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Although African Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, we account for 37 percent of the missing in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s database under the age of 18 and 26 percent above the age of 18. 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 missing persons and provide tips about how to keep your loved ones safe and what to do if someone goes missing.


Latania Janell Carwell

Case Type: Endangered
Date of Birth: April 17, 2001
Missing Date: Apr 17, 2017
Age Now: 16
Missing City: Augusta
Missing State: Georgia
Case Number: 2017-00153988

Gender: Female
Race: Black
Complexion: Medium
Height: 5-4
Weight: 160
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: Shoulder Length
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No

Law enforcement officers in Atlanta and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office have arrested the mother of a 16-year-old missing girl on charges of “hindering the apprehension of a criminal,” according to data obtained by NewsOne.

Tanya Tripp, 35, was taken into custody Friday and is being held in the Richmond County Jail along with her husband, Leon Lamar Tripp, who was the last person to be seen with the teen, Latania Janell Carwell, on April 17.

Leon Tripp was arrested by U.S. Marshals on May 23 for an outstanding warrant for kidnapping. He is being held without bond, reports say.

It’s unclear exactly how the mother is tied to the case, which has more twists and turns than a fast moving tornado. She has declared her husband’s innocence to several media outlets, saying she didn’t believe he would do anything to harm her daughter. But investigators claim she had been in touch with Tripp, who was spotted earlier in the month in Atlanta without the girl. She also recently relocated from Augusta to Atlanta to be with Tripp, reports say.

Latania and Tripp were last seen on April 17, police say. Later, Tanya Tripp contacted her husband about his whereabouts and he claimed that he took Latania with him to help a friend who allegedly had car trouble. But police could not corroborate his story, eventually ruling it to be false. Authorities issued an arrest warrant for kidnapping for Tripp after he was spotted in an Atlanta grocery store without Latania.

Latania’s whereabouts are still unknown. The teen’s uncle, Charles Carwell, 33, a warehouse inventory clerk, tells NewsOne the latest “twist” in his niece’s case has left him at a loss for words.

At this point, I don’t know what’s going on. It’s crazy,” said an exasperated sounding Carwell “Everything is just a whirlwind right now.”

Carwell said he was extremely “disappointed” that his sister may have known where Leon Tripp was but did not contact police. But Carwell was not ready to accuse his sister of anything more.

She had some kind of involvement with him by living with him [in Atlanta] but there’s so many possibilities and scenarios,” said Carwell who added that he believes his niece is still alive. “I’m still looking for my oldest niece. That’s always been the focus, even with the latest twist.”

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Latania Janell Carwell is being asked to contact the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office at (706) 821-1020 or (706) 821-1080. You may also contact the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.

Jeffery C. Mays is a contributing writer for NewsOne, specializing in politics and news about missing persons in conjunction with the Black and Missing Foundation.

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