 months pregnant, when she vanished into thin air.
Did she simply walk away? Was she targeted for her money, or for her baby?
Akia Eggleston was a firecracker.
"She did more for others than she would do for herself. She was always looking to see how she could brighten someone else's day," said Akia's stepfather Shawn Wilkinson.
A resident of the Cherry Hill area of Baltimore, 22-year-old Akia had a 2-year-old little girl from a previous relationship.
"She loved her daughter," said Akia's grandfather Eric Wilson.
"You couldn't ask for a better mother-daughter relationship, always together, dancing and playing and singing together," said Shawn Wilkinson.
And her family was growing. She was eight months pregnant with a little boy.
"She was in good spirits, but she barely could walk," said Ann Wilson.
A difficult pregnancy: The baby was breech. So Akia's doctor ordered bed rest -- not that she was listening.
"She was still active with her friends, active with the family, still doing things, just not to just be sitting around," said Shawn Wilkinson.
Akia had kept the identity of the baby's father to herself. But why?
"She never discussed with us who the baby's father was," said Eric Wilson. "I didn't ask. Whatever she felt like that what she wanted to come and speak about, that's what Pop-Pop was for, an ear to listen."
Akia's stepfather Shawn would later learn he knew the father.
"He was a childhood friend of mine," said Shawn. "Andre Michael Robinson. It was kind of like 'Wow, I didn't even know he was dating my daughter.'"
A month before Akia's due date was the long-awaited baby shower. Akia put down a $900 deposit for the shower.
But on the day of the shower, Akia never arrived.
"My wife and I we had got a phone call from my nephew. He asked us, did we know about Akia and we said 'Akia, what about Akia?' He said that he heard that she was missing," said Eric Wilson.
"I called her and she wouldn't answer her phone, so I text her and asked her was her phone off, and she said 'No, why?' I said 'I have been texting you,'" said Ann Wilson. "She said 'I can't talk to you right now. I'll call you back later,' and that was it. I don't think that was her."
The family files a missing-person report. Baltimore Police begin their investigation.
"The day I received the case, myself and another detective went out to the apartment," said Baltimore Police Det. Michael Reno. "We did an initial canvass. I talked to one of the maintenance men. The maintenance man said 'Yeah, she was just here, I saw her an hour ago,' so I was feeling pretty confident that 'OK, I can clear this thing pretty quick.'"
But finding clues to Akia's disappearance would be anything but quick. Finding a suspect may be even more difficult.
"She had a roommate, a female roommate," said Det. Reno. "The 2-year-old would spend time with Akia, and spend time with her father. Now, the roommate also had a child. So there was two small children in the house and the two mothers."
Det. Reno talks to Akia's roommate.
"We interviewed the roommate and there were some text messages between Akia and the roommate in reference to Akia moving out," said Reno. "So it didn't bring up any red flags because she was moving out."
Where was Akia planning to move?
"She was going to move in with the baby's father," said Reno.
Investigators talked to a neighbor who says he saw Akia at the bus stop the day before.
"We pulled the video from the apartment complex," said Reno. "We pulled MTA, all the bus footage for the entire Cherry Hill area to see if we could get her getting on a bus. We're talking hours and hours -- all negative. We were trying to work a timeline, so we had to go back to when she was last seen and then go from there."
Where is Akia Eggleston?
At first, police say, there were no indications of foul play in this case, but as the weeks and the months went on, it started to look like Akia didn't leave on her own.
Akia Eggleston, eight months pregnant and mother of a 2-year-old girl, was last seen on May 3, 2017. She was reported missing after strangely not showing up to celebrate her own baby shower.
"Other things started transpiring, her not coming to the baby shower, people going to her apartment and finding her belongings missing," said Shawn Wilkinson. "It just became 'Where is Akia?'"
Baltimore Police are wondering the same thing.
"We pulled the video from the apartment complex," said Baltimore Police Det. Michael Reno. "Of course the one camera we needed wasn't working."
There was no activity on her social media -- it all stopped
It's a mystery, but police aren't giving up, conducting interviews and searching for her remains.
"We had two areas where we searched, and thank God, they were both negative," said Det. Reno.
But one bizarre clue did surface. It only raised more questions. The Baltimore Police Dept. confirmed to Crime Watch Daily that on the day Akia went missing, a family friend drove her around to a number of bank locations to collect money. But what was the money for?
"She was getting the money so that she and her baby's father were going to get a house together," said Det. Reno. "A lot of money. On that day."
Detectives pull surveillance video from multiple banks around town and catch a break, finding the last-known images of Akia before she vanished.
"The bank surveillance shows us at the bank by herself. She doesn't look disheveled, she doesn't look like she's under any kind of stress, she's there on her own," said Det. Reno. "She presents a cashier's check to the teller, she receives cash, and she leaves.
"We had her stop in several locations. We had her at the Royal Farms, where she takes money out of the money machine, and then goes to the counter, where she gets cashier's checks. We have her at a Wells Fargo in South Baltimore, where she says she was waiting on a check to come in."
Reno says the checks were coming from various places and people.
Cops learn it was a female friend who drove Akia around to the banks that day, later taking her back home. That friend has never been considered a suspect or had any involvement in Akia Eggleston's disappearance. Police say she was very cooperative and provided very good information.
What do police think all of these things tell them?
"She was duped. Or she started a new life somewhere with a new name," said Det. Reno. "Anything's possible."
Would you say it's more possible that there's foul play in all of this?
"Gut, 24 years of experience, yeah," said Det. Reno.
Akia's stepfather agrees.
"We expected foul play from day one," said Shawn Wilkinson. "The first thing that comes to my mind is, Where's the father?"
The father of Akia's unborn son, Andre Michael Robinson.
Is he cooperative?
"I can't answer that," said Det. Michael Reno.
"I have been directed not to speak to him [Robinson]," said Shawn, who says Robinson has not shown up for any searches. "The police have interviewed him and that's all they've told me."
Andre Michael Robinson has not been named a suspect. He has not been arrested or charged in connection with the disappearance of Akia Eggleston.
Is there any possible way in all of this that Akia could have walked away on her own?
"No way. No chance in this God's green earth was she going to walk off eight months high-risk pregnancy, one. She had to have a caesarian, two; and leave her daughter behind, three, was not going to happen," said Shawn.
Akia's baby was breech, so she would have needed the help of doctors to deliver her son.
"We have contacted every single local hospital and they were all put on alert that we were looking for this young lady and that she was reported missing, and we've got nothing back," said Reno.
Is anyone right now publicly a person of interest or a suspect?
"We have a person of interest, yes," said Det. Reno.
Are police ready to share who that person of interest is?
"No," said Reno.
It's now been seven months since Akia disappeared, and the FBI has joined the mysterious case.
"I am here today to announce that the FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information regarding the whereabouts of Akia Eggleston. We're hoping this reward money will get our community talking and provide the tips needed to find her," said FBI Special Agent Patrick Dugan announced in a news conference.
In the meantime, seasons and milestones have passed. Akia would now be 23 years old. Her daughter is 3. Her son would be 6 months old.
"It's been a real burden on the family, and we want her back. We want her back," said Eric Wilson.
Now all her family can do now is wait and pray that someone sometime soon comes forward.
"Please, I hope God touches your heart to let any information y'all have to let it go. We need Akia and Akia needs her daughter and her daughter needs her," said Ann Wilson. "She needs to be home."
Akia Eggleston is described as standing 4 feet 8 inches tall, weighing approximately 145 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She would no longer be pregnant.