ST. LOUIS – “We used to call her like the Sour Patch Kid,” said Chequan Gully, Janyia’s aunt. “She’s like super-super sweet. But then, she has her little sour moments as well.”
Life turned sour for the teen. In August 2022, Janyia was in a foster home. Gully shared that when Janyia ran away to be with her biological mom.
“I’m just a concerned sister,” said Janyia’s older sister, Chemelle, who heard from the teen occasionally. “She wasn’t really like detailed. She would just call me, see how I was, see how our niece is.”
Then in early November, communication suddenly stopped.
“We just recently found out that her mother is incarcerated,” Gully explained. “So now, that means she’s out on her own.”
Chemelle only had a faint idea where Janiya and her mom were last seen.
“I know the main, main street that my mom would be on when we could go to visit her sometimes was Grand and I believe Natural Bridge.”
That is in North St. Louis. Two days before Janyia left her foster mom, the FBI issued a report indicating agents found dozens of missing young people. The average age of the victims matched Janyia’s age. The report indicated many had been sex trafficked.\
“That scares me, because you see so many stories about so many kids,” Chemelle expressed. “It takes that one person.”
Janyia’s grandmother Brenda said the stress piled on when there was still no contact during the Thanksgiving holiday.
“It’s hard, because I don’t know if she’s dead or alive.”
She said Janyia’s mom did not have a recent stable address.
“I believe it was house-to-house, from pillar-to-post, in my opinion.”
For now, all the family has is pictures and a message for Janyia from her big sister, Chemelle.
“I really hope you come home to us. We really miss you. It wasn’t the same. It hasn’t been the same for the holidays. We really want you home. We really miss you.”
Janyia Gully is a 15-year-old girl, African-American, 5’3”, 205 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, and a scar on her right eyebrow. If you see her or know anything, call the