Black History Month: Tageana Griffith

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Tageana Elizabeth Griffith, who was abducted by her non-custodial mother from Niagara Falls, New York on June 13, 2010, at the age of five. She is now 13 years old.

Tageana was born in Jamaica, but lived in the U.S. at the time of her disappearance. Her parents had joint custody. The court confiscated Tageana’s passport after her mother, Patricia, took her to Jamaica for a “vacation” without permission. Pretty much right after the passport was returned, Patricia took Tageana back to Jamaica again and this time came back without her.

(Incidentally, most major airlines in the U.S. now have a rule that if a minor child is traveling out of the country with only one parent, not both of them, this parent has to produced signed and notarized permission for the trip from the other parent, or proof that they have full custody rights, in order to fly. That’s to prevent stuff like Tageana’s abduction from happening.)

Patricia was sentenced to 18 months for parental abduction. The authorities believe Tageana is living with her maternal grandmother in Jamaica, but they can’t find them. Meanwhile her father has been looking for her for almost eight years now. All he’s got are some pics of her taken on her tenth birthday, five years after she was kidnapped.

Black History Month: Dwayne Martin

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Dwayne Edwin Martin, a Marine Corps veteran and diner employee who disappeared from North Little Rock, Arkansas on December 11, 1987. He was 23 years old.

There isn’t a lot of evidence available in this case, but foul play is suspected. Martin had just cashed a paycheck and may have had the money on him when he disappeared, but it wasn’t much, just $148. The inflation calculator says that would be about $317 today.

It’s uncharacteristic of Martin to leave without warning and he may have been involved with drugs. This case is being investigated as a possible homicide.

Black History Month: Jaquilla Scales

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Jaquilla Evonne Scales, a four-year-old girl who disappeared from her family’s Wichita, Kansas home during the early morning hours of September 5, 2001.

There hasn’t been a great deal of press about Jaquilla’s disappearance. It doesn’t help that she was born to a teen mother in a poor African-American family, but I think whatever media attention her disappearance would have gotten was eclipsed by the terrorist attack on September 11.

I was fifteen years old, and I was on vacation in New England when 9-11 happened. I remember, flying home just a few days later (my mom and I had the plane practically to ourselves), hoping to find out more about Jaquilla’s case when I got home. I never did find out much.

It’s entirely possible that she was abducted — there were no signs of forced entry, but there was a door to the house that didn’t lock. I wish there had been more media attention when she disappeared; she might have been recovered if there had been.

Black History Month: Jamir Richardson

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Jamir Bashir Richardson, a 30-year-old who disappeared from Wilmington, Delaware on May 14, 2012.

The circumstances seem to indicate suicide: Jamir was despondent over the loss of his job and had told his wife he felt suicidal, and his car was found abandoned next to the Christina River with all his stuff inside.

However, the bodies of most suicide victims are found, and Jamir’s never was. I wonder how thoroughly they searched the river for him.

Black History Month: April Michelle Pickens

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is April Michelle Pickens, a 29-year-old who disappeared from Asheville, North Carolina two days after Christmas in 2011.

I have a lot of pictures of April, but not much in the way of actual information — just the usual “it’s uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning.” She left behind five children.

Black History Month: James Bess

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is James Eric Bess, a fourteen-year-old boy who disappeared from Ashland, Kentucky on October 4, 1984.

James lived in a children’s home. He ran away with another resident of the home, Chipley Charles Saunders, who is white and was thirteen years old at the time.

Neither of the boys have been heard from again and, given the length of time — over 30 years — you have to wonder if they’re still alive.

I would like to note that although James is African-American, he has blue or gray eyes. This is very uncommon and might serve as an identifying feature.

Black History Month: Denise El-Mansura

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Denise El-Mansura, a fifteen-year-old girl who disappeared from New Orleans, Louisiana on January 10, 1978.

This is unfortunately one of those cases I don’t have much information on. Even more unfortunately, as far as I know the only other database Denise is listed on is the Louisiana Repository for Unidentified & Missing People. She’s not on NamUs or the NCMEC.

Back in May, Denise’s sister got in touch with me via Twitter. In a Tweeted message to Denise, she wrote, “We miss and love you!! Deedy come home please Nessa, Bruce, Stephen, Akhe Sue (RIP) Khadija and your Mom Danielle”

Denise’s sister also stated the family had lost all their photos of her when Hurricane Katrina trashed the city. The picture in her casefile is apparently the only one left.

If Denise El-Mansura is still alive, she’d be 55 now.