CHICAGO — A Texas woman claims she is Diamond Bradley, who disappeared from her family’s Chicago home when she was 3 years old.
But it’s not the first time someone has claimed to be one of the missing girls.
Diamond and her 10-year-old sister vanished from their South Side home in 2001.
On Friday, the family is cautiously optimistic.
Even after a massive search and nearly 22 years missing, their aunt Shelia Bradley Smith said the family will never give up looking.
So when video started circulating on social media of someone claiming to be Diamond Bradley, the family had a mixture of feelings.
“There’s a lot of doubt, there’s a lot of hope,” Shelisa said.
Investigators said the girls’ mother left the two at their apartment when she left for work around 6 a.m.
When she got home around 11 a.m., her daughters were gone.
She found a note written by 10-year-old Tionda, but the family never believed Tionda could have written the note on her own.
News of someone believing to be Diamond left her aunt with a lot of questions because of previous hoaxes.
Most recently, a woman in 2019 claimed to be the missing girls, but that woman turned out to be a fraud.
“Here we go with this mess again because we’ve been hoaxed before,” Shelia said.
This time, Shelia said was different.
“Nobody has ever been willing to walk into a police department, let alone the FBI,” she said.
Her son first told her about the woman and video on Tuesday.
“I’m sitting up looking at her like wow, look at that scar,” she said. “I got all these thousands of things running through my mind, look at that scar, she do have mannerisms like Tracey, or she don’t look like Tracey, or maybe she looks like George. All these things go through your mind.”
Shelia and the woman have spoken through text, phone calls and FaceTime.
“Her only memory is that her and Tionda was riding in a car, she was really little, one day she went to bed and she looked up and she didn’t see her anymore,” Shelia said.
She said if it isn’t Diamond, it’s not going to stop her family for looking for the girls.
“She believes that she’s missing from my family, that’s what she believes,” Shelisa said. “But I’m saying if it’s not her, I’m believing that she’s missing from somebody.”
She said she’s cautiously optimistic it’s her niece, but she’s not getting her hopes up again until the family is 100% sure of a match.
The FBI is looking at DNA, fingerprints and pictures to determine if it’s Diamond or not, Shelia said.
“Not from looks, not from perception, not from what we want to believe, not from what she wants us to believe,” Shelia said. “We need DNA to determine this.”
Shelia said she spoke with an FBI special agent on Friday and they said the DNA results could be ready in the next day or two.