THE BRONX (PIX11) — Shaquira Thomas said she sent her teen daughter, Nala, to live with her father in Texas, hoping the move would lead the 15 year old to a better group of friends.
“She’s a very smart little girl,” Thomas told PIX11 News Tuesday, “but she’s not a street-smart girl.”
Nala Diop Thomas was reported missing from the Bronx on Aug. 15, not long after her father drove back to New York City to visit the teen’s stepmom. The girl was last seen leaving her stepmother’s home on River Avenue on Saturday, Aug. 13, around 11 a.m. A missing persons report was later filed at the 44th Precinct.
Diop Thomas was being raised by her mother in Manhattan until earlier this summer and was registered in a Rowlett, Texas high school by her father for the coming school year.
The teen’s mother told PIX11 News that “up through junior high school, she’s been a straight A student.” The girl attended Emily Dickenson Middle School in Manhattan.
The mother added that Nala handled remote learning in 9th grade well, during the first year of the pandemic. But problems started in 10th grade, when the teen returned to in-person learning at her high school.
“She started cutting school,” Shaquira Thomas shared, remarking that the teen’s grades went down.
“She did pass her English Regents,” the mother said, “probably because she took advanced placement English in junior high school.”
The mother said it’s been tough seeing her daughter exposed to negative influences in her life after an accomplished early life. Diop Thomas performed at Lincoln Center and at Carnegie Hall with Young People’s Choir of New York, her mom said.
“Nala is a very talented girl,” the mother said. “She’s very helpful, she’s loving, she’s caring. She has a very kind heart.”
But the new influences in Nala’s life caused more conflict between mother and daughter, Shaquira Thomas said.
“I reached out several times to get her counseling,” the mother said. “Counselors came to the house.”
The mother said she told her daughter, “In Texas, you can’t run the streets like you do.”
Shaquira Thomas also said she has tried to get assistance from the mother of one of her daughter’s friends without much success.
“The mother’s not giving me any help,” Thomas said. “The girl blocked me on her phone.”
The NYPD has asked anyone with information on Nala Thomas’ whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. Nala is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 120 pounds.