Mid-afternoon kidnapping in 1989 case still on the radar of Chattanooga officials
Information taken from The Charley Project...
Tonetta Carlisle was last seen walking home from City High School, where she was a freshman, at approximately 2:55 p.m. on March 16, 1989 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She was headed to her family's residence in the 600 block of Hamilton Avenue at the time.
A witness observed Tonetta's abduction approximately half a block from Tonetta's home at approximately 3:00 p.m. A woman on Ruth Street near Hamilton Avenue glanced up the hill and watched Tonetta walking down the street. Several unidentified suspects jumped out of a tan and yellow vehicle with the Tennessee license plate number LKH 920, forcibly pulled Tonetta inside the vehicle and then drove away.
The witness told authorities that she and her husband chased the vehicle and called law enforcement with its license plate number. Tonetta's mother filed a missing child report with authorities eight hours later when her daughter failed to return home from school. The missing child report and the abduction report were not connected for two days.
The plate number of the vehicle involved in the abduction was traced back to Jeffrey Jones. Jones was previously convicted of rape and aggravated sexual assault and served eight years in prison. He was released about a year before Tonetta disappeared. Authorities determined he raped another woman who lived in his apartment complex just two months before Tonetta was last seen.
He died by suicide and his body was found inside his van on March 18, 1989, two days after Tonetta was last seen. The cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning. There has been no trace of Tonetta since that time, but there have been rumors that she was forced into prostitution and possibly taken to California.
In August of 2018, the family asked that the investigation into Tonetta's disapperance be re-opened, with a focus as Jones as a possible suspect in th case. There has been no new information forthcoming since.