HOUSTON - In February 2009, Tiara McWilliams says she fled Houston and moved up north after suffering abuse at the hands of her child's father.
She took her newborn baby Ameera Deadrick along with her.
"He promised me that I would pay for taking his daughter from him," McWilliams recalled.
Eventually, McWilliams and Ameera's father started communicating again.
"We talked every day, I sent him pictures of her daily, he came to visit her," she explained.
When Ameera was 4-years-old, McWilliams agreed to let her spend the summer of 2013 with her father and his girlfriend in Houston. When the time came for Ameera to return to Wisconsin, McWilliams says her father refused to bring her back. So, in Spring of 2014, Tiara bought a ticket to Houston and tried to take her daughter home, but she says he wouldn't let her.
"Her father was very strict about allowing me to see her. He wouldn't allow her to stay in my hotel room by herself, he wouldn't leave her with me, he just monitored the whole visit," said McWilliams.
She tried to get the police involved, but because there wasn't a custody agreement, the police couldn't help. Ultimately, McWilliams ended up returning to Wisconsin without Ameera and that's when the communication with her daughter dwindled.
"Phones started getting disconnected. I couldn't reach out to anyone, no one was returning any of my phone calls or even opening my messages on messenger," McWilliams said.
The last time she spoke with Ameera her daughter was 6-years-old. After that conversation, all communication ended. McWilliams would spend the next year sending text messages to Ameera's father and his girlfriend pleading to speak with her daughter.
"I filed court papers; I started getting things together so that I could move back here," said McWilliams.
In the spring of 2016, she got word that her child's father was in prison and had been there for months, but no one had any clue where Ameera was.
"She had never been enrolled in school; she had never been to the doctor... So, now everyone's wondering okay where is this little girl? Who has her?" McWilliams said.
The timetable surrounding Ameera's disappearance isn't precise, but the last time anyone could recall seeing her was the fall of 2016, a few months after her father was incarcerated. Ameera was 8-years-old when an official missing person report was filed.
"They started investigating, they went to the prison, they gave lie detector tests, he came up with this story of a lady named Linda in Waco and him leaving Ameera with the lady; and when he got out, he was going to go get her," McWilliams said.
Tiara says officers went to the address he gave them for that woman, but no one by that name lived on the property.
Law enforcement also did a cadaver search of one of the father's last known residences in Hubbard, Texas but there was still no sign of Ameera.
The Center For Missing and Exploited Children has released age progression photos of Ameera over the years. October 1, 2022 would be her 14th birthday.
FOX 26 asked Tiara McWilliams what she believes may have happened to her daughter. Her answer was heartbreaking.
"God has given me peace. I had to get sober to get it, but he's given me peace and I know my daughter is with him," McWilliams said through tears.
Ameera's father has since been released from prison; he and his girlfriend don't live far from McWilliams, and she says she's spoken with him and has begged for answers to no avail.
Tiara says the pain of losing her daughter is something she'll live with forever.
"I don't know if the questions will ever stop as a mother, but I would like to begin to heal," she said.
This mother says she believes there are people out there who have information or some kind of clue in Ameera's disappearance that can help the police solve this case.
You can click here for a look at an official record of long-term Missing persons throughout the state of Texas.