‘It’s hurtful’: 21-year-old Tamia Taylor still missing after week-long search

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 5:03 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:56 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - This weekend marked one full week since 21-year-old Tamia Taylor went missing.

“The last week has been, it’s hurtful,” said Debra Taylor, Tamia’s mother.

The Hernando, Mississippi native was last seen in Downtown Memphis after getting on a midnight Memphis Riverboats cruise and reportedly never returning with the boat.

At last check, Memphis police told us they were exhausting all of their search efforts.

The 21-year-old’s mother said she’s been coping with confusion and uncertainty as to where her daughter could be.

Debra Taylor, Tamia Taylor's mother
Debra Taylor, Tamia Taylor's mother(Action News 5)

“But I can’t lose focus of the big picture, this is something that is way bigger than me,” said Debra.

She says the focus remains on bringing Tamia home, which she believes law enforcement agencies have been working about the clock to do.

“Whatever it takes to get the job done, they have been doing. They have been working day in and day out. It is a process, and I truly believe that they are doing their very best to help. Let’s bring Tamia home,” said Debra.

The Dock Ellis Foundation has also joined the search.

The national organization assists family members in minority communities who have loved ones who may be missing, murdered, or sex trafficked. The CEO of the organization says they’ve assisted over 100 missing person cases similar to Taylor’s.

“She is receiving a lot of attention regards to missing persons case,” said CEO Jasmine Ellis. “We got on the line with a couple of search and rescue teams in the area. And what we do in that situation, we asked for them to go on standby so just in case the search slows down with law enforcement, we are able to come in and offer that support to be able to pick up with a search effort.”

Memphis police say Tamia’s mother reported her missing after she did not return her multiple phone calls and texts after a Midnight Booze Cruise hosted by Memphis Riverboats.

Debra told police a coworker originally told her they traveled to Memphis, but Taylor never got on the cruise.

Further investigation revealed Taylor did get on the riverboat, but did not get off.

We spoke with a friend who said he traveled with Taylor and was with her that night.

He said at one point in the night, Taylor walked off alone to go to the restroom but never returned.

Taylor is reportedly 5′7″, 125 pounds, and was last seen wearing a black jacket, beige shirt, white shorts, orange socks, and white shoes.

The U.S. Coast Guard joined the search for Tamia on Friday.

Her family and friends are still desperate for answers.

“We just have to stay humble, stay, prayed up, and know that through it all, God’s got it in his hands,” said Debra.

Memphis police are asking anyone who was on the Midnight Booze Cruise on September 9 to contact them.

Meanwhile, further Midnight Booze Cruise dates have been canceled on the Memphis Riverboats website.

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