Friday, August 26, 2005

While the nation's attention was focused elsewhere, a bunch of folks vanished

While the nation was transfixed on the discovery that "Runaway Bride" Jennifer Wilbanks was only the victim parental overindulgence to the point she was incapable of making rational decisions in the face of stress, another Philadelphia woman disappeared. That woman is Ta-neke Daniels of South Philly, a 27-year old mother of three boys ages 2 - 10, who was last seen leaving her boyfriend's house May 12th. Her boyfriend, who is currently not a suspect and is reported to be cooperationg with police, was due in court to face charges of abusing against Daniels.

The Philadelphia Daily News ran articles about her June 30th and another on August 3rd, neither article appears to have a picture of Daniels (though, granted, they were archive pieces by the time I saw them) - a critical element to any missing persons story. I first heard about Daniels in an email from Tulin last week (he'd picked up the story and posted in August). Thanks to the lovely and talented DeJuana Price, we now have a face a put with the name.

Ta-neke is 5' 7" and weighed approximately 118 pounds at the time of her disappearance. She has a scar on her left ankle and tatoos: lower back "TARIQ"; right shoulder/arm "DAMON". If you have any information about Ta-neke's whereabouts and/or what's hapenned to her, please call Philly PD's South Division at 215-686-3013/3014.

Thanks to DeJuana, I've also received information about a missing Staten Island mom-to-be, Shameeka Dixon-Gordon, who disappeared April 21, 2004. The only information local press wanted from her family was a reaction to the discovery of a body in a landfill (that turned out not to be Shameeka).

UPDATE/ADDITIONAL INFO: The 21-year old was wearing
a black hooded sweatshirt, black sweatpants, black "Nike" athletic shoes, black "Norface" jacket when she was last seen leaving her aunt's former residence on Van Buren St. in Staten Island. She is 5'5", 120 pounds & approximately 4 months pregnant at the time of her disappearance, and had a tatoo "Shameekah" on her right shoulder and "Rasheen" across her lower back.

If you have seen Shameeka or have any information regarding her disapperance, Please call the New York authorities at 718-981-2583.

As I said here, I don't expect every case to garner constant national media attention. Frankly few, if any, cases warrant that kind of borderline pathological spotlight, but I do expect local/regional media to highlight regional cases like this in a timely fashion.

Amanda Jones' disappearance has gotten some national attention this past week. She is the 26-year old Hillsboro, MO woman who was last seen 2 weeks ago en route to meet with the father of her unborn child (Tuesday was her due date). The very cynical part of me wonders if she gets a little less attention that the usual white damsel in distress because she's pregnant but not married - but that's neither here nor there.

These women are our sisters, our daughters, our friends and at the very least local and regional media and the police should start publicizing the cases as soon as it's believed that a vanishing game is out of character for the person who is missing.

By focusing this post on missing pregnant women, I in no way mean to understate the need for local/regional and yes, sometimes national, media to do what they can to aid frightened and confused people in search of missing loved ones. Unfortunately, however, when it comes to cases of missing pregnant women, it seems as though some people seem to think these women should be dismissed because they've made bad choices (especially if they're unmarried) and I'm more than a little bunched up about that.

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