,By: Claudia Rivero
The last time Denise Trader spoke with her daughter Nefertiri or "Neffie", as she's known to friends and family, was June 29, 2014. They talked about work, the kids, and the BET Awards ceremony on TV. When it came time to end their conversation they did so the same way they ended every phone conversation by saying "I love you".
June 30, 2014
Unable to reach her the next day, Denise drove to Nefertiri's house located in the Saddlebrook housing development in New Castle, Delaware. Denise immediately noticed something wasn't right.
"There was a pack of cigarettes and a loaf of bread that had been stepped on scattered all over the lawn and on the front porch. Her sandals were by the door, but Neffie wasn't there," a tearful Denise told me during an interview at her home in Claymont, Delaware.
It was about 6 p.m. when Denise called 911. She says it took New Castle County Police more than two hours to arrive. Officers went door to door and that's when a neighbor dropped a bombshell.
The neighbor told officers he heard a loud noise at about 4 a.m. and when he looked out his window he witnessed a man wearing tan shorts and a hooded sweatshirt, dragging Nefertiri and throwing her in the back seat of her 2000 silver Acura RL. The witness, Joe Robinson, didn't call the police. He told reporters he thought maybe the guy was taking Nefertiri to the hospital and that by the time he went downstairs the car was gone.
"All he had to do was make an anonymous call to the police, and they probably could have caught the guy since there's only one way in and one way out," Denise said.
Nefertiri’s teenage son and younger daughter were sleeping and had no idea their mother had been kidnapped when they left for school that morning.
What felt like a second kick in the gut, in addition to the 17-hour gap in reporting the abduction to police, Denise later learned that another neighbor had a surveillance camera pointed in the direction of the parking lot, but it wasn’t turned on that night. Two missed opportunities.
Denise doesn't believe her daughter's abduction was random.
“I would think it was somebody that she knew because Neffie is a likable person and has a lot of friends,” Denise said.
But if her friends do know what happened to Nefertiri, they have yet to contact New Castle County Police or the FBI even though there’s a $30,000 reward.
What investigators do know is that shortly before the attack, the now 35-year-old was seen on store surveillance cameras buying two cups of coffee, cigarettes and a loaf of bread at the 711 on Route 273. Investigators have not made the video public, but the owner of the store says that Nefertiri was a regular customer who stopped by almost daily mostly in the evening. He said it was unusual to see her that early in the morning.
According to sources the last image of Nefertiri’s car AFTER she was kidnapped was captured by surveillance cameras from a Verizon store on North Dupont Highway.
“I know someone out there knows something, and it would be very appreciated if they said something. Put yourself in my place, what if this was your loved one? You'd want someone to come forward,” Denise said.
In addition to the $30,000 reward, the FBI also placed electronic billboards with Nefertiri's picture and information about the abduction along I-95 from Maryland to Connecticut. As with any missing persons case time is the enemy, and the amount of time that has passed with no answers as to what happened to Nefertiri doesn’t sit well with residents at Saddlebrook.
“It just feels like it should have been solved since it’s a little area, and somebody should have said something by now. I just feel so bad for her family,” said neighbor Keiayah Wood.
As the main provider for her three children, Nefertiri was working her way up from housekeeping to patient transport at nearby Christiana Hospital. Denise and other family members are now caring for Nefertiri's children. Denise admits the not knowing if she'll ever see her daughter again has taken it's toll on her health, but she’s determined to keep Neffie's story in the public eye and urges anyone with information to do the right thing.
“It’s not about snitching, it's about a person’s life. That girl has kids, she has a family! I love her and miss her so much, and I can't wait for her to be back home with us."
If you have information on Nefertiri Trader's whereabouts call New Castle County Police at (302) 395-8110 or the FBI. Nefertiri's car is described as a 2000 silver Acura RL with Delaware license plate number 404893.
By: Claudia Rivero
I was recently contacted by the producer of a popular podcast who came across my videos, website and blog featuring the case of missing Delaware teen, Janteyl Johnson. I'm currently working on a short documentary about Janteyl's mysterious disappearance in 2010; she was five months pregnant at the time. The producer tells me this has been one of the most popular cases she has featured on her show, The Vanished Podcast. I hope you get a chance to listen to it. I also want to thank the show's producer, Marissa, for shedding light on Janteyl's case.
Claudia Rivero Investigative Reporter/Producer