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.
The case of missing Michigan doctor Teleka Patrick has taken a strange twist. Gospel singer and pastor Marvin Sapp had filed an order of protection against Patrick after he says she stalked him and his family.
Sapp, who is based in Grand Rapids, said Patrick joined his church, contacted his children and came to his home.
“I’m a national recording artist on the RCA label who she has claimed as her husband,” Sapp said in a affidavit requesting an order of protection, Michigan Live reported. “I have at least 400 pages of correspondence from her which I have never responded to. (It) has gone on for at least a year … I travel and I need to insure that when I’m home or away my teenage children are covered.”
Sapp also issued a statement:
Throughout my career, my family and I have fallen victim to inappropriate attempts to contact me by several unknown individuals. As a father of three and pastor of one of the largest congregations in West Michigan, I cannot to take this kind of obsessive attention lightly. Given these previous acts, I have taken several security measures which have included obtaining a protective order to ensure our safety. Not only am I concerned about my family, I am deeply concerned about the well-being of all families. My prayers of love, safety, reconciliation and support are always and forever with God’s children.
Patrick, a first-year medical resident with the Western Michigan University School of Medicine who was working at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, was reported missing when she didn’t show up for work in early December.
She was dropped off at her vehicle in the parking lot of the medical center. Her car was found abandoned in Indiana by a trooper on the night of December 5, on I-94 west bound, just east of the Porter/Burns Harbor exit in Indiana, after reports of an accident. It was over 100 miles from the hospital where she was last seen.
Since Patrick went missing, news of her alleged stalking of Sapp and other odd behavior has surfaced. There are self-shot YouTube videos of her showing off a breakfast and singing to someone romantically. Her family has no idea who that person might be.
In addition, Patrick’s ex-husband said their marriage ended because she suffered from mental illness. Ismael Calderon told WOODTV 8 that he has seen his ex-wife, whom he was married to from 2006 to 2011, have “delusions” and “hear voices.” When he pressured Patrick to get help, he says it led to the end of their marriage.
“I think that Teleka had this fear of first, being branded with a mental illness,” said Calderon. “Second, the practical fear of losing her career.”
The last person to see Patrick alive told police that she was acting strange. According to reports, the shuttle bus driver who dropped Patrick off said she was acting strange. Carl H. Clatterbuck III, a private investigator said Patrick did not feel safe and wanted to be “off the grid.” She had borrowed $100 and planned to stay in a hotel in downtown Kalamazoo. When she couldn’t get a room, the shuttle bus driver gave her a ride back to her car.
Patrick then began ducking in between and behind cars as if she was hiding from someone, Clatterbuck told Michigan Live. The shuttle driver said he couldn’t see anyone who was following Patrick.
“Basically, the shuttle bus driver is the last person who saw her that we can confirm,” Clatterbuck said. “He said that she said something like, ‘Sorry I’m not going to stay there tonight.'”
“I don’t know why she would feel unsafe … this is all part of the mystery of this case, why she would be exhibiting these behaviors,” Clatterbuck added.
Despite these reports of odd behavior, Natalie Wilson, a co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, said it’s best to remember that Patrick is still unaccounted for.
“The videos and information which have surfaced gives a snapshot of Teleka Patrick’s mental state prior to her disappearance,” said Wilson. “However, despite the recent developments, we must remain vigilant in finding her so that she can receive the help and support she needs.”
Patrick’s ex-husband issued a similar plea: “That’s why I think this is really important that we bring awareness that this is not just some doctor that’s just trying to get away. This is someone that was suffering,” Calderon said. “This is a red alert.”
And Patrick’s family also issued a statement asking the public to focus on their missing daughter:
There are so many details that have been revealed during the course of this investigation that confuse and hurt us all the more. We would like to thank Ismael Calderon for coming forward and giving us some insight as to what Teleka may have been thinking/ experiencing on the days leading up to her disappearance. We have the utmost respect for him. Regarding the YouTube videos that have been found, we do not have any information as to who or what she is referring to. We have had no indication of a recent significant other, besides a relationship that ended early this year.
Regardless of Teleka’s emotional state, we believe wholeheartedly that she has encountered some harm or danger. It is unlike her to go any significant length of time without any contact with family or friends…….The fact that Teleka’s car was found with a flat tire on I-94 has not changed. The fact that she has not been seen since December 5th has not changed. These are the facts that frighten us. Teleka is missing and we want whoever has her or has harmed her in any way to come forward.