- ‘When we hear the term missing persons, most people conjure up images of Chandra Levy, Caylee Anthony or Natalee Holloway,’ says charity
- 40 per cent of all missing persons are black
A renewed campaign to highlight hundreds of missing African-American women has been launched amid ongoing criticism that less attention is given to their cases by authorities and the media.
According to the National Crime Information Center, nearly 40 per cent of those who have disappeared, often in suspicious circumstances, are black. However critics allege that public attention mainly focuses on white women who have vanished.
According to the Black And Missing Foundation, most women disappear in the states of New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland and Florida.
A total of 273,985 minorities were reported missing in the United States (out of 692,944 for all races) as of December 2010.
The foundation has teamed up with a TV network to make a series, Find Our Missing, telling the stories behind the women’s disappearances.
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- Body parts found scattered across field identified as girl, 14, who went missing six months ago while staying with friends
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The non-profit organization was formed in 2008 to draw attention to cases and keep pressure on authorities when leads and information dry up.
The Black And Missing Foundation told MailOnline there are a number of reasons as to why the cases of missing black women are largely forgotten.
Firstly, the organisation points out that there is often a lack of diversity in newsrooms meaning the African-American community is not properly reflected in coverage.
Another key reason is that missing persons from a lower economic status are often associated with some sort of criminal activity.
Behind the hundreds of cases are painful details sketched out by families, left wondering what has become of their loved ones. Many women have been missing for decades.
In two incidents at the end of last year, a chilling connection was made between two missing women – 500 miles apart – discovered in part because of the attention charities brought to their cases.
Phoenix Coldon, 23, of St Louis, Missouri, went missing on December 18 while Stacey English, 36, vanished in Atlanta, Georgia on Christmas Day 2011.
The cars of both women were abandoned with the engine running and the keys in the ignition.
In both cases the cars were impounded, a fact that police in both cities did not realize until several days into the investigations.
Miss Coldon’s mother Goldia Coldon said at the time that the fact both women were African-American had not gone unnoticed.
A separate non-profit group, Black And Missing But Not Forgotten had also picked up on the cases.
There were other heartbreaking cases where years have passed without any clues to where the women have gone, leaving anguished families with little hope of closure.
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