Although African Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, we account for 33 percent of the missing in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s database. Cases involving African Americans also tend to receive less media coverage than missing Whites, with missing men of color getting even less attention.
NewsOne has partnered with the Black and Missing Foundation and TV One to focus on the crisis of missing African Americans.
To be a part of the solution, NewsOne will profile a missing person weekly and provide tips about how to keep your loved ones safe and what to do if someone goes missing, while TV One‘s newest show, “Find Our Missing,” hosted by award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson, tells these stories in visual form. “Find Our Missing” airs on TV One on Wednesdays.
On Jan. 23, NewsOne profiled Charles Stephen Parker, a budding entrepreneur from Monroe, Ga., who disappeared after looking at some property as part of a business deal he was considering. Parker, 25, was last seen in church in Lithonia, Ga., where he gave his rendition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Police considered Parker’s disappearance suspicious.
On Monday, Parker’s body was found in a well in Oglethorpe County, Ga., about five miles from where his last known cell phone signal was sent.
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“We shined a light down in there and you could see a boot that looked like it had a pair of jeans pulled up over the boot, and that’s what made me suspicious,” Hoyt Bryant told Fox 5 about discovering Parker’s body in the well.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation believes it is Parker’s body. “There’s some indications on the body that we’ve got that we’ve preliminarily have identified it as Charles Parker,” said GBI special agent in charge Jim Fullington.
Parker’s family knew that his disappearance was out of the norm.
“This is totally out of Charles’ character for this to even be happening,” Parker’s brother Patrick told 11 Alive. “Someone always knows where Charles is. I talk to him two or three times a day.”
Now it is up to authorities to determine what happened to Parker. The car of the Bank of America employee was found in Athens, where he had gone to look at property. His wallet was found in the car and the car was undamaged. Officials are conducting an autopsy to determine Parker’s cause of death.
Anyone with information about what happened to Parker may contact the Black and Missing Foundation’s tip line or the Athens office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at (706) 552-2309.