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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.

826AShandell McLeod

Case Type: Endangered, Involuntary
Date of Birth: May 19, 1976
Missing Date: Oct. 1, 2011
Age Now: 37
Missing City: Lithonia
Missing State: Georgia
Case Number: 999

Gender: Female
Race: Black
Complexion: Medium
Height: 5-8
Weight: 140
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: Short
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No

Location Last Seen: McLeod was last seen Oct. 1, 2011 at 4743 Gold Way, Lithonia, Ga.

Circumstances of Disappearance: Unknown. Her family fears her life is in danger. McLeod had no reason to go missing, according to police.

“With her family ties, she wouldn’t have done that,” Detective H. Guest of the Dekalb County Police Department told NewsOne in an interview.

McLeod’s family is in disbelief.

“It’s like a bad dream sometimes and I have to tell myself sometimes this is reality,” McLeod’s mother told a local television station.

“I don’t want to miss my door bell. I don’t want to miss a phone call,” she said about the anxiety of having a missing child.

Guest says there is a “person of interest” in the case and that the individual was in a long-term relationship with the victim before McLeod broke it off. McLeod was a head cook who was looking toward a better life after she ended the relationship. Police believe McLeod was stalked after the relationship ended.

The person in question has strongly denied to police that they were involved with McLeod’s disappearance. But Guest said police are not buying the denials due to what they believe are inconsistencies in the person’s story.

“The victim told so many people that if something happens to me this person did it,” said Guest. “We have a person of interest. We just don’t have a body.”

Guest believes he has enough to charge the person in question but said the Dekalb County District Attorney’s Office does not agree.

“She has not been declared dead. She’s still considered missing but I’m assuming she’s dead,” said Guest. “This is Georgia so once we get a body we will be good.”

The Dekalb County District Attorney’s Office could not be immediately reached for comment.

Guest said he believes the case should have garnered more media attention which might have helped solve the case but didn’t because McLeod was a person of color. But even two years after she went missing Guest believes there will eventually be a break in the case.

“I don’t believe in the perfect crime. We have hope and I’m praying that something breaks through,” said Guest. ” And I’m not going to stop working the case until I leave here.”

McLeod’s mother just wants answers.

“We just want to know what happened,” said McLeod’s mother. “Whatever is the outcome we will accept it.”

Last Seen Wearing: Unknown.

Identifying Marks or Characteristics: Unknown.

Anyone with information regarding the circumstances around McLeod’s disappearance may contact Detective Guest at (770) 724-7866 or the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.

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