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.
The family of Shavon Le’Feye Randle, the Dallas teen who was kidnapped and murdered as part of a feud over 22 pounds of stolen marijuana that she had nothing to do with, wants the violence to stop.
“She lost her life over nothing, over pettiness,” Marshaun Burnett, 11, a resident said at a televised community forum.
Shavon was last see alive on June 28 in front of her home in Lancanster, Texas. According to Lancaster Police, one of Shavon’s family members received a call from a man saying that the teen was being held against her will. The unknown caller also threatened to harm Shavon, the Dallas Morning News reports.
Police identified four persons of interest in the case but Shavon was found shot to death from multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body on July 2, four days after police issued an Amber Alert. Michael Titus, 19, one of the original persons of interest, was also found dead in the same abandoned home in Oak Cliff, a Dallas neighborhood.
Desmond Jones, 21, who led police to Shavon and Titus’ corpses and who also allegedly told police he was there when Shavon was kidnapped and Titus was killed, is facing charges of felony aggravated kidnapping for ransom or reward and failing to report a crime, the Dallas Morning News reports.
The paper also reports that Devontae Owens and Laquon Wilkerson are facing aggravated kidnapping charges for plotting and participating in Shavon’s kidnapping. Darius Fields is being held on a federal weapons charge. Kendall Perkins, accused of stealing the marijuana that led to Shavon’s kidnapping, is being held on aggravated robbery charges. Laporshya Polley, from whom the marijuana was allegedly stolen, is being held on drug possession and evidence tampering charges.
A total of six people connected with the case have been arrested on aggravated robbery, kidnapping and drug charges but no one has yet been charged with Shavon’s and Titus’ murders.
But Lancaster Police Chief Samuel Urbanski told Fox 4 charges could soon be filed in the death.
“In this instance we want to be with accuracy not speed,” Urbanski said. “The majority of the investigation is complete, its the filling that we’re looking at again. We want to make sure that we’re accurate in our filing.”
Lancaster’s officers were hit hard with grief while investigating the case.
“I took it personally. My daughter turns 13 next week,” Urbanski told the television news outlet. “I attended the funeral of Shavon, I felt like I knew Shavon. Everything her family said, I personally took it to heart and I will never forget.”
Natalie Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, called Shavon’s death one of the most “senseless” she has seen while helping families of the missing.
“It’s such a bizarre case. We don’t see many cases like this,” Black and Missing Foundation co-founder Natalie Wilson told NewsOne. “We see parental abductions and young girls and boys being abducted for sex trafficking, but abduction to pay a drug debt is highly unusual.”
“It’s such a bizarre case. We don’t see many cases like this,” Wilson told NewsOne. “We see parental abductions and young girls and boys being abducted for sex trafficking, but abduction to pay a drug debt is highly unusual.”
She added, “They kidnapped a murdered a child who had nothing to do with that situation. We are deeply saddened by the murder of Shavon. We hope that those involved are punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
Jeffery C. Mays is a contributing writer for NewsOne. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffCMays.
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