AURORA, Colo. — Sabrina Jones says she has cried enough tears to fill the entire state of Colorado. She's a mom of six children — five of them boys and her only daughter whose 22nd birthday is Feb. 8. There is still cake and a celebration, but no Lashaya.
Lashaya Stine hasn’t been home in five and half years.
“You really want to know what I think? I think that whatever situation she was in, I think it was bad," said Sabrina. "I think that, I do believe that Lashaya was being trafficked.”
Surveillance video from July 2016 shows Lashaya walking by herself at just after two in the morning not far from her mother’s home in Aurora. Her mother is convinced Lashaya was going to meet a boy, who Sabrina believes had become a bad influence on her daughter, a straight-A student at George Washington High School. That’s the last known piece of video showing the then-16-year-old.
The last credible tip about Lashaya came a couple of years ago when someone said they spotted her at a hotel on East Colfax. But nothing ever came of it and the tip line has been quiet ever since.
It wasn’t for lack of effort by Aurora police. They’ve searched and made pleas to the public. In November 2020, the FBI went to a house on Lansing Street in Aurora and searched for three days, but found nothing.
Sabrina said she believes the trail got cold because Lashaya was trafficked out of state.
“It used to be I'd be so afraid for somebody to tell me that she was deceased," said Lashaya's mother. "But now it's... I'm at this point now where whatever it is, please somebody. Just help me find out what happened to her. More than anything in this world, even if it means the worst, I just want to know what happened to her… good or bad. If she's out there living her best life, I want to know about that. If she's under another identity, I just want to know that. If my baby is not alive, I want to know that.”
Sabrina has spent these five and half years waiting and wondering, knowing in her heart her daughter would have contacted her by now.
“How do you go this long? How do you go this long? And I have the same phone number. I live in the same house. How do you go this long without at least picking up the phone and at least saying, even if you don't want to come home, 'I'm alright. Goodbye,'” said Sabrina.
When asked if she still had thoughts about Lashaya walking up the sidewalk to her house someday, Sabrina shook her head as her eyes welled up with tears.
”No," she responded. "Those thoughts went long ago.”
What Sabrina feels more than anything right now is anger at those who knew something and wouldn't help, and for those who spewed cruel words, calling her daughter just another runaway.
“I remember the beginning that people were making fun of the fact that, 'Oh, she's not missing. She's been prostituted from Colorado to Kansas,'" Sabrina said. "They thought it was funny. And I just want to say right now that it's not funny.”
Sabrina physically shakes in anger and with tears streaming down her face when she describes the screenshots of hateful Facebook posts that were sent to her of what people were saying.
“And now I just want to say to some of those people, 'What do you think now? It's been almost six years,'" Sabrina said. "What do you think now? You think she's just a runaway now? You think it's OK for somebody to traffic her from one state to the next? You think that's all right? How would you feel if I never find her and you had a part in that somehow? I wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing that somebody's daughter was missing for about six years, and I knew something to save that girl. I want to know how you are sleeping. I want to know, I want to know how they feel now.”
Through the years, in her moments of desperation and vulnerability, scammers tried and almost got money out of this heartbroken mom. The first was a woman who claimed to have Lashaya.
“…and was threatening us, basically, that if we didn't send the money, what she would do to her," said Sabrina. "And I was about to send them money. I lost my mind that day. And even when detectives told me they believed it was a scam, I was mad at them. I was like, 'No, it's not. You're not going to tell me this is a scam.'”
A second time, a scammer tried a similar tactic, wanting Sabrina to send them gift cards in exchange for information about Lashaya. The third time, even more bold and strange, came from a man claiming to be in touch with those holding Lashaya.
“He basically so much as told us that white supremacists are the ones that bought her," Sabrina said. "He sent us a text message of some conversation between him and another guy about selling her, 'Oh yeah, this is Lashaya Stine from Colorado.'”
Three different scammers, for a moment, raised Sabrina's hopes. All tried to get money out of a mom who just wants her daughter back.
"I know it's possible that I won't hear her voice. I know that it's possible I won’t hear that loud laugh. It's even possible that even if I was to see her again, she's not the same girl. I know that," she said. “There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about her, not one day.”
The mother of six especially thinks about her only daughter on Feb. 8, Lashaya’s birthday. She may be gone but is certainly not forgotten by her family, who just want answers.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. Tipsters can remain anonymous. There is a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to Lashaya.