‘We want him home’: Grandmother pleads for help as 19-year-old is missing 3 weeks in KC

Over the past three weeks, Tecona Sullivan says she has knocked on doors, ridden buses, searched alleys, visited police stations, entered vacant buildings and passed out fliers all over Kansas City.

She is not a professional detective. But she feels like she’s effectively taken on that role, tacking hundreds of miles on the odometer with trips from St. Louis, as she tries to find her 19-year-old grandson T’Montez Hurt.

“We’re looking for him because we love Tez,” Sullivan told The Star in a tearful phone interview Friday.

Family has not heard from Hurt since a troubling phone conversation on the morning of Feb. 1, Sullivan said. And, after a series of failures, she says, the 19-year-old was last known to be in Kansas City with little more than the clothes on his back.

To make matters worse, Sullivan said she is not convinced Kansas City police are all that concerned with finding him. As of Friday night, the only missing persons report publicly shared by law enforcement was from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

“I feel like T’Montez is still with me. I just know that he’s lost. Mentally something’s not right with my grandson,” Sullivan said.

“We love him and we want him home. And I just don’t know what could be going on. But one thing I’m sure of … Tez is not in his right mind,” she added.

The Star on Thursday and Friday sought information from Kansas City police regarding a missing persons investigation for Hurt and the initial call for service. No information was provided as of Friday night.

Early morning call

Sullivan usually wakes up before dawn for work. On Feb. 1, she noticed she had missed a phone call from her grandson at 1:30 a.m.

She called him back, and spoke over a FaceTime video call, which prompted panic.

Hurt, who had been residing in St. Joseph during his freshman year at college, did not sound like himself. He was talking like “a baby,” she said, and addressing off-screen a younger woman he had been visiting along with another man in Kansas City.

She heard her grandson say he had been “laced.” She took that to mean Hurt had been drugged. She says he sounded distressed, and appeared to be having some sort of mental breakdown.

Worried, Sullivan called the first Kansas City hospital that turned up in a Google search. She convinced a receptionist to call police and an ambulance, she said, to the 3900 block of Baltimore Avenue, to pick Hurt up that morning.

She was relieved when she saw he was being taken to St. Luke’s on the Plaza for a medical evaluation. But that soon faded.

A few hours later, Sullivan was still talking to Hurt over the phone and learned the hospital was discharging him.

She believes they did so despite clear signs that her grandson was in the throes of a distressing episode, and possibly still under the influence of something.

‘Going to glory’

Later that morning, Sullivan says she was still on the phone with Hurt when he told her he was leaving the hospital. She was shocked, and angry.

She argued with a nurse, she said, asking for a drug test. One came back that showed the presence of marijuana but nothing else — though Sullivan questioned how thorough the test was based on the odd behavior Hurt continued to exhibit.

She heard him say things like he was “born again and going to glory.” It was all highly out of character.

An arrangement was made for Hurt to be brought by a zTrip taxi to the Greyhound bus station at 1101 Troost Ave. Sullivan called the bus company and bought him a ticket to St. Louis. She figured he would be on his way home soon.

But there was a problem.

The station was closed clear through the afternoon. When her grandson was dropped off, Sullivan said, he got out of the cab, realized the doors were locked and that he was without his cellphone.

Video tapes obtained by Sullivan showed Hurt attempting to get his phone back, she said, but the driver left him there.

Then, she says, he supposedly walked south more than 8 miles down Troost Avenue. At least, Sullivan said, that’s what she heard from Kansas City police after it took days to file a missing persons report.

Seeking help

Since Hurt went missing 23 days ago, Sullivan has also turned to Kansas City’s Ad Hoc Group Against Crime for help. The group led a canvass over the weekend in an effort to find him.

Hurt has a big family that loves him — his mother, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles — and they’ve all been worried about him since he vanished, Sullivan said. She believes something is wrong because she says Hurt would at least reach out to tell them he is OK.

In all, Sullivan said the one thing the family wants is to see Hurt return to them. She says he is a sweet young man and a talented basketball player with high aspirations and his whole life ahead.

All are hoping and praying he is safe, she said.

On Friday night, after returning home from work, Sullivan said she was thinking about making yet another trip to Kansas City.

She doesn’t know what else she should do.