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.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. All of the Find Our Missing cases profiled this month will focus on domestic violence.
Case Type: Endangered
Date of Birth: October 20, 1989
Missing Date: June 26, 2014
Age Now: 25
Missing City: Fort Lauderdale
Missing State: Florida
Weight: 135 pounds
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: Medium
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No
Location Last Seen: Unknown.
Circumstances of Disappearance: After Scott failed to pick up her two children, a 1-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl, from school, her family knew something was wrong.
According to Scott’s parents and her fiancé, she had been receiving threatening calls from a former boyfriend, 38-year-old Carl Watts.
“Every day he used to call her,” said Scott’s fiance Al Livingston. “I remember [telling him], ‘Why are you still calling her? Why don’t you stop?’ It just got to a point where…I could see she was uncomfortable with him.”
“I know he has my child,” said Scott’s mother, Kengeral Allen Scott, shortly after her daughter’s disappearance. “Because of the threats he made against my child. He is constantly following her. Told her if he couldn’t have her, no one else would.”
On the day she went missing, Scott had run some errands with her mother in Miami Gardens before leaving to return to Fort Lauderdale to pick up her children. Scott’s family says she has never neglected to pick up her children in the past and would not be out of contact with them for any significant length of time.
Police also believed foul play was involved after Scott’s car was found by Miami Police in Liberty City.
A few weeks before Scott went missing, Watts was allegedly spotted on video trying to kidnap an 18-year-old girl sitting at a bus stop by forcing her in to his vehicle in unincorporated Broward.
The Sun Sentinel reports:
The hearing featured testimony from two Broward sheriff’s detectives, two surveillance videos showing some of the encounter between Watts and the student, and her taped statement to investigators.
In the statement, the woman said Watts tried to give her $50, and coaxed her to come with him. When she refused, she said, Watts grabbed her arm with both his hands and tried to pull him toward his van, parked a few feet away in a gas station.
Watts, who turned himself in to sheriff’s detectives on June 13th, a day after Broward Crime Stoppers made the surveillance videos public, admitted trying to pick up the woman, offering her money and promising to take her to school after they had breakfast together. He denied touching her.
Watts also confirmed that he left his 1-year-old son alone in the van to talk to the woman. Scott is the Mother of that child, U.S. Probation Officer Karen Howard said on the witness stand.
Police later dropped false imprisonment charges against, Watts but he was sentenced to 11 months is federal prison in August after a judge found him guilty of battery, which violated the terms of his supervised release on a federal weapons charge.
The judge scolded Watts for continuing to make poor decisions, citing three previous arrests for kidnapping and Watt’s decision to leave the 1-year-old son he shares with Scott alone in a car while he went to engage the teenaged victim.
“Now I see I did make a mistake,” Watts said before being sentenced. “What hurts me most is that I left my child to talk to a woman.”
While Fort Lauderdale police have not named Watts as a suspect in Scott’s case, federal prosecutors referred to Scott’s ex-boyfriend as a “person of interest” in the case during an August court hearing.
Fort Lauderdale Police spokeswoman Det. DeAnna Greenlaw told NewsOne there are no new updates in Scott’s case.
But Scott’s family already believe they know what happened to her.
“We believe we know who’s involved, but we need your help,” Scott’s mother told Local 10 at an event to raise awareness about Scott’s case. “I believe he has some connection with her disappearance,” she added.
Natalie Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, told NewsOne that women’s families have a role to play when they believe domestic violence is involved in an intimate relationship.
“Domestic violence is an issue that affects not only those involved, but also their families,” said Wilson. “Families of women in domestically abusive relationships should speak up. There are a number of signs and symptoms of emotional abuse and domestic violence, such as being afraid of her partner, having frequent injuries, and being restricted from seeing family and friends.”
In the case of an abusive ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, those being threatened can take out orders of protection where an individual can be arrested if they come near you or make threatening phone calls. Those who feel they may face danger from a partner in a former relationship can also step up contact with family and friends, letting them know where they are at all times.
Where children are involved, the court can help set up safe visitations or even limit visits.
Wilson said speaking up can make a difference. “Expressing your concern will let your loved one know that you not only care but can also possibly save her life,” said Wilson.
Scott’s family gathered recently to celebrate her 25th birthday.
“We love her, we miss her, and we want her to come home. We’re never going to stop looking, never going to stop,” Scott’s father Charles Scott, told CBS Miami.
Scott’s disappearance has been extremely difficult for her family.
“I wish nobody has to go through this really – not knowing where my daughter’s at, can’t speak to her,” said Charles Scott.
But it is Scott’s two children whom have suffered most.
“The kids are crying. They’re looking for their mom. It’s very, very hard, very hard,” said Charles Scott.
Last Seen Wearing: Unknown
Identifying Marks or Characteristics: Family called her “Kita.”
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts or circumstances of disappearance surrounding Trukita Scott may contact the Fort Lauderdale Police Department at (954) 828-5700, Detective Brice Brittenum at (954) 828-5898, Broward County Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS or the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.