Two-year-old Ke'Shaun Bryant Vanderhorst was last seen at his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 25, 1995.
Ke'Shaun's mother, Tina Vanderhorst told the police and her relatives that the Department of Human Services (also known as DHS) took Ke'Shaun, but the family became suspicious and Tina's sister reported Ke'Shaun as a missing person on October 13, 1995.
The investigators who searched Tina's apartment (in the 1400 block of 17th St.) after Ke'Shaun went missing described the apartment as "filthy, cluttered, and rat-infested."
Tina told DHS her story about Ke'Shaun being in their care, but DHS had no record of a child by that name in their care. She was arrested for parole violation and later charged with dealing in infants, endangering the welfare of a child & corrupting the morals of a child.
Tina had a long-standing problem with drugs & alcohol at the time of Ke'Shaun's disappearance. Her boyfriend had threatened to remove him from her custody because of it.
While Tina was in prison, Ke'Shaun was in foster care and later returned to Tina's care in November of 1994 after Tina was released from prison. Ke'Shaun was classified as being low-risk for abuse because Tina had never been accused of harming or neglecting her son. When Ke'Shaun was born, Tina was in jail and he was taken away from her immediately.
In January of 1995, a social worker visited the family on a regular basis to provide counseling to Tina and help her care for Ke'Shaun. DHS workers described Tina as a devoted mother and found no evidence of drug use and after 6 months, they requested that DHS should close their file on Ke'Shaun because they didn't believe that Ke'Shaun and Tina needed supervision.
In August of 1995, DHS closed their file on Ke'Shaun and he disappeared the next month. By 1995, Tina had 7 children (including Ke'Shaun).
Four of Tina's children had died in the 1980s.
Eight-month-old Terrance Slaughter died in 1980, 3-month-old Catrina Stephens died in 1983 and 10-month-old Kenneth Stephens died in 1985. Terrance, Catrina, & Kenneth's deaths were attributed to pneumonia and SIDS (also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). In 1988, Tina's second daughter, Marie was born premature and addicted to crack cocaine. Marie only weighed one pound at birth and died when she was 4 weeks old.
Tina's two other sons (born in 1986 and in 1987) lived with their paternal grandmother at the time Ke'Shaun disappeared and she was visiting them regularly.
After Tina's story about Ke'Shaun and DHS turned out to be false, Tina said that she sold Ke'Shaun to an African-American female named Virginia Graham and was paid $500 in $25 bills, & she used the money to buy crack cocaine.
Virginia Graham is described as approximately 35 to 40 years old in 1995, is 5"4 & 140 pounds with black hair & brown eyes. She had pierced ears and was well-dressed, wearing a maroon skirt, a cream-colored shirt or jacket and designer fingernails.
Tina said that Virginia (whom Tina didn't know) visited the apartment one day and offered to take Ke'Shaun because "someone" told her that Tina was having difficulty caring for Ke'Shaun. Virginia drove a light blue, 4-door sedan with the letters "AL" in the license place number and had a white child seat in the car for Ke'Shaun. Tina said Virginia told her that she lived in Philadelphia and married with two children. Virginia (if she exists at all) hasn't been identified.
Later, Tina changed her story again and said while she was under the influence of drugs, she took Ke'Shaun at a friend's fruitstand on Cecil B. Moore Avenue and couldn't remember what happened to him after that. Tina would frequently leave Ke'Shaun at the fruit stand for short periods of time prior to his disappearance, but would always come back to get him eventually.
Neighbors reported that Ke'Shaun always wore clean clothes, didn't appear hungry or abused prior to his disappearance and never saw Tina mistreat him at all, but Tina would frequently leave Ke'Shaun in the care of other people sometimes overnight.
Ke'Shaun has never been seen since and neither has his alleged abductor, Virginia Graham. In November of 1996, Tina pled no contest to child endangerment in connection with Ke'Shaun's case and was sentenced to 2 in a half to 7 years in prison. The police began reinvestigating the deaths of Tina's other children, but no charges were pressed against her.
After Tina was released from prison, she was arrested once for prostitution and Ke'Shaun has never been located.