Have you seen her?
By Jamie Nash
NEW CANEY, TX — A shocking story has emerged from the Tavola Community in East Montgomery County, where police say a mother secretly left her 3-year-old son in the care of her 12-year-old daughter, moved to Alabama, and never returned! Sgt. Jeff Campbell, with the Roman Forest Police Department, says 31-year-old Raven Yates abandoned the children last September, in their lovely Tavola home, valued at over a half-million dollars. The home sits in a gated community, which normally prompts neighbors to pay more attention to any unusual activity. However, most or all Yates’ neighbors will be shocked to learn what was allegedly happening under their noses.
Modern readers, cynical from the constant onslaught of sensationalism and “click-bait” in this era of internet “news” will likely assume the facts of this case will provide at least some reasonable or relatable information that soften the portrayal of the runaway mom, or perhaps even paint her as a victim. Unfortunately, with every piece of information resulting from Sgt. Campbell’s investigation, this tale grows more horrific.
The Sergeant says Yates not only left the two children alone, hundreds to thousands of miles from family members, she allegedly also ensured her young daughter would not reach out to anyone for help. Campbell says Yates warned the 12-year-old that if she told ANYONE they were left alone in Texas, the girl’s father would take her away, leaving the 3-year-old alone to fend for himself. The girl already had to deal with her 14-year-old sister suddenly being gone, when she ran away from home. Since moving to Montgomery County, Texas nearly a year earlier, none of the children had been enrolled in school, Campbell said. They exited the rear of the home and did not spend time in the front yard where they might have been noticed by area adults, or befriended by neighborhood children. Obviously, the family was isolated when Yates lived there with her three children who reportedly were not allowed to attend school or associate with anyone else. When Yates allegedly left a frightened 12-year-old to care for a toddler indefinitely, the situation became exponentially worse.
The oldest daughter, (the 14-year-old runaway) managed to reach the home of her maternal grandmother in Mobile, Alabama, and Yates reportedly had not attempted to return the child to the family’s Texas residence. Rather, Yates too eventually fled to Alabama. However, Sgt. Campbell says Yates did not go to live with her mother and oldest daughter. In fact, it seems Yates’ mother only knew Yates returned to Mobile because she unexpectedly saw her out in public. The chance sighting of Yates by her own mother is what finally exposed the truth about the abandoned children in Texas. Yates’ ex-husband, the 12-year-old’s father is a successful music producer who lives in California and travels frequently. He reportedly paid for the home in Tavola and had no idea his child was abandoned until Yates’ mother called him. She was apparently alarmed, having seen her daughter without any of her children, and knowing only the 14-year-old was safely in her care. The 12-year-old’s father was paying the rent and other bills on the New Caney home where Yates allegedly abandoned her two remaining children. After seeing Yates in Alabama, Sgt. Campbell said her mother called the busy father of the 12-year-old hoping he would tell her the other two children were with him. That did not happen.
Turns out, the 12 and 3-year-old children had exhausted any supply of food left in the home, and the girl had begun calling her father for help. Naturally, the young girl was terrified by what her mother allegedly told her would happen if people learned they were alone, so she crafted stories about babysitting her little brother and being hungry. Her father had food delivered to the home multiple times, having no idea they were completely alone and unprotected. Beginning November 14, 2022 and continuing nightly for weeks, the 12-year-old called her father saying they were hungry and their mom was at work, asking him to send food. He obliged, sending food nightly and having no idea of the children’s true dilemma. That is, not to say the father should have known or suspected a problem. Clearly, the man’s daughter believed her baby brother’s life was in her hands and convincing her father of a false narrative would get them enough food to survive, but would not result in her removal from the home and her little brother. It was likely a very convincing performance and one no child should ever be placed in a position to enact, but many children must take on adult responsibilities every day throughout the United States.
It remains unclear exactly where Yates moved in Alabama, when she fled last September. Now that her shameful and criminal Texas secret has been exposed, law enforcement in both states would like to find her so that she can be held accountable for her actions. Sgt. Campbell says Yates was already on parole in Alabama (as of this posting, we didn’t have details on previous charges – not all states have records as easily accessible online as the great state of Texas). Yates supposedly told her preteen daughter she was returning to their home state for a job. What, or where that supposed job may or may not have been is unknown as of this posting because she has now seemingly vanished. Since Yates’ mother saw her alive and well, it is not believed that Yates failed to return to Texas because she was somehow unable to do so, but rather that she apparently has chosen to live single and childless in Alabama while her frightened and abandoned preteen daughter struggled to care for a toddler and was forced to live with deceiving her father to acquire food for them after they ran out of groceries. Yates’ older daughter remains with the grandmother, though Yates had reported her as a runaway to local authorities, saying she did so to keep herself out of trouble.
Like any loving father would, upon learning Yates was in Alabama, her horrified ex-husband immediately contacted local law enforcement and booked the next available flight to Houston. The father’s 911 call is the moment when the Roman Forest Police Department became aware of the situation and responded to the home. Sgt. Campbell said the attractive late-model brick home had very little furniture inside, and even less food. Furthermore, months of presumably unattended bedwetting by the toddler left a very strong and pungent odor permeating the house. Had the older two children been enrolled in school when the family moved to Tavola, someone might have realized they were in crisis sooner. If Yates’ mother had not taken the initiative and reached out to her granddaughter’s father, there is no way to know how much longer the 12 and 3-year-old’s nightmare existence would have continued, or whether the ending might have been far worse.
Yates has a long history as an entertainer, though she never realized the success she desperately wanted. A simple search produces multiple videos depicting her songs and multiple and varied looks, as well as a previous arrest in progress. Yates also found herself in trouble, with at least one arrest caught on video. Despite the dire circumstance, Yates continued to try and promote her career, even as she was literally taken into custody by law enforcement.
The many videos are valuable to authorities and civilians anywhere Yates may flee to assist in identifying her, because she can be quite a chameleon with her looks. The many changes include a wide array of hair colors, textures, lengths and styles, along with a wide and wild variety of outfits (or in some cases, lack thereof). Yates’ tendency for drastically altering her appearance likely has not helped law enforcement in their search. It is difficult to distribute an accurate description of someone who’s had so very many looks. Knowing she is wanted, Yates may have altered her appearance in a way not previously depicted.
Yates has distinctive tattoos (SEE PICS) but those can be hidden with clothing or makeup, or even altered with more ink. No information was available regarding her current specific location, hair style / length / color, or tattoos or piercings. Pics are provided for possible comparison.
Raven Yates is now charged with two counts of Abandoning a Child Without Intention to return, which is a third-degree felony. (These are the local charges. There may be additional charges pending elsewhere. This will be reposted and updated if information changes or additional information becomes available.)
Yates is 5 feet 4 inches and weighs approximately 165 pounds.
In addition to Tavola (New Caney, TX) and Mobile, AL, Yates is known to have lived in San Antonio, TX in recent years. The last confirmed sighting (by her mother) was in Mobile, Alabama.
Anyone with any information regarding the whereabouts of 31-year-old Raven Sywaun Yates (Alias: Raven Anthony; S. Yates Raven) should contact the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at (936) 760-5800 #3
The case number is 22GO24243