'I'm not going to stop looking' for daughter missing 7 months, Trenton mom says

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Ever since her 16-year-old daughter disappeared from their home seven months ago, April Hall has been struggling to maintain a balance.

Instead of focusing on family, health or hobbies, the Trenton mother constantly watches her phone, hoping for a call or text leading to Amaria.

“My life is not the same,” Hall told The Detroit News on a recent evening. “It will never be the same until I get her back.”

Hall has worked to keep the case in the public eye, and the disappearance was mentioned last week in an episode of “In Pursuit with John Walsh” on Investigation Discovery.

The reward was announced last month.

As Trenton police continue to investigate, Crime Stoppers of Michigan recently announced a $7,500 reward for tips from the public to solve the mystery.

“We will follow up any tip that we can have,” said Steven Voss, director of police and fire services for Trenton.

Hall has been doing much the same since she went to wake Amaria for church on July 7 and noticed the teen’s bed empty.

The day before, Hall said the youth had asked her mother for a new computer adapter. Then, in the early hours, Amaria went to her again and reported the Wi-Fi was out.

It wasn’t unusual for the teen to spend time online, Hall said. Amaria, who loved volleyball, robotics, swimming and piano, battled several ailments, including asthma, that kept her from classes for long stretches, Hall said. More recently, she had been diagnosed with anxiety.

Amaria had been taking classes online to catch up and “there was no friction" at home, Hall recalls.

When Amaria vanished, the teen reportedly left a note for Hall saying “she wasn’t coming back and not to come find her,” according to a report filed with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs.

Hall believes her daughter was lured away by a friend online who deceived her and may have been forced into trafficking. The retired teacher declines to reveal more publicly, fearing retaliation.

“They could have drawn her anywhere,” she said.

Voss said the investigation is ongoing.

While traffickers routinely move their efforts online, Jane White, executive director at the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force, cautions they can focus not just on communication methods but establishing a bond with a potential victim.

“The relationship is the major factor,” she said.

Fearing the worst after filing a missing person report with police, Hall spread the word online, which she said has yielded tips on possible sightings, but none panned out.

She has since searched the area often and distributed print fliers with Amaria’s pictures. “I made this a job since she’s been gone,” she said.

The case was mentioned during an Investigation Discovery show  on Feb. 5.

Voss estimates Trenton police have received more than 100 tips since Amaria’s disappearance “and we’ve had several pages of reports.”

Investigators have followed up on leads from as far away as West Palm Beach, Florida, or Detroit, where last month officers went to a home the teen was believed to have been seen, Voss said. “We’ve followed tips all over the place and so far none have led to us being able to find her.”

The FBI has also assisted Trenton police when they requested help, spokeswoman Mara Schneider said.

Meanwhile, Hall remains unwavering in her quest for answers.

“I’m not going to stop looking for my daughter,” she said. “I would give my life for my daughter.”

Amaria Hall is described as 5-foot-6 inches tall, weighing about 150 pounds, with brown eyes, dark hair and braces.

Anyone with information leading to her whereabouts can anonymously reach Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP or www.1800speakup.org.