Update: Monday, August 18, 11:30 p.m. Deng has been found alive at a New York City hospital.
Ataui Deng, a Sudanese model who has lived and worked in New York since 2008, has gone missing. On Monday afternoon fashion and entertainment industry insiders, like fellow model Ajak Deng–who appeared in a Benetton spread with Deng–and Deng’s friend (and onetime Top Chef contestant) Roblé Ali, asked via Instagram for the public’s help locating the model.
The NYPD says Deng, who lives on the Lower East Side, went missing around midnight on Wednesday, August 6. She was last seen leaving 251 W. 48th in Manhattan. According to Ali, two friends saw Deng that night at a party at The Attic in Hell’s Kitchen.
Grant Monohon was one of the last people to see Deng. He had a romantic relationship with Deng, and tells the Voice the two of them lived together. Monohon is an actor who’s had roles in Transamerica and Lady in the Water; he also works in PR. He organized the event at the Attic the night Deng went missing. The model was acting “irregularly” that night, Monohon says.
Around midnight, he says, “I walked outside with her. I gave her my keys, she didn’t want them. She’s just standing there. I was working, I had to go back inside.”
Deng, Monohon says, will sometimes disappear for a day or two, but this is different. She began missing professional appointments, and other people started calling him, asking where she was. “Her bookers hit me up like, ‘Where’s she at?,’ Your guess is as good as mine.” About four days ago, he went to the police.
In the NYPD bulletin the model, whose full legal name is Ataui Deng Hopkins, is described as six-foot-one-inch tall, 110 pounds with black hair, a dark complexion and a slim build. No clothing description was given.
Deng has walked the runway for L’Wren Scott, Proenza Schouler and Zac Posen, and her face has graced the pages of Teen Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, according to her New York magazine profile.
Deng hasn’t tweeted since December, but her last Instagram is this shot–which she made both her Twitter and Instagram profile pictures–taken with That 70s Show star Wilmer Valderrama, and posted about two weeks ago.
Anyone with any information about Deng’s disappearance is asked to called Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-8477, or NYPDCrimeStoppers.com or text TIP577 to the number 274637. All calls are confidential.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 18, 2014