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Search for missing teenager enters second week

SELMA — The last her family knew, 17-year-old Tarasha Benjamin was going to the Selma Flea Market. So that’s where they went Saturday — one week after she disappeared — to hand out flyers and try to siphon any information that hasn’t previously come to light.

Helpful tidbits are few and far between.

All that is known for certain is Benjamin, also known as “Pooh,” was planning to go to the flea market, and left in a gray Mazda pick-up belonging to her friend, Telish Givhan.

That truck was found abandoned near American Apparel on the Cecil Jackson Bypass, about a mile north of the flea market and facing away from it.

“The family feels that she did make it to the flea market,” Angela Benjamin, Ward 4 councilperson and Tarasha Benjamin’s cousin, said. “A couple of vendors said they saw her.”

What time she was there, who she was with and where she might have been headed are all questions that, for now, remain unanswered.

“We’re just asking people if they saw her,” Natasha Benjamin, Tarasha’s aunt, said while passing out flyers. “We’ve been talking to the people she usually visits. We’re just asking people if they saw her.”

Angela Benjamin said the police have two good leads, but declined to give additional details.

Lieutenant Michael Harris of the Selma Police Department has been working Tarasha’s case in conjunction with the Alabama Bureau of Investigating and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He said useful information has been hard to come by.

“We need to hear from anybody who saw that gray Mazda between (noon at 8 p.m. June 26),” Harris said.

Harris said investigators are piecing together all the information they have and working to corroborate information to determine what is reliable and what isn’t it.

“But as far as locating her,” Harris said, “we aren’t any closer.”