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.
Case Type: Other
Date of Birth: Jan. 16, 1980
Missing Date: July 14, 2017
Age Now: 37
Missing City: Kansas City
Missing State: Missouri
Case Number: 17-63523
Hair Color: Brown
Hair Length: Shoulder Length
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No
Location Last Seen: 50th Swope Park.
Circumstances of Disappearance: Unknown. Blewett’s family readily admits that the mother of four is addicted to alcohol and drugs and often hangs out with the wrong crowd.
But Blewett’s struggles with addiction never stopped her from keeping in touch with her family.
“She always calls, everyday. If her phone is dead she uses somebody else’s phone. It’s weird for her not to call her kids or my mom,” Blewett’s sister April Blewett, 42, a nurse, tells NewsOne. “Even when she was high she would call us. Not a day goes by where she doesn’t call her family members.“
On July 14, Blewett spoke with both her mother and her 17-year-old daughter, family members say. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. But now it’s been over two weeks since anyone heard from Blewett, and the family is worried because they’ve had difficulties trying to get police to take their case seriously.
“When we went to the police and he looked at us like there was nothing they could do because she’s an adult,” April said.
April said an officer eventually took a missing person’s report, but said she was doing so only because she would want someone to take a report if it were a member of her family that was missing.
The Kansas City Police Department did not respond to multiple requests for comment from NewsOne but Derrica Wilson, a former law enforcement officer who is co-founder and president of the Black and Missing Foundation, intervened with police on the family’s behalf and was upset by what she learned.
Officials there told Wilson that they took Blewett’s report “as a courtesy” to the family but did not enter the information into the national missing persons database because they don’t believe she is endangered.
“This is disheartening because if she’s found in another state or jurisdiction, the officer who comes in contact with her wouldn’t know that she’s a missing woman,” said Wilson.
According to guidelines issued by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, a Missouri Endangered Person Advisory may be issued if an individual is “missing under unexplained, involuntary, or suspicious circumstances.”
Given that Blewett normally contacts her family at least once per day and has now failed to do so for two weeks, Wilson and Blewett’s family believe the criteria has been met. The family has been doing their own detective work which has only deepened their fears and bolstered their case for a proper investigation.
April Blewett said she spoke with a man who admitted he had seen her sister and is the last person they know of who saw her. But his story had minor inconsistencies that worried her.
“It doesn’t matter if someone is a drug addict she is still a human being. Even though she has her problems, that has nothing to do with it. We have not heard from her in days so we know something is wrong. What if she is laying dead somewhere?” April asked.
Unfortunately, the situation the Blewett family is facing is all too common among African-American families with missing loved ones, Wilson said.
“The way cases of missing minorities are handled is the reason we founded the organization,” said Wilson. “Missing persons isn’t a black issue or a white issue, it’s an American issue. This family deserves for their loved one to be found. They deserve closure.”
Some families are pushing for the nationwide passage of LaMont Dottin’s Law. Dottin’s mother Anita Fowler is leading an effort to force law enforcement authorities nationwide to immediately report missing adults, ages 18 to 64, to the National Crime Information Center database.
April described her sister as someone who cares about people even though she had personal problems. She stayed in touch with her four kids ranging in age from 3 to 21 years old and her mother, who has health problems. The family has tried to get Blewett help for her addictions and have not given up hope that she would straighten herself out one day.
“She’s like a big kid at heart. She’s not a troublemaker. She gets along with everybody,” April said.
Last Seen Wearing: Pink shirt, blue shorts and Jordan tennis shoes.
Identifying Marks or Characteristics: Tattoo on the neck that says “Rockie” and one on her left arm with a bunny.
Jeffery C. Mays is a contributing writer for NewsOne. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffCMays.