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.
Case Type: Endangered
Date of Birth: March 11, 1989
Missing Date: September 20, 2014
Age Now: 25
Missing City: Upper Marlboro
Missing State: Maryland
Case Number: 14-266-1648
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: Shoulder Length
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No
Location Last Seen: At the Wawa on Crain Highway. Her vehicle is a white 4-door 2005 Hyundai with Virginia plates: VAC8660.
Circumstances of Disappearance: According to Galloway’s mother, Valarie Bowden, of Fredericksburg, Va., the last time she heard from her daughter was on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 20th, after she had been away from home for a couple of days. Bowden said her daughter told another relative Thursday evening that she would be home Friday after spending the night out with friends.
Friday came and went and Galloway didn’t show up to pick up a relative.
The family had tried earlier and unsuccessfully to file a missing persons report, but were told they had to file in the proper jurisdiction. Bowden says she was recovering from a recent hospitalization and illness and her children didn’t want to worry her.
And then came the call Saturday from a blocked number.
“She didn’t sound like herself. She’s normally chipper and outgoing, but she sounded sluggish and scared,” Bowden told NewsOne in an interview. “She said she would be home the next day, but it didn’t sound like how she normally sounds. It sounded like someone was telling her what to say.”
When it became clear that her daughter wasn’t coming home, Bowden began going through her cell phone calls and texts since they share a phone plan. She called some of the last numbers listed and found a man who says he last saw Galloway at the Wawa on Thursday, Sept. 18th.
The man claims he had given Galloway money for gas but that he left when he noticed two men approach Galloway whom appeared to know her.
“He thought they were friends of hers so he says he just left,” said Bowden who says she doesn’t know why her daughter, who worked for a contractor in Fairfax, Va., was in Upper Marlboro.
Bowden says her daughter normally calls if she’s going to stay out overnight with friends and she certainly wouldn’t leave her 4-year-old daughter behind whom she doted on. Her boyfriend is also baffled by her disappearance.
“She would have called and said, ‘I’m not coming home. Here’s the number where I’m at.’ She didn’t do any of that,” said Bowden. “She was very responsible with her daughter.”
Galloway was missing at the family’s weekly Sunday dinner gathering. “The heartbreak her family is feeling is insurmountable. I can’t take pleasure in anything in my life. Every bite of food, every drink of water, I’m thinking, Does she have these things,” said Bowden.
But she is trying to stay strong for her 4-year-old granddaughter who keeps asking when her mother will return. So far, the family has just told the girl that her mother is out and will be back the next day. But they know that can only work for so long.
“Every night she’s asking for her mother. Now, she’s started singing songs about her mother. She knows something is wrong,” said Bowden.
Bowden says her daughter, the youngest of three girls, grew up as a military brat and may be used to the more insular atmosphere on military bases.
“Sometimes she can be too trusting of others. The world is not like the closed environment on a military base. My fear is she may have trusted the wrong individuals,” Bowden said.
Bowden is doing all she can to help find her daughter. The family recently went to Upper Marlboro to post missing persons fliers and talk to people in the area for clues. Bowden has also turned the cell phone records and other information over to Prince George’s County Police who are investigating the case.
So far, there aren’t many leads. There’s been no activity on Galloway’s bank card or social media accounts. Her phone now just goes to voice mail.
“With each hour she is missing my fears increase for her safety. I feel helpless and powerless,” said Bowden. “If anyone has her, please let her come home. She is a good girl with a family that loves her. If they have any compassion in their heart, they will let her come home and be a Mother to her daughter.”
Last Seen Wearing: Unknown.
Identifying Marks or Characteristics: Tattoos: “Kenny” on wrist; “Princess” lower back.
If you have any information regarding the whereabouts or circumstances surrounding the disappearance of LaToya Galloway, please contact Prince George’s County Police at 301-352-1200 or the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.