Celina Mays Missing: What Happened To Celina Mays? Is Celina Mays Dead or Alive? – When Celina inexplicably vanished without a trace from her Willingboro home in December 1996, she was 12 years old and nine months pregnant. The case that perplexed investigators over 25 years ago is still being looked into thoroughly. Although there hasn’t been much progress in the cold case, the victim’s family and the police haven’t given up hope just yet.
Let’s examine the specifics of the missing person case before the episode airs, with John Walsh and his team actively participating in the investigation, hoping to unravel the mystery.
This week’s episode of Investigation Discovery’s “In Pursuit With John Walsh” will review the long-running Celina Mays disappearance case in Burlington County. The “Unforgotten” episode will debut on ID on September 13, 2022, at 9:00 p.m. ET.
What Happened to Celina Mays?
Celina Janette Mays was welcomed into the world in May 1984 by Lynn Vitale and CJ Mays. Celina was homeschooled and lived with her father’s family in Willingboro, New Jersey, at the time of the incident. She was raised in a sheltered and devout setting. The 12-year-old appeared to be a content child who participated in the church choir and lived in the suburbs. On the other hand, Celina was nine months pregnant and about to give birth when she vanished.
Celina and the rest of the family went to church on December 15, 1996. They had ice cream after they returned, and the little girl went to bed around 11 o’clock. Everything seemed normal up until that point. The following morning, however, when Celina’s stepsister went to wake her up, she was not there. All of her possessions were left there, and pillows were arranged beneath the blanket to give the impression that someone was dozing. With nothing on her person save the clothing on her back, Celina looked to vanish into the darkness.
Is Celina Mays Dead or Alive?
The authorities first tried to identify the father of Celina’s unborn child. The family claims she never identified the person, simply stating that she was 16 years old and not a member of the church they belonged to. CJ claimed that Celina was upset to find that the baby’s blood tests could expose its identity and didn’t want anyone to know. He thought Celina was going to leave home at one point. Celina was only twelve, but the family’s religious convictions prohibited abortion.
The May family belonged to the Gospel of Christ Ministry, whose pastor was CJ’s sister, Serita Smith. The church controlled the family’s lives, and there were rumors that Serita was in charge and looked after both the church and the family in every way. The Mays and Serita also showed no cooperation with the authorities. They also became aware of the problems involving the families of CJ and Lynn. When Lynn passed away in 1994, her family fought for custody of Celina, claiming that CJ had a violent past, used narcotics, and engaged in domestic abuse. CJ, however, asserted that his discovery of religion had transformed him.
Ultimately, the court decided that CJ would have custody of Celina. Cindy Cram, Celina’s maternal aunt, said there had been foul play when the young child vanished and that the Mays had been keeping her hidden. In response, the Mays asserted that Lynn’s family attempted to win custody by hiding Celina and maybe taking her to Florida or Michigan. Cindy stated in 2021, “My initial reaction was that Celina wasn’t living. You should occasionally follow your gut instinct. Still, I couldn’t believe she was alive. I believe they silenced her.”
12-Year-Old Celina Mays Was 9-Months-Pregnant When She Vanished In 1996 #Missing
— Investigation Discovery (@DiscoveryID) February 10, 2022
Several ideas and stories have been spread throughout the years, although the authorities have kept looking into Celina’s disappearance as a missing person investigation rather than a homicide. One of Celina’s relatives believed that the child’s father murdered her or that she may have perished due to a home abortion. Another report said that one of Celina’s cousins was the child’s father. However, there hasn’t been any hard evidence, so all of this has remained just conjecture.
The lack of information about Celina’s whereabouts perplexed the authorities. Celina may have been spotted visiting a restaurant in January 1997, but it was later determined that she wasn’t there. In addition, there were unsubstantiated reports of her sightings in the towns of Lacey and Hopewell. The police have pursued more than 200 leads over the years, and they are hoping that developments in age-progression photo technology and the ubiquity of social media will lead to new information about the case.
Detective Pogorzelski added:
“Well, we’re not sure. We’ve investigated over 254 leads throughout the past 25 years. We’ve recently had four more leads that we’re investigating.”
The investigation has been under the supervision of numerous investigators over the years, but officials are still hunting for answers. If Celina Mays is still alive, she will be 37 years old, and her child will be around 25 years old.
Wednesday, at 9:00 p.m. ET, Investigation Discovery broadcasts In Pursuit With John Walsh.
Do you know anything about Celina Mays’s whereabouts?
Please get in touch with the Willingboro Police Department at 609-877-2200 ext. 1080.