Above: Latoya circa, 1989
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: September 6, 1989
Missing From: Georgetown, Georgetown County, South Carolina
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date of Birth: December 30, 1983
Age: 5 years old
Height and Weight: 3’4” and 45 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: African American Female, Black hair, Brown eyes, Latoya has small gaps between her front teeth, her ears are pierced and at the time of her disappearance, she wore straws in her ears instead of actual earrings, the skin on her knees was darker in color and she was described as having a light complexion, her middle name is spelled as “Nicola” in some reports and she might use the nickname “Nikki”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A white short-sleeve blouse with black polka dots and with black trimming around the neck and sleeves, a black denim skirt, a pair of white socks, and white tennis shoes
Details of Disappearance
Latoya was last seen in Georgetown, South Carolina on September 6th 1989. A little after 12:00 pm, she left her aunts residence at the Georgetown Housing Project located at Delta and Rainey Drive in order to walk to the school bus stop. She was last seen standing at the stop. She has never been seen or heard from since.
Investigators believe Latoya was abducted by a non-family member but they had no strong suspects and her supposed abductor(s) were never located. Her presumed abduction remained unsolved for over a year after it occurred.
On October 4th 1990, investigators announced they had arrested an individual in connection to her disappearance. The individual was identified as 19 year old Derrick Lamont Collington, a resident at the same housing project as Latoya.
According to reports, he became a suspect in the case after he was arrested in September of 1990 for breaking into the apartment of a three year old girl and raping her. He was charged with burglary and first degree criminal sexual conduct in that case.
Derrick was 18 years old at the time of Latoya’s presumed abduction and was neighbor of hers. He was said to know the child prior to her disappearance. Authorities noticed similarities between her disappearance and the break-in case and decided to question Collington about his possible involvement in Latoya’s disappearance.
According to what investigators gathered, Derrick abducted Latoya from the bus stop and lured her to his apartment. He then sexually assaulted her in an upstairs bedroom before beating her to death. They received information that Latoya’s body had been disposed of just a few miles away from the bus stop in a trash bin. He was charged with kidnapping, first degree criminal sexual conduct, and first degree murder. Collington also admitted in detail to Latoya’s murder.
According to investigators, the contents of the trash bin that her body was left in were traced to the Georgetown County landfill. Authorities searched the landfill for months after Derrick’s arrest but found no trace of her remains.
Derrick was held at the Georgetown County jail without bond. He was ordered to stand trial for Latoya’s death. The state tried to seek the death penalty for him due to the fact that he sexually abused the child before murdering her but without a body, investigators couldn’t prove without a doubt that he had done this.
In June of 1991, Derrick plead guilty to killing Latoya in 1989. He was given a plea bargain in which he would serve a life sentence with the possibility of parole after serving 20 years behind bars. He served 21 years of his sentence before passing away in 2012.
At the time of her disappearance, Latoya’s loved ones described her as being extremely shy. She was a kindergarten student at Kensington Elementary School in 1989. Her family still lives in the local area. Her remains have never been recovered and searches for them have since been halted.
Image: Derrick Collington, circa 2012
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Georgetown Police Department 843-545-4300
The Times and Democrat 07/22/1990
The Charlotte Observer 10/04/1990
The Times and Democrat 10/04/1990
The Charlotte Observer 10/06/1990
The Charlotte Observer 04/14/1991
The Charlotte Observer 06/12/1991