• 73°

Crowd gathers to support missing girl’s family

She hasn’t eaten more than a small snack or slept soundly for seven days. But Regina Benjamin, mother of missing 17-year-old Tarasha Benjamin, still has hope.

“I believe she is going to come home,” Benjamin said. “I don’t have a feeling of nothing bad happening.”

Friends, family and the community haven’t given up hope of finding Tarasha, either.

Gathering beneath the pavilion in Bloch Park, more than 75 people surrounded Regina Benjamin and her immediate family with heart-felt words of support, prayers of hope and firm embraces at a prayer service for Tarasha.

Support from the community makes it easier for Benjamin to continue searching and praying.

“Everybody has been sticking with me,” Benjamin said. “That’s what keeps me going.”

Prayer and continued searching keep the entire family going, too.

“We’ve just been praying,” said cousin Connie Allen. “Until we hear something, we are just going to have to pray. That’s the only thing we have to hold on to.”

Ward 4 Councilwoman Angela Benjamin, relative of Tarasha and one of the leaders of the community search team, along with Linda Benjamin, Renada White and Cassandra Moten.

These four people continually update the Facebook page titled “MISSING Person Alert! Help Find Tarasha ‘Pooh’ Benjamin NOW!”

Search teams are taking down information from anyone with tips, looking into the information from the tips and bringing the information to the Selma Police Department. Tips can also be posted on the Facebook page.

If the “like” button is clicked for a comment, that means the search team has received your information and is pursuing the tip.

“We just need the information,” Angela Benjamin said. “We just want the information. Every lead is being followed up, every last one.”

Angela Benjamin asked that members of the community donate or allow members of the search team to use the following items: a building to centrally locate search efforts, note pads, pens, water and other beverages, small snacks and golf cart or all-terrain vehicles.

Tarasha was last seen wearing short denim shorts, a white short-sleeve shirt with lime and purple stripes, a silver necklace she never removes and silver sandals. She pulled her hair back into a pony tail and has a tattoo on her right arm that says “Pooh,” her nickname.

“We miss her,” said Rose White, Tarasha’s aunt. “I’ll have her in my prayers and I’ll have her in my heart for every day, every night until she comes.”

Anyone seeing someone matching the teenager’s description should call the Selma Police Department’s secret witness line at 874-2190 or Crimestoppers at 877-3530.

The family requests calls with information at Linda Benjamin at 419-0626; Tosha Benjamin at 419-4381 or Wayne House at 267-8007.