Editor’s note: This story is one in a series by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) on missing Black women and girls.
BY STACY M. BROWN
The Minneapolis police have located a 12-year-old girl who went missing last week.
Dejah McCondichie had last been seen sometime 5 and 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at her home. By Sunday afternoon, the police department posted an update with good news: Dejah had been found and is safe.
Greenville, South Carolina Police who went searching for 2-year-old Asaiah Nelson and her 50-year-old grandmother Michelle Matthews, also reported good news: The pair has been found safe.
In Georgia, police said they safely located 14-year-old Anastasia Foxworth who had been missing for more than 24 hours.
‘Too many missing’
Could this series of good news updates mean that the tide is finally turning for Black girls who go missing?
“It’s a step in the right direction when you hear that authorities are finally having success, especially with Black girls,” said Yvonne Russ, a clinical psychologist. “But, there’s still too many missing and too many have been missing for too long.”
Organizations like Black and Missing But Not Forgotten, the Black and Missing Foundation (BAM) in Landover Hills, Maryland, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in Alexandria, Virginia, have struggled to shed light on the real emergency that is of the nation’s missing.
More than 424,066 girls of all races have gone missing since the beginning of 2018, according to NCMEC. More than half of that total are women and girls of color, according to BAM, which, like NCMEC, rely on statistics from the FBI.
Not enough publicity
Many said the media hasn’t done enough to shine the spotlight on the crisis of the missing – particularly Black girls.
“The majority of these children most likely come from marginalized communities, and are primarily low-income people of color,” said Dr. Ronnie A. Dunn, an interim chief diversity and inclusion officer and associate professor of urban studies at Cleveland State University.
“Given this nation’s racially stratified socioeconomic class hierarchy, as evidenced throughout institutions in America where poor children of color have worst outcomes on all quality of life indicators, their lives are devalued in relation to upper-class white youth,” said Dunn, who has authored two books, “Race Profiling: Causes & Consequences,” and “Boycotts, Busing, & Beyond: The History & Implications of School Desegregation in the Urban North.”
“And even within that, while this nation espouses the valuing of children in general, this does not appear to be the reality as evidenced by the failure to act in the face of the onslaught of mass school shootings from Sandy Hook to Stoneman Douglas where the majority of those killed were middle-class White youth,” Dunn said.
“Therefore, we see less media attention paid to missing children, particularly those of color,” he said.
Since the beginning of the month, numerous young girls have gone missing.
Last seen in car
This week, police said they’re searching for a missing woman from Montgomery County, Maryland.
Officers say 20-year-old Carolyn Janiece Miller was last seen by family on Tuesday, April 9 when she left her Quintana Drive home in the Potomac area.
Police said Miller was driving her 2019, red Toyota Corolla with Maryland temporary tag T889737 when she was last seen.
She is described by authorities as an African-American female, 5-feet-tall and weighing 160 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes. Her family has been unable to contact her since they last saw her leaving her home and are concerned for her welfare.
Anyone with information regarding Carolyn’s whereabouts are asked to call the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.
Guys missing too
The missing doesn’t just include girls.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety said a male, Dakota Elliott Kelly, was reported missing on Monday, April 15.
Dakota is Black, 5’2″ tall, weighs 140 pounds, with brown eyes and short, black hair.
He was last seen wearing dark and light blue Kobe Bryant sneakers, white socks, gray and black Puma sweatpants, a white T-shirt, and black and gray Columbia sweat suit jacket.
Authorities said Dakota may be accompanied by Dallas Elliott Kelly or possibly Gabriel Fleming.
Dallas Kelly is black, 6’3″ tall, weighs 240 pounds, with brown eyes and black, short hair. He was last seen wearing a red jogging suit, red hat, red sneakers, and has faded tattoos on his arms.
Authorities said they were last seen traveling west from Dakota’s home on Highway 404 toward I-55.
Anyone with information on Dakota, Dallas, or the vehicle is asked to contact the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department at 662-858-0019.