Tonetta Y. Carlisle

“We just keep praying, hoping that something breaks, I don’t want to leave this world knowing that this case is not solved.” 

March 15, 1989, was for all intents and purposes like any other school day. As classes were dismissed, 15-year-old Tonetta Yvette Carlisle began walking home from school. She was a freshman at Chattanooga High School and her daily walk to and from was relatively short at somewhere around twenty minutes. It was more than likely familiar by now, something she maybe enjoyed, time alone after a noisy day of school to think. Of course, that’s all conjecture on my part, just putting myself in her shoes for a moment.

Tonetta’s walk to and from school was pretty straightforward as you can see by the image attached…you can click it to pull up the full size. The blue dots indicate the path from the school to the location where she was living at the time. There’s one main road (Dallas Rd) leading from school, to where it intersects with residential streets and other roads.  As Tonetta was approaching the intersection of Dallas Road and Hamilton Avenue (there’s a white dot if you pull up the full-size image) a woman, who was on nearby Ruth Street observed her walking when a tan and yellow vehicle stopped and it’s passengers quickly got out and forced her into the car with them, and sped away. The woman beckoned to her husband, they got into their own car and took chase after the vehicle that had made away with Tonetta. They managed to write down the license plate number, LKH 920, but they soon lost the car in traffic. A call to the police was made, and the information was handed over.

Later that evening, Tonetta’s mother, Nonie, place a phone call to the police to report that her daughter hadn’t returned home from school that day. The police assumed that they had two separate incidents to investigate, a runaway and a possible domestic issue, sadly the connection between the two wasn’t made for a few days.

“LKH 920” came back registered to a man named Jeffrey Jones, who had been released from prison around a year before Tonetta’s abduction after serving 8 years for rape and aggravated sexual assault. Two month’s prior to her disappearance, he had raped a woman who was living in the same apartment complex. As police connected the dots and went to ‘visit’ with the suspect, they were devastated to learn that he had committed suicide on March 18th…just a few days after Tonetta had been taken.

Over the years there have been ‘reports’ of sightings of Tonetta… all over the United States. Some think that maybe she was sold into prostitution, but I just don’t know. None of the sightings have ever been substantiated to my knowledge, and after all these years there hasn’t been a peep of viable information regarding her whereabouts. I believe Mr. Jones took whatever happened to her to his grave. I just can’t help but wonder who else was with him the day that she was abducted and where did they hide her? After all these years, even her mother has come to terms with the fact that he more than likely murdered her… I just hate that the puzzle wasn’t put together before he was able to kill himself.

If you have any information regarding the abduction of Tonetta Yvette Carlisle please contact the Chattanooga PD at 423-698-2525.

Porchlight International
The Charley Project
Chattanooga DA Office

03/21/2021 – no updates available.

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