UPDATED: 1:30 p.m. EDT, May 9
The recent killings of young African American girls may have made national headlines, but statistics show there are plenty of other Black children who are victims of violent crimes in a disturbing trend that’s been seemingly increasing.
That was reportedly true again when Maleah Davis was allegedly kidnapped in Houston this past weekend. Her stepfather was labeled a “person of interest” in the apparent abduction on Friday, when Davis’ stepfather said he was beaten unconscious only to wake up the next day without the 4-year-old girl.
As unanswered questions lingered in that case, so, too, did others in separate cases that all share one commonality: They are Black children who are victims of violent crimes. Following below is a brief list of other recent examples of the troubling trend showing no signs of letting up.
On Friday, Brandon Reynolds of Albuquerque, New Mexico was arrested in the beating death of his five-year-old daughter, Sarah Dubois-Gilbeau. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Dubois-Gilbeau was beaten for not wanting to do her homework. Reynolds claimed he blacked-out while giving Sarah a spanking. Neighbors said they heard her screams and cries for help. Police said Reynolds tried to tell paramedics that his daughter was having a heart attack, but when they noticed her substantial bruising, he was placed under arrest and charged with child abuse. Ironically, Reynolds had been granted sole custody of his daughter following concerns of her mother’s marijuana usage.
Just a few days before Dubois-Gilbeau’s death, funeral services took place Wednesday for 10-year-old RaNiya Wright, who died March 27 following a fight in an elementary school classroom. Though it was not yet known what the extent of her injuries were and what caused the fight, Wright’s mother, Ashley said during an interview Monday on “Good Morning America” she had complained to the school about her daughter being bullied.
“I notified the school and I also spoke with her teacher at the time about this same person,” Ashley said. “She would just always come home saying this one girl picking on her.”
Wright’s family was still searching for answers as of Monday morning.
On March 16, the body of 2-year old Noelani Robinson was found wrapped in a blanket on the side of a Minnesota highway. The baby’s father, Dariaz Higgins, 34, was being held on $1 million bond for the shooting death of her mother, Sierra, and he was also suspected of killing Noelani.
Trinity Love Jones
Nearly two weeks earlier, the body of Trinity Love Jones, 9, was found in a duffle bag near a bike trail in Hacienda Heights, California, on March 5. Emiel Hunt, 38, her mother’s boyfriend, is being charged in her murder. Jones’ mother, Jaquesta Graham will also face charges.
States away from where Robinson and Jones’ remains were found, the body of two-year-old Kai’ja DeRohn was found in Canton, Ohio, on March 13. His mother’s live-in boyfriend, Antonio Hardeman, 38, was charged in the child’s senseless death, which Hardeman claimed was brought on when he got angry at DeRohn for accidentally urinating on the couch. According to detectives, Hardeman hit the boy in the mouth and struck his head against the headboard and wall. This all happened while DeRohn’s mother was at Walmart.
In Cleveland, four-year-old Aniya Day-Garrett was found unresponsive in her mother’s apartment in March 2018. She was severely emaciated and had suffered from a stroke among other ailments. Her mother and her mother’s boyfriend were convicted of her murder on March 7. One year prior to Day-Garrett’s death, child welfare workers were aware of abuse and failed to complete the follow-up interviews necessary to begin the process of removing her from the home. Her father, Mikhal Garrett tried to get emergency custody, but it was too late. Since then, the Cleveland Division of Children and Family Services has made several policy changes, including hiring more caseworkers and working closely with community members.
There were reportedly about 64,000 Black women and girls missing in the U.S., according to a report published in February.
“In efforts to address the problem of missing Black children nationwide, Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Robin Kelly, and Yvette D. Clarke initiated the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls in 2016,” Black News wrote. “Through the caucus, they hope to create public policies that ‘eliminate significant barriers and disparities experienced by black women.’”
According to Child Trends, 2016 14 out of every 1,000 Black children has reported maltreatment, which was the highest among all races except Native American. Black children between the ages of 12-19 are also victims of violent crime at a higher rate than their white counterparts.
According to ChildWelfare.gov, several factors to consider about the disproportionality of Black children falling victim to violence and abuse: higher rates of poverty in the low-income communities, racial bias and discrimination displayed by individual caseworkers, and other reporters, a lack of resources and geographic context. Child welfare divisions in cities across the country have come into scrutiny after a string of cases involving the death of black children that fell the cracks.