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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 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.


Francine S. Cooks and Gregory A Mason Jr.

Case Type: Endangered

Date of Birth: January 16, 1961

Missing Date: July 8, 2014

Age Now: 53

Missing City: Momence

Missing State: Illinois

Case Number: 14-21839

Gender: Female

Race: Black

Complexion: Medium

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 150

Hair Color: Black

Hair Length: Medium

Eye Color: Brown

Wear Glasses or Contacts: No

Location Last Seen: Francine and her son Gregory were last seen at their Momence home.

Circumstances of Disappearance: Officers from the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office responded to Cooks’ home on July 14th, after receiving a call from her sister, Ken McCabe, chief deputy for the department, told NewsOne in an interview.

Cooks’ sister told sheriff’s officers that she normally speaks to her sister almost every day but had not heard from her since July 8th. During the interview, a neighbor came out and told police that they had not seen Cooks or her son in days.

The neighbor had keys to Cooks’ home, and police checked the house, searching every room.

“We have found no evidence of foul play at this point,” said McCabe.

Cooks is considered a missing and endangered person because it is unusual for her to go this long without contacting her family. McCabe said Cooks may have also had some strife in her love life.

Police have interviewed more than a dozen people. One person said he saw Cooks with her son buying a bus ticket. McCabe said police have not been able to substantiate that report.

“In this day and age you don’t know what folks might be up to,” said McCabe. “The case remains an active investigation.”

Last Seen Wearing: Unknown.

Identifying Marks or Characteristics: Cooks’ hair may be in braids. Cooks’ son, Gregory A Mason Jr., 12,  was born on February 8, 2002. He is described as  being 5 feet 7 inches tall and 105 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Francine S. Cooks and her son Gregory A Mason Jr. may call their local 911 or the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office at (815) 933 3321. You may also contact the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.



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