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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.

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Denise L. HartDenise L. Hart

Case Type: Endangered

DOB: Jan. 1, 1991

Missing Date: Jan. 25, 2015

Age Now: 24

Missing City: Sudbury

Missing State: Vermont

Gender: Female

Race: Black

Complexion: Dark

Height: 5-1

Weight: 115

Hair Color: Black

Hair Length: Medium

Eye Color: Brown

Wear Glasses or Contacts: No

Location Last Seen: Leaving a friend’s house in Sudbury, a town in Rutland County, VT.

Circumstances of Disappearance: Police found the car Hart had borrowed from a friend the night of her disappearance, a 2001 Pontiac Grand Am, fully engulfed in flames about 10 miles from where she was last seen.

Vermont State Police are specifically interested in understanding how the car ended up at “the remote Cornwall Swamp fishing access where it was found burned on January 26, 2015,” according to a release from the agency.

“Based on the investigation to this point there is a strong indication of foul play,” police continued.

Even though Hart was last seen on January 25, Vermont State Police say they were not made aware of her disappearance until Jan. 31.

“Since that time, a team of detectives has been continuously investigating the circumstances of Hart’s disappearance,” police said.

Hart, a resident of Hartford, Conn. had connections in Rutland County and regularly visited there but always maintained contact with family and friends, according to the Vermont State Police.

Police have interviewed numerous people who had contact with Hart before her disappearance.

On Feb. 11, law enforcement authorities also searched a property in Sudbury. It’s unclear what police were looking for or whether any clues turned up.

Hart’s grandmother Gloria Hart told NewsOne in an interview that she has been estranged from her granddaughter for the last several years but that doesn’t dilute the pain she’s feeling.

“She had such a beautiful smile and I want that beautiful smile back even if she’s not talking to me,” said Gloria Hart, 65, of East Hartford, Conn.

Hart said that her granddaughter had a 3-year-old son.

“She’s a go-getter and a great mom,” said Hart.

Denise Hart’s disappearance isn’t the first instance of tragedy in the family. Denise Hart was named after her great aunt, Gloria Hart’s sister, who was murdered in a domestic violence dispute, according to her family.

“To have another Denise disappear is devastating,” said Gloria Hart.

For now, the family is holding out hope that Denise Hart will be found alive and well.

“That love never goes away. I was with her when she was little and held her and watched her grow. I want her safe and I want her home,” said Gloria Hart.

Last Seen Wearing: Unknown.

Identifying Marks or Characteristics: Has several tattoos. Hart is also known to use the nicknames “Chookie” and “Tiffany.”

Anyone with information on the circumstances of disappearance of Denise L. Hart may contact  Vermont State Police at 802-773-9101 or anonymously at http://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.

You may also contact the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.

 

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