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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Missing college student found in jail | ajc.com

Missing college student found in jail | ajc.comMissing college student found in jail

> By RHONDA COOK
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
> Published on: 07/06/05

A Clark Atlanta University student was located Tuesday in the city jail, where she had been held since June 26 when she was picked up for disturbing the peace.

Theresa Lewis received a call from a police missing persons detective with the news that Chasity Lewis had been located. He did not tell her, however, that her daughter had been jailed for disturbing the peace.

The missing young woman was being held under the name "Jane Doe," because she refused to tell police her name.

Shortly after learning that her daughter was safe, Theresa Lewis learned from a reporter that she was being held at the city jail. "I am so angry," Lewis said Tuesday night from her home outside San Francisco.

During the 10 days she searched for her only child, Lewis said she had called the city jail, Atlanta Police headquarters and the police zone office near her daughter's home two times each. She was told that police had no one fitting her daughter's description.

Lewis said she is relieved that Chasity was found unharmed but is confused about what prompted her "bizarre" behavior. She said she will fly back to Atlanta to see about her daughter.

"What's happened to her?" Lewis asked. "Did she have a nervous breakdown? Is she sick? I don't know what I'm going to see when I get there [Atlanta]. What happened to her since the last time I saw her?"

A detective put Chasity on the telephone with Lewis on Tuesday, but he didn't explain how she was located. Lewis said the detective promised to "keep her with him" until Lewis can return to Atlanta. The mother was working on travel plans Tuesday evening.

"I almost had a heart attack when I heard her voice," Lewis said just minutes after talking with her daughter. "He put her on the phone and asked me to identify her. It was her. She said, 'Hey, Mom.' She didn't tell me where she had been."

Police spokesman Sgt. John Quigley said "someone recognized" Chasity's picture that was printed in the AJC on Tuesday. She had been arrested for "breach of the peace" on the morning of June 26 on Hopkins Street, about six miles from her home in southwest Atlanta.

According to the police report, neighbors had complained to police that Chasity was walking back and forth along the street, "screaming and yelling out loud in the neighborhood."

Theresa Lewis filed a missing persons report early Saturday — six days after Chasity had been arrested — because she had lost contact with her daughter.

They ordinarily talked on the telephone at least once a day, but the last time they spoke before the disappearance was June 22. Chasity was scheduled to fly to San Francisco to visit her mother on June 28 but never boarded the plane.

Lewis' follow-up calls to check on her daughter were not answered. On June 26, Lewis asked an Atlanta relative to go by Chasity's duplex in southwest Atlanta to check on her. She wasn't there.

Raising the family's concern, the relative found that she had left in the house "all of her things. Her ATM card. Her keys. Her passport. Her cellphone. Her purse," Lewis said. There was an open bottle of wine spritzer, and it looked as if she had taken only one sip from it.

All that was out of character, Theresa Lewis had said, which prompted her to board a flight to Atlanta Friday night.

But the mother had to fly back to California on Monday evening because she was a juror on an ongoing trial. She said Tuesday evening that she would take the next flight to Atlanta she could get.

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