Why families of missing women often have to conduct the search themselves


“We’re trying to get her home,” Ms. Streets said. “We take any missing case seriously. It’s more difficult when those who disappear don’t want to be found.

Callahan Walsh, a child advocate at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said girls were often coaxed online and encouraged to leave home on their own, leaving police to view them as runaways.

Mr Walsh said the center receives around 500 calls from missing persons per week. Although black children make up 14% of the nation’s children, they account for 31% of the centre’s missing child reports, he said. There can be conscious and unconscious bias among law enforcement officials in cases involving blacks that receive less attention, Walsh said.

More than 70,000 black girls under the age of 18 were reported missing last year, according to the National Crime Clearinghouse. Statistics for missing Hispanics are more difficult to come by because they are classified as “white” in federal data.

“Some of these children are actually found,” said Erika M. Rivers, who created the Our black girls website of persons who disappeared three years ago. “Even if people are found, it’s still an astronomical number.”

Overall, about 88 percent of people of all races who were reported missing last year were later found, returned home, or the report was found to be invalid, according to the National Crime Center.

Ms Rivers’ website lists the case of Melinda Felder, who went missing 15 years ago in Conway, SC in August 2020, Brittany Palmer, a 23-year-old man with a brain injury who walked with a walker or cane has gone missing in Jacksonville, Florida. Dawnita Wilkerson was last seen on June 21, 2020, riding in a silver Chevrolet Suburban at a motel in Evansville, Indiana, according to the FBI

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