The whereabouts of two African-American teens reported missing last week remain unknown, while yet another teen has since vanished from the D.C. area, the Metropolitan Police Department’s Twitter account showed Tuesday, March 21.
The girls — Shaniah Boyd, 14, Chareah Payne, 17, and Shani Burriss, 17— are the latest youths gone missing from the D.C. area this month, their disappearances reported a week after a series of social media posts drew attention to the 10 Black and Latino teens also reported missing from the district in the past two weeks.
Public outrage ensued after the teens’ disappearances failed to garner national media attention aside from a few local news reports. Critics have since attributed the mainstream media’s deafening silence on the issue to the fact that all of the victims are Black and brown, not blonde-haired and blue-eyed.
“If the FBI can find Tom Brady’s jersey, then they should be able to find our missing kids,” said Derrica Wilson, president of the Black and Missing Foundation.
Police say Boyd was last seen Saturday, March 18, at around 9:30 p.m. in the 4000 block of 6th Street in Southeast D.C. She’s described as an African-American female with a medium complexion, black hair and dark brown eyes. She stands about 5’4″ tall, weighing 140 pounds.
— DC Police Department #StayHomeDC (@DCPoliceDept) March 22, 2017
Payne was last seen Friday, March 17, around 4:30 p.m. in the 4700 block of 1st Street in Southwest D.C., authorities reported. The 17-year-old also is an African-American female with a dark complexion, black hair and brown eyes. She’s 5’7″ tall, weighs 130 pounds and was last seen wearing blue jeans and a black jacket.
— DC Police Department #StayHomeDC (@DCPoliceDept) March 21, 2017
Burris has been missing since Tuesday, March, 21.
Authorities located a third missing teen, 14-year-old Michael Carrera-Mason, on Wednesday, March 22. Carrera-Mason had last been seen at 12 p.m. Monday, March 20, but was found safe two days later. Katherine Hunter, 17, who went missing on Tuesday, was also safely located on March 23.
Community leaders organized a town hall-style meeting Wednesday to discuss the unusually high number of missing teens, D.C.’s Fox 5 reported. Hundreds of people packed the room at Excel Academy Public Charter School, as residents probed local leaders for answers to why these teens keep going missing. Discussions became heated at some points as emotions ran high and audience members hurled harsh criticisms at city and law enforcement officials.
About last night…If the FBI can find Tom Brady's jersey then they should be able to find our missing children. -Derrica Wilson pic.twitter.com/MCPfQpmQc1
— KeonaEllerbe (@keonaellerbe) March 23, 2017
“We have a lot of children going missing because of mental health issues, domestic violence [and] the list goes on and on,” Wilson said. “So, what we need to do is figure out how was can combat this issue. This should not be a one-time conversation.”
Officials contend there hasn’t been an uptick in missing persons cases; they’re just being reported more frequently thanks to the efforts of new police Commander Chanel Dickerson. Dickerson wanted to ensure that all missing persons cases received the same amount of attention and are posted on social media.
“The difficult thing is some of these kids do go missing multiple times,” acting Police Chief Peter Newsham said. “When they go missing, guess what? You have a child out there and there are people in our community that will prey on those children.”
The Metropolitan Police Department didn’t respond to requests for comment.
If you have any information on any of these missing youths, please contact the Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099, the Youth and Family Services Division at 202-576-6768 or 911.