Peoria clerk thinks she spotted missing Hannibal woman

Christina Whittaker

Peoria police say they don't know where a missing Hannibal woman could be, even though street reports put Christina Whittaker in a 30-block area there.

A private investigator in Quincy told KHQA two months ago that he thinks Christina is in Peoria.

He also said there are several reports of confirmed sightings, but police say those reports are not from credible sources.

Christina's family posted her picture in several downtown locations, hoping for any new leads.

KHQA's Rajah Maples found one Peoria store clerk who thinks she and another employee saw Christina in this KHQA special investigation.

Christina Whittaker's picture sits on the counter in the Tony's Market neighborhood grocery store on Northeast Adams Street in Peoria.

Dumeet Tamar said, "I got a report from two of my employees when the police department handed them this particular flyer, they thought but they were not absolutely sure that they might've seen this girl in the store."

Dumeet Tamar who owns Tony's Market says his employees called police to report the possible sighting.

Officer Doug Burgess with the Peoria Police Department said, "We don't have any confirmation that she's in the area. We have spoken with the detective and the private investigator. We've spoken with the family who has given us information that they've spoken with people who have seen her in the area, but we have absolutely no confirmed accounts that she's in this area."

Officer Doug Burgess told KHQA a member of the police department's narcotics unit thinks he might have run into her in February 2010 but that she ran away from him.

Burgess said, "In talking with our guys, they recalled an incident where a female looking similar to Christina Whittaker ran from them after they initiated contact with her. There's absolutely no way to confirm whether it was her or not, but they did say that the picture looked like the girl who ran. We can't say that yes, it was her or no, it wasn't."

A private investigator said that Whittaker has some mental health problems and thus, could be easily manipulated.

Burgess answered, "We do have prostitution/drug activity. As far as human trafficking, we don't see it all that much. I've never seen it in my career here."

Officer Burgess told KHQA the department is working with the private investigator and Christina's mother.

He said, "They're giving us information, but the information they're giving us is from people that we can't even find out who they are. They're not credible sources, and we have never seen her in this area."

A detective with the Peoria Police Department has been assigned to the case.

Burgess said, "He puts out any kind of information he can to the district officers, the ones in the area where they think she might be. They go knock on doors. There are 13 reports in our system right now that every time he gets additional information, he will add it in there, so I have read that they have some locations where they heard she has been."

But Burgess said the department does receive reports from time to time from people who say they think they might've seen her.

Tamar said, "I cannot really with absolute certainty tell you that my cashiers have seen this girl. The likelihood, maybe 50/50. I really don't know."

Christina would be 23-years-old now.

Rajah spoke with Christina's mother, Cindy Young, Wednesday.

Christina's daughter, Alexandria, turned 2-years old last week.

Young said she's spent a great amount of time hanging up posters throughout the Peoria area and talking with leads.

She said she's heard from many people claiming to have seen Christina or at least a girl who looks like her.

Young told KHQA she received a great amount of public backlash after our last report on Christina's disappearance aired in March.

Young said, "When you have a nightmare, you wake up from it. We don't get to wake up. My daughter is gone. Don't sit there and judge her, judge our family. We do the best we can, and I don't believe my family walked away. I've been told she was dead many times. I don't believe that. God put it in my heart she's alive, and I know she'll come home. But don't judge us."

If you have any information on Christina's whereabouts, you're asked to contact the Hannibal Police Department at (573) 221-0987.