EXCLUSIVE: Surveillance video shows Delaware teen Janteyl Johnson buying candy an hour before she disappeared in 2010
The security footage from what used to be a PathMark grocery store in Newark, Delaware, shows Janteyl Johnson, 15, walking in to buy candy. It's the middle of winter, Feb. 3, 2010. She's wearing a puffer jacket, blue jeans, and sneakers. Her braids are tied back in a ponytail.
Janteyl, five months pregnant at the time, pays at a self-checkout register. When she exits the store at 12:31 p.m., she's talking on her cell phone and stops to scratch her leg, then continues walking home. The two-and-a-half-minute clip is the last confirmed sighting of the teen. An hour later, Janteyl vanished from her family's apartment and has not been seen or heard from ever since.
The never before seen video of Janteyl buying a bag of candy is a reminder that she was a child, and no one has been held accountable for her disappearance.
"I can tell you that it's not normal what happened to her," said Detective Roberto Herrera, in an exclusive interview.
Herrera, a 19-year-veteran of the New Castle County Police Department, made Janteyl's case a priority when he took over the missing persons division in 2018.
"She was 15. She was pregnant, five months pregnant, so it’s a case that catches anyone’s attention right away.”
A missing pregnant child should've made headlines, but Janteyl didn't get wall-to-wall media coverage. She didn't become a household name. There was no social media frenzy over her disappearance. Janteyl was barely mentioned in the news. A few online outlets have recently written about Janteyl, and a few podcasts have featured her story.
But what if from the start, when it mattered most, Janteyl's disappearance had generated the type of media coverage that Gabby Petito or Lacy Peterson received? Perhaps Janteyl would've been found, and whoever's responsible for her disappearance would've been brought to justice by now.
I first covered Janteyl's disappearance in 2010 for the outlet I worked for at the time. I interviewed her mother, twice, but because Janteyl was classified as a runaway, there was no further interest in covering her case. Some local papers in Delaware did mention Janteyl, but as far as extensive media coverage goes, her case got lost over the years.
We know Janteyl was talking to several older men the day she vanished, including the alleged father of her unborn child. Her family says he was the last person who called Janteyl and that her cell phone later pinged near his relative's home. Det. Herrera didn't confirm that information and has not named any suspects. Instead, he focused on the department's efforts to generate leads in the case.
“At the end of 2019 we put up a billboard in Delaware with her picture, and we also put her picture and information on a deck of playing cards and distributed them in jails and prisons in Delaware," said Herrera, "and we actually got a good lead that I cannot go into detail at this point.”
Herrera wants Janteyl's family to know that she hasn't been forgotten. He feels this case can be solved, and is turning to the public for help.
"Like any other missing person, it's going to take somebody coming forward to provide us with more information. I’m hoping that we can get more with time and we can solve this to give some peace of mind to the family.”
IF YOU KNOW WHERE JANTEYL IS, PLEASE CALL 911 OR THE NEW CASTLE COUNTY POLICE AT: 302-395-2784