As often happens when a high-profile missing child is found, especially when they’re found safe, news agencies are dusting off their local missing kid cases and being all like, “Hey, you know how Jayme Closs was found? Here’s some kids missing in YOUR area and their parents hope they’ll get found too.” So far we’ve got:
I highly doubt Adji or Diana is alive. Adji is a special needs child and if he was abducted, I don’t think the abductor could have kept him long without attracting some attention. As for Diana, a suspect has been charged with her murder.
Adji Desir, a developmentally disabled six-year-old, will have been missing from Immokalee, Florida for two years on Monday. This article (which has a lovely picture of Adji’s mother, stepfather and younger half-sister) says the police are completely clueless as to what happened to him and are hoping some more tips will come in. This article is the first one I’ve seen call Adji autistic; the others just said he was disabled and non-verbal.
I hope this year brings Adji home to his family, one way or another.
Adji Desir, a developmentally disabled six-year-old Haitian-American boy, has been missing from his grandmother’s home in Immokalee, Florida for exactly 363 days now. He was playing outside with other children when he vanished, seemingly without a trace. No witnesses. No hard evidence of any crime. Just a little boy with the mind of a two-year-old, a little boy who could barely talk at all and couldn’t even say his own name, gone.
The Naples Daily News has just run an anniversary article about Adji’s disappearance. His mom and stepdad have had another child, a baby girl they named Adjiani after her brother. Adji’s grandmother, who was babysitting him that day while his parents worked, no longer lives in the same apartment. She’s moved in with Adji’s mother and stepfather due to health problems. Adji’s bio-dad lives in Haiti and as far as I know, he hasn’t said anything in the press; nor, I believe, is he considered a suspect in his son’s disappearance.
It’s looking more and more like Adji was kidnapped, although there were no witnesses and no suspects. If he had wandered away I think he would have been found by now. If he was abducted I suppose there’s reason to hope he’s still alive. A disabled child who cannot speak is unlikely to give his kidnapper(s) away, so they could have kept him around. I hope he’s alive, somewhere. It’s unlikely, I admit, but people like Jaycee Dugard, Shawn Hornbeck, Elizabeth Smart and Shasta Groene can testify otherwise.
Haleigh Cummings and Adji Desir were both children about the same age (she was five, he was six) who disappeared from southern Florida early this year. Adji disappeared while playing outside on January 10. Haleigh disappeared from her bedroom in the middle of the night on February 9. Haleigh’s case has got a ton of publicity, Adji’s very little.
A lot of people, bloggers etc., are saying it has to do with race. Haleigh was a blonde, blue-eyed white girl. Adji was a black, Haitian boy. An Amber Alert was issued in Haleigh’s case, but not in Adji’s, even though in neither instance did the police have any hard evidence that they were abducted. Some people are saying the only difference is that Adji was black. I don’t think so, though. There are in fact significant differences between the cases which go a long way towards explaining why Haleigh got an Amber and more publicity.
To begin with, Haleigh disappeared from her bed in the middle of the night. Adji disappeared during the daylight hours as he played outside. A kid who vanishes from her bed overnight is much more likely to have been abducted than a kid who disappears during the day while outside. Couple that with the fact that Adji is pretty seriously mentally disabled, and I can see why the police thought there was a good chance he just wandered off. (What I want to know is why his grandmother let him play outside alone, given that he has the mental capacity of a two-year-old and can’t talk. Oh well. Too late to do anything about that now.)
Adji lived in a primarily Haitian community. Both his parents are Haitian and his dad actually lives in Haiti. I think that would be a barrier as far as press attention is concerned. If Adji’s loved ones didn’t speak English well, or if they were simply uncomfortable with American reporters prying into their lives, there’s going to be less information about him, and thus, less articles. The Cummings family has been very open to the press — maybe a bit too much so, even, as they seem to use the news against one another. Also, their soap-operaish antics (custody battle and nasty allegations between Haleigh’s parents, Dad’s underage girlfriend, Dad putting a decapitated rat in his brother-in-law’s mailbox) make for interesting reading, though they detract from Haleigh herself.
So you see it’s not just skin color.