Missing Black Girls in America

It’s been hard finding something to blog about lately. That’s because, I have to admit, I’ve been caught up in the RK drama of 2019 like many people in the Black communities. But the fact is, there are young missing Black girls that are NOT being talked about in the media.

And one story kept sticking out in my mind all last week. So, I kept following it into the weekend, hoping for good news.

Who Is Skylar Mannie?

On Saturday, it finally came. ABC7 reported, “Missing 13-year-old Lancaster girl found safe, sheriff’s officials say,” and I exhaled.

Skylar Mannie was a missing Lancaster teen. She was found safe and sound.
Skylar Mannie was a missing Lancaster teen. She was found safe and sound. Image Source: Twitter

You see, the way “the” Black community works, I kind of knew Skylar Mannie. Her mother, Nefertirti Neal, is a friend of my first cousins’ first cousin on their daddy’s side.

Which makes that cousin MY cousin, making her friend also my friend.

If you know how Black Villages work, that made this missing teen MY missing teen too!

Facebook Gets Us Looking for Missing Black Girl Skylar Mannie

Just like everyone else in my family, I commented on our cousin’s posts about it, reacted AND shared them. We all kept our fingers crosses, especially when the unidentified body of another little Black tween was found.

Facebook went wild because this girl really matched the description of the missing Lancaster teen (Skylar’s media nickname).

Who Is Trinity Love Jones?

The Black Teen Found in Duffle Bag in Hacienda Heights

Trinity Love Jones was identified as the young Black girl found dead in a duffel bag in Hacienda Heights, CA.
Trinity Love Jones was identified as the young Black girl found dead in a duffel bag in Hacienda Heights, CA.

Everyone is thankful that Skylar was found safe. But that still left the unsettling question: Who is the unidentified girl found in Hacienda Heights, CA?

So, I got up this morning and went digging for information. I’m pleased to report that this little 9-year-old angel has finally been identified as Trinity Love Jones. This morning, Refinery 29 reported:

Authorities have identified the young girl found dead near a hiking trail in Hacienda Heights, CA last week as 9-year-old Trinity Love Jones. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is holding two people as persons of interest in the case, though their names have not been made public yet.

Once again, I exhaled.

However, his time, it was an exhale followed by grief… because although her body was finally identified through her father and DNA, this little girl never got to make it home safely.

And that hurts deeply.

Trinity Love Jones: Does Justice Matter for Missing Black Girl in Duffel Bag?

5 Missing Black Girls from 2017: Where Are They Now?

So, as I opened Word to write about these two girls today, I stumbled across a post I started back in 2017. It was about five missing Black girls who nobody seemed to care about. I remember putting the article down because it was just too much for me at the time.

I was in the midst of trying to launch a nonprofit, Empowering Black Girls. And the entire story just kept taking me to a dark place.

But this morning, I opened the doc. There, in my face, was the title, “5 Missing Young Black Girls Whose Names We Should ALL Know.” And right up under my title were the names of five Black teens:

  1. Chareah Payne
  2. Makayla Randall
  3. Phoenix Coldon
  4. Relisha Rudd
  5. Shaniah Boyd

I did some serious Googling to try to find out what happened to these five girls of color. It broke my heart to find out that only two were found alive. The other three are still missing to this day.

This is my attempt to help keep their names fresh in the press.

1. Who Is Chareah Payne?

Chareah Payne was “just” a foster child. Well, that’s the way the local media seemed to play it when they barely reported about her. Apparently, she ran away from her Washington, DC foster home on March 17, 2017.

This is the mugshot DC police used on Chareah Payne's missing person poster. Tweets went wild asking why they didn't use a different picture to depict the missing Black girl.
This is the mugshot DC police used on Chareah Payne’s missing person poster. Tweets went wild asking why they didn’t use a different picture to depict the missing Black girl.

So, although authorities seemed to take it seriously at the time, the press didn’t. I mean, let’s face it. Missing Black Girls in America are not top priority… no more than any missing Black child is in DC.

The proof was in my search to find out what happened to the tween. It was difficult finding information on Chareah Payne. But once I finally found it, I understood why.

They chalked Chareah up to the game. Just another lost little Black girl from the foster care system. But what bothers me is that no one seemed to care WHY she ran away from the foster home.

Where Is Chareah Payne Now?

It’s very rare that a child chooses to be homeless on the streets over sleeping in a warm bed in a loving home.

Eventually, Chareah Payne was found safe and sound. She saw the MUGSHOT image the police used in her missing poster and was as appalled as the Twitter users like me who commented about it. The teen took to social media and let the world know the REASON she ran away:

2. Who Is Makayla Randall?

Today, Makayla Randall would be… or is… 21 years old. At the age of 15, she disappeared from Oak Park, Michigan on October 1, 2012. Authorities reported her as a possible runaway. By the time I started watching out for her in 2017, she was still missing.

Missing & Exploited Children: Makayla Randall
Missing & Exploited Children: Makayla Randall

What always threw me off, and still does to this day, is that blackandmissinginc.com has the following information on her missing page:

  • Location Last Seen: Unknown
  • Last Seen Wearing: Unknown

That raises the question: Was anybody watching this young Black girl?

Most parents know what their kids wear when they walk out the front door. So, did she not have parents who care about her?

Where Is Makayla Randall Now?

Once again, no one really seems to care about Makayla Randall… or at least not in the press.

I can’t find her parents making pleas to find out where she is and if she’s alive.

I can’t seem to figure out WHO made the missing person report, or the circumstances related to her disappearance.

I can’t determine whether or not she’s been found or if anyone is still looking for her.

I can’t even locate any other pictures of her other than the one used for her missing person poster.

A Facebook page dedicated to Missing Persons hasn’t updated the post about the disappearance of Makayla Randall since December 31, 2014:

3. Who Is Phoenix Coldon?

Ever heard of Phoenix Coldon? Many people have… finally… thanks to the Oxygen network’s 2-part documentary, The Disappearance of Phoenix Coldon. She’s a 23-year-old Black lady who went missing back right before Christmas in 2011.

See, unlike Chareah and Makayla, there were always people looking for Phoenix Coldon. And they refused to let her case die. Over seven years later, even Investigator Joe Delia from the young Black lady’s missing person case is still doing what he can to find her.

Phoenix Coldon Missing Poster: She was last seen sitting in her vehicle in the driveway of the family's Spanish Lake, Missouri home.
Phoenix Coldon Missing Poster: She was last seen sitting in her vehicle in the driveway of the family’s Spanish Lake, Missouri home.

Back in November, Fox News reported about the documentary:

For Phoenix Coldon, Dec. 18, 2011 should have been like any other Sunday — except the 23-year-old vanished and hasn’t been seen since.

And now one law enforcement veteran is hoping a new documentary will encourage those who may know what exactly happened to come forward.

The Disappearance of Phoenix Coldon

Coldon was last spotted sitting in her vehicle in the driveway of her family’s Spanish Lake, Missouri home on December 18, 2011, at about 3:00 PM. The next thing they knew, she was just gone.

On January 1, 2012, the family found out that her vehicle had been impounded on the evening of her disappearance at about 6:23 PM. It was about 25 minutes away from the home, with the keys in the ignition, engine running. The driver’s door was wide open.

Granparents Look for Phoenix Coldon
Granparents Look for Phoenix Coldon. Image Source: Lipstick Alley

Phoenix Coldon was… or possibly is… a woman from Spanish Lake, Missouri. She was 23 years old at the time of her disappearance. Today, her family and friends are still looking for her.

There’s a Disappearance of Phoenix Coldon Wikipedia page and a Facebook profile dedicated to her disappearance. Her mother posts to her as if she’s still well, alive and able to read her Facebook posts. On February 25, 2019, she posted directly to her “now” 30-year-old daughter:

Her mother worries that she may be a victim of the sex trade. Her father, however, continues looking. Either way, they both believe she’s still alive and continue fighting to find her. They hope the press will cover the story more.

Watch The Strange Unsolved Disappearance of Phoenix Coldon and the Search at Saint Clair on Amazon to learn more.

4. Who Is Relisha Rudd?

Ever heard of Relisha Rudd? Most people haven’t heard of this 8-year-old who went missing in the Nation’s Capital on March 1, 2014.

That’s because so many little Black girls and women have gone missing in Washington, DC since reports of an epidemic rang out that it’s too hard to keep up. And since most media outlets could care less, they’re definitely not getting nationwide coverage.

Back in March 2017, the Daily Mail reported:

One post by Danielle Moodie-Mills that has been retweeted 41,000 times, claimed that 14 black girls went missing in the area over 24 hours.

Although the post was inaccurate, the reality is not much better – 10 juveniles were reported missing since March 19. Six have been found according to NBC Washington.

Mother Of Missing Relisha Rudd Denied Wrongdoing and Blamed Grandmother In Child's Vanishing.
Mother Of Missing Relisha Rudd Denied Wrongdoing and Blamed Grandmother In Child’s Vanishing. Image Source: Radar Online

Statistics on Missing Children in the Nation’s Capital

Although the stats were exaggerated in the tweet, this still goes to show how terrifying this epidemic is for the people of DC. Here are some stats on missing children in Washington, DC:

  • The Associated Press reports that in 2015, an average of 7 children were reported missing every day in the US Capitol, for a total of about 2,433 children unaccounted for at the time
  • In 2016, an average of 6 children per day were reported missing in DC for a total of about 2,242 in this one “district” we refuse to call a state, but somehow treat like a city

The Case of Missing Relisha Rudd

But back to young Black girl Relisha Rudd. A forgotten little 8-year-old that very few have ever reported about to this day. That’s because little Relisha went missing from a homeless shelter in DC.

Who cares about a little homeless Black girl from the most “BLACK CITY” in America?

According to reports, while people searched for the little girl in the local area, a janitor who worked at the shelter popped up dead. Authorities say it was a suicide.

They say she was last seen with him. So, of course, it was easy to quickly dismiss her disappearance and assume was also dead.

But he was also under suspicion for murdering his wife at the time of Relisha’s disappearance. So, who knows what was in this man’s mind? The possibility of her still being alive still exists.

Either way… she’s just a poor Black kid from the ghetto… Chalk it up as a loss. She’s dead. He killed her. And he killed himself. Case closed.

DC police believe janitor Kahlil Tatum (right) killed Relisha Rudd before committing suicide.
DC police believe janitor Kahlil Tatum (right) killed Relisha Rudd before committing suicide. Image Source: CBS News

Relisha Rudd’s Case Is NOT That Simple

But here are the hidden details of the case of Relisha Rudd’s disappearance that made my blood boil:

  • Relisha Rudd went missing from the homeless shelter on March 1
  • The 8-year-old is seen on surveillance video with the janitor Kahlil Tatum that same day, March 1
  • A news release wasn’t sent out to the local public un March 20… 19 days later
  • Amber alert finally activated LATER THAT EVENING to be on the lookout the missing little Black girl and her suspected murderer kidnapper who she’d been with for 19 days by March 20
  • April 1, Kahlil Tatum was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head… ruled a homicide… no sign of Relisha who had been missing for an entire MONTH by then

Does this really sound like authorities were looking for this little girl? And why did it take the local media so long to care?

Well, I can answer that second question. It was Tatum’s suicide that piqued media interest, not the disappearance of the homeless, poor Black girl.

Relisha Rudd Progressed: This is how authorities believe the missing DC teen would look today in 2019.
Relisha Rudd Progressed: This is how authorities believe the missing DC teen would look today in 2019. Image Source: WUSA9

Media Resparks Interest in Relisha Rudd???

On the 5th year anniversary of her disappearance, March 1, 2019, Relisha’s case was back in the local news. Her stepfather spoke to the press about the missing little girl, saying he still believes she is still alive.

All of this was sparked by a tip local authorities decided to act on related to underground tunnels. There had always been rumors about crime in the tunnels under the DC General building, which houses the homeless shelter where Relisha was last seen.

The tunnels were searched. However, no bodies were reportedly found. Media only seems to have gotten involved because they were hoping for just that.

5. Who Is Shaniah Boyd?

Little Miss Shaniah Boyd is another missing teen girl from Washington, DC. She’s another girl whose last clothing description is listed as unknown (like Makayla Randall).

The sad part is… her “missing” story is all over the place. She was just 15 years old when she last seen on February 2, 2017, according to DC Missing Report. But according to Missing USA, Shaniah hasn’t been seen since April 2, 2018.

But that’s just silly. Because on April 5, 2018, the DC Police Department tweeted that the girl had been found. You could tell by reactions that it had been more than just three days.

Shaniah Boyd is a young Black girl who went missing for 19 days in Washington DC. Image Source Missing Report got the the "last seen" date wrong.
Shaniah Boyd is a young Black girl who went missing for 19 days in Washington DC. Image Source Missing Report got the the “last seen” date wrong.

If you can’t even get her missing date correctly, do we seriously think you care about this young Black teen going missing in a city such as DC?

The DC Metropolitan Police Department Critical Missing report lists her official “last seen” date as March 18, 2017.

Who Cared About Shaniah Boyd?

At about 2:30 on the afternoon of March 18th, she told her family she was going outside for a while. Shaniah didn’t return home.

It took some serious digging to find that little bit of information. And that’s only because Tavis Smiley got wind of the story and was outraged. So, he reported on missing Shaniah Boyd.

What Happened to Shaniah Boyd?

Thank goodness, her story is another “happy” ending. Shaniah was found in good health on April 6, 2017. But according to The Missing Brown Girls of D.C., it’s not because of help from the media.

She had been missing for 19 days. And there had been no major news coverage. Had she been a missing white teen, this would have been on CNN.

It’s stories like hers that leave us hanging. I mean, you get us outraged about her being missing. Then, we have to go digging through Google to find out if she’s alright or not.

I’m grateful Shaniah was found safe. But I would like to know the story about why she was gone in the first place.

3 of These Young Black Girls Are Still Missing

Today, as we sort through all the static and noise caused by the lies of Donald Trump and the cases of R Kelly and Jussie Smollett, I would like us all to take a moment for these missing Black girls and all the missing women and girls of America.

And let’s keep our prayers up for these three young Black girls, who are still missing today:

Makayla Randall Is Still Missing

No sightings of Makayla Randall have been reported by the media. That’s not to say there haven’t been any… just none have been reported.

Looking at the tiny amount of information related to her disappearance and missing person case, it’s doubtful anyone is even looking for her. And if she does have family who love and miss her, their local news probably could care less.

Makayla was a Michigan teen… a young Black girl… And we all know from the living conditions PoC deal with every day in cities like Detroit and Flint, that Michigan could care less about missing little Black girls.

So, what happened to Makayla Randall? We’ll probably never know.

Phoenix Coldon Is Still Missing

Today, Phoenix Coldon should be 30 years old. It’s unclear whether authorities consider her dead or are actively still searching for this missing Black lady from Michigan. But it’s very clear that her family is, and they will never give up.

If she is a victim of human traffickers, like her mother fears, then there’s always the possibility that she is still alive. Yet, the suspicious circumstances of her disappearance have left local authorities baffled.

We may never know what happened to Phoenix Coldon. But with parents like hers, this young lady’s story will never die.

Relisha Rudd Is Still Missing

Many presume Relisha Rudd to be dead. They assume the DC janitor killed her and dumped her precious body somewhere right before killing himself. However, her family believes she may still be alive.

And it’s possible. Relisha may have been kidnapped and taken to a loving home where people are raising her like their own. I’m sure that’s one of the scenarios the family is hoping for after all this time.

Finding out what happened to Relisha Rudd has proven to be difficult. But if her parents can find ways to keep her case in their local news, besides looking for her missing body, there may be a chance.

2012 Report on Missing Black Women in America
2012 Report on Missing Black Women in America. Image Source: ATL Night Spot

Does the Media Care About America’s Missing Black Girls?

Yes, two of these girls of color were found alive and well. But did their local media play parts in their safe returns?

Not really. In most cases, they were simply small mentions in bigger stories about missing Black women and girls.

When young white girls like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart go missing, America is outraged. And don’t get me wrong… so am I!

But why don’t we see this same “come together as a country” type of unity when little Black girls and young Black women disappear in this country?

Just because they don’t have blond hair and blue eyes, does that mean they’re not worthy of their own hashtags or primetime TV specials? Where are their nationwide manhunts?

Phoenix Coldon Is Featured in an Oxygen Special

Well, unlike the other four, Phoenix Coldon did get an Oxygen special… a two-part documentary at that. Plus, there is definitely a Wikipedia page dedicated to her disappearance. And trust me, it’s a battle to get those things approved these days.

So, what sets Phoenix apart from the other missing Black girls in this article? That would be her pleading, dedicated parents.

When little Black kids go missing in America, if there’s no one to stand up and fight for them, their stories go unheard.

It takes dedicated parents, family members and friends to get those Facebook posts shared across the nation. It takes true loved ones to keep the media on their toes, reporting the news and calling out for information from the public.

And it takes a slew of empathetic people to keep the media interested, so their stories stay fresh.

The Story of Missing Mitrice Richardson: MUTED is a Short Film On Missing Black Girls That Everyone Needs To See
The Story of Missing Mitrice Richardson: MUTED is a Short Film On Missing Black Girls That Everyone Needs To See. Image Source: Blavity

Missing Black Girls: Why Should We All Know Their Names?

No matter how long a little Black girl is missing, everyone in her local community should know her name by the end of the day. A little white girl goes missing for a matter of hours, and the entire community is searching for her and putting up posters.

There’s even a press conference within 24 hours. They want her found fast!

But who speaks for the little Black girls without dedicated parents?

What about those with parents, who just don’t know how to get and keep the media interested, like Relisha Rudd?

Is there hope for these hurting families and missing young women and girls who need the media to help save lives?

Trinity Love Jones: Does Justice Matter for Missing Black Girl in Duffel Bag?

Empowering Black Girls Is on Its Way Back

Empowering Black Girls Official LogoWell, I can’t answer those questions. I’m not the press.

All I know is I’m here and I care. I’m determined to bring Empowering Black Girls back to life as a nonprofit dedicated to helping us keep missing Black girls and women in the news.

This is a journey we must all fight as one community… no, not the Black community… not even as a community of women… I’m talking about all the people of United States who care about Black women and girls as a whole.

Let’s join together to make a change for these future leaders of America! Follow the Empowering Black Girls Group on Facebook for updates on the new site launch and upcoming causes related to missing Black girls and women in the US.

Nearly 800,000 Americans Go Missing Every Year: 60% People of Color, 30% Black

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