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Pa. mother missing for nearly two weeks

PHILADELPHIA -- All her life, Latoyia Figueroa feared ending up like her mother. Before Latoyia was old enough to attend grade school, police found her mom dead on a Philadelphia street with a deep cut in her throat.

It was April 13, 1985. Her mom, Ann Taylor, was only 22.

Flash forward 20 years. Figueroa, 24, five months' pregnant and the mother of a 7-year-old girl, has been missing nearly two weeks.

Her friends and family are praying that history will not repeat itself.

''I hope it isn't the same scenario," said Carletta Kennedy, Figueroa's childhood friend. ''Lord have mercy."

Police still do not know what happened to Figueroa. They are searching her Philadelphia neighborhood for clues, interviewing men in her personal life and piecing together the last few hours she was seen in public.

Police know some details of her actions on Monday, July 18. Figueroa spent that morning with Stephen Pouche, the father of her unborn daughter.

The two left his redbrick row house and drove to Pennsylvania Hospital for a morning doctor's appointment to check the health of her fetus.

Neither of them had the money to pay the $35 insurance copay, so they left the hospital and drove back to southwest Philadelphia.

Before heading back to his place, the pair stopped for food at a seafood-takeout restaurant. Latoyia stayed with him until about 3 p.m. and left. Then the timeline becomes murky.

''He [Pouche] is the last person who sees her," said a police officer close to the investigation. But police are talking with several men whom Figueroa dated, the officer said.

Police said they have mixed information about where Figueroa should have been that Monday night. Some who were questioned by police told them that she was supposed to be waitressing at a local T.G.I. Friday's. Others told police she took that night off.

An employee at the restaurant, who declined to give his name, said that the last time Figueroa had spoken with anyone at T.G.I. Friday's was July 17, the day before she disappeared. He said Figueroa was talking with another waitress about switching hours.

On Tuesday, July 19, Figueroa did not show up for her morning shift or call to say she could not make it, the employee said. The employee said that since Figueroa started at the restaurant about two years ago, she had always came to work on time and was very responsible.

''She was a working woman," said Christina Lewis, Figueroa's best friend. And she did ''anything to take care of her baby," Lewis said.

Growing up without her mother was tough for Figueroa, friends said.

The grandmother who raised her died when Figueroa was in high school.

Figueroa never learned to drive and never made it to college. She dreamed of being a nurse.

Her father, Melvin Figueroa, lived in another part of the city. Her friends said the two were not close.

But she was close to her high school sweetheart, Anthony Williams -- who is the father of her first child, Izhanae.

They met at high school choir practice. Williams said they were instantly attracted to each other.

''We were talking about getting back together," Williams said. ''I think she is still alive. I can feel it."

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