Twenty years ago this month, Oklahoma teenager Monique Daniels was reported missing. About a year ago, someone who knew Monique wrote to me about her disappearance. A few months later I wrote this commentary for KOSU Radio, the text of which I’m publishing for the first time today on this blog.
The day Monique vanished the pop trio Wilson Phillips released the song, Where Are You?
It was June 2, 1992, and Monique was just 15 years old.
According to the Moore police, witnesses said they saw the girl loading clothes into a blue pickup driven by a white male. Her mother and stepfather never reported her missing because they said they thought she’d runaway.
Relatives finally reported her disappearance in January 1994, but by then, it had been 18 months since anyone had seen Monique alive. The trail was washed cold.
Monique’s parents told police they received two letters and a phone call from their daughter. However, in time, Monique’s younger sister would confess that her stepfather made her write the letters and the phone call was a hoax.
Here is a letter Monique did write to a classmate during 4th hour on September 7, 1991.
Hey Sweetie, What you doin? I’m really, really bored in Drama. Anyway, I’m so excited about the game tonight…Anyways, I think I like Jacob, but I don’t know if he’s goin’ out with someone or if he likes someone or what. I really don’t think I’m pretty enough for him. Who do you like?
You know what? On the 15th of this month I’m gonna get me some K-Swiss shoes and a new spiral perm and some new school clothes. I’m so excited.
Well, anyway, I really gotta go. I have to write four more notes. See ya tonight. Moore rules. Write back. TGIF. Love ya, Monique.
The letter is a time capsule for Generation X. A tribute to teenage communication before cell phones and texting. Here’s an excerpt from another letter Monique wrote in the spring of 1992.
Hey Woman, What’s Up. Nothin’ much here. Guess what? I made a 105 my Spanish test and I’m making a 98 in Algebra…What you are doin’ this weekend. I had fun last weekend with you and Jennifer!
Have you noticed how the whole school was really sleepy yesterday? I did.
Have you had a lot homework this week? … I had a big ol’ stack of it last night. I feel really smart. I had to carry books home two days in a row. Oh, I haven’t even mentioned Jake yet have I? … I like him and I think he’s fine.
…Oh, I need to know when to apply for the Penn Square Teen Board in the Spring. Gotta run!
But, in the spring, Monique went missing. Nobody has ever been charged with any crime related to her disappearance, and the case remains open.
In those days of acid washed jeans and banana clips, before texting and web lingo and emoticons Monique drew a smiley face at the bottom of her letter, and a school bus going Beep! Beep!
If you have information about the disappearance of Monique Daniels, please contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Kids.