Black History Month: Shy’Kemmia Pate

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 Shy’Kemmia Shy’Rezz Pate, an eight-year-old girl who disappeared from Unadilla, Georgia on September 4, 1998.

Shy’Kemmia appears to have been abducted. Everyone in her family was cleared as a suspect, but the theory is that whoever did take her was someone she was familiar with. That could mean a lot of people — I mean, a neighbor, a teacher, a stocker at the corner store? She didn’t live in the greatest neighborhood.

I think it’s important to note that Shy’Kemmia had significant health problems, and the result is that if she is ever located, dead or alive, it should be easy to identify her. She had bad kidneys and a weak bladder and had to wear Pull-Ups — not exactly common in a grade-schooler — and she was also wearing a leg brace due to a displaced kneecap. She had surgery for the kidney issue and has a scar on her back at the waistline from this.

I highly doubt she’s still alive, for medical reasons alone; she would have needed regular treatment to survive to adulthood. But if Shy’Kemmia is still alive she would now be thirty this year.

Darron Glass revisited

So I just finished reading this book about the unsolved 1980 disappearance of Darron Glass, the only presumed Atlanta Child Killer victim who is still missing. I’ve written about Darron on this blog twice before.

The book is self-published and more of a booklet than a book, only 28 pages long in large type. Normally I wouldn’t have bothered with it, but it was written by Thomas Bailey, who was Darron’s foster care caseworker at the time of his disappearance, so I thought it might have some insights. It did.

Bailey says much of what has been reported about Darron is wrong. His foster mother, Fannie Mae Smith, was interviewed by the media and described him as “immature but streetwise.” However, Bailey says Darron was in fact mentally disabled, and that his IQ had tested at 65, and he “was in no way streetwise.” Smith claimed Darron, or someone claiming to be him, called her on the day of his disappearance, but Bailey doesn’t believe Darron called or even knew his foster home’s phone number.

I’m not sure what to make of this information. Certainly I’m going to put the info about Darron’s mental disability on his Charley Project profile, but I don’t think his low IQ necessarily means Smith didn’t know what she was talking about.

An IQ in the 60s indicates a mild mental disability. According to some research I did, most people with IQs in that range function relatively normally. They can take care of themselves in terms of stuff like bathing and dressing and keeping their living area clean and so on. They can conform socially and they can acquire reading and math skills up until around the sixth-grade level. With some support, they can usually work a job and live independently as adults.

With this in mind, and given that Darron grew up in inner city Atlanta and had a rough life (per Bailey, Darron’s father murdered his mother in front of him), I can totally see him presenting as “immature but streetwise” to most people. If anyone is in a position to speak about children with mild mental disabilities, I’d be happy to hear it.

Bailey has more to say. Fannie Mae Smith’s foster home, he says, was very unsuitable, both for a mentally disabled child and for kids in general; in fact, he says, “How this home became certified is a mystery to me.” He says there were often “people of questionable character” in the home, and suspicion of drug use and even drug selling. Bailey says he had raised concerns about the placement with his supervisor but was ignored.

Per Bailey, he was informed of Darron’s disappearance on September 15, the day after it happened. That same day, he got a call from a woman who identified herself as Darron’s sister. Darron did have a sister whom he wasn’t in contact with, and Bailey wasn’t sure how she would have gotten his number.

The caller said she lived out of state and wanted to adopt Darron. Bailey told her Darron was missing, and she ended the conversation without leaving any contact info, and did not call back.

Bailey started getting anonymous calls saying if he would give the caller money, the caller would disclose Darron’s whereabouts. He says it was always a child’s voice, “maybe a young boy with adult voices in the background.” He told the police about the calls and they put a tap on his phone. Nothing seems to have come of it.

Bailey does not believe Wayne Williams was the Atlanta Child Killer, or at least that if he was a killer, he did not kill all the victims lumped under the Atlanta Child Killer case. (I agree.) He also thinks Darron was probably not murdered at all.

Bailey’s theory is that Darron’s sister was in contact with Fannie Mae Smith and that there was some kind of plan for the sister to take Darron, and that she did so on the day Darron disappeared, and that Darron is alive and well today.

He has a lot of criticism for both the Department of Family and Children Services, and the Atlanta Police Department, and thinks the police were too quick to dump Darron in the pile of serial killer victims instead of actually looking for him.

MP of the week: Diana Hammonds

This week’s featured missing person is Diana Affana Hammonds, a 38-year-old woman who disappeared from Atlanta, Georgia on September 4, 2010.

Diana had some issues in her life, namely a crack cocaine habit. She had two sons as well; I don’t know how old they were or whether she had custody of them. The last time anyone heard from her, she called a friend and asked for some money to pay a bill and said she had to go to the hospital. She promised to call him back, but she never did, and vanished without a trace.

Sadly, I doubt she’s still alive.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Felita Ruark

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Felita Ruark, who disappeared from Madison, Georgia on June 24, 1990, the day before her 27th birthday.

The circumstances of Felita’s disappearance are unclear: she was supposedly going to meet up with her soon-to-be-ex-husband in Jackson, Mississippi, where he lived. That’s more than a six-hour drive. But her husband says he never saw her or even had plans to see her. Shrug.

Her car later turned up at the Madison Wal-Mart, meaning that if she did plan to go to Jackson, she probably never even made it out of town. That doesn’t look good at all.

I couldn’t find anything about Felita’s disappearance on Newspapers.com, but I did find this from the Yazoo Herald, a Mississippi paper, printed on February 24, 1990, exactly four months before her disappearance:

felita

I’m quite sure it’s the same Felita. The name isn’t exactly common, and as I previously noted, the missing woman’s husband lived in Jackson.

Does anyone recognize this woman?

[EDIT: Mystery solved! And I feel slightly annoyed with myself. See the comments section for deets.]

The other day WTVM did an article about missing people from Columbus, Georgia area. It talks about five people, but there’s an accompanying montage of photographs that shows SIX people. Five of them are the missing people mentioned in the article, but the sixth, a young black or biracial woman with a blonde afro, is not mentioned and I do not recognize her. I checked on NamUs and she doesn’t appear to be on there either; at least no one by that description is listed as missing from Columbus, Georgia.

In case the article goes away, I have the image shown below:

wtvm

It’s the woman in the top middle photo. I wrote to the reporter who wrote the article to ask who she is, but he didn’t get back to me. Does anyone know who she might be?

MP of the week: Shy’Kemmia Pate

This week’s featured missing person is Shy’Kemmia Shy’Rezz Pate, a beautiful eight-year-old girl who’s been missing from Unadilla, Georgia for nearly twenty years now: September 4, 1998. There hasn’t been a lot of news about this disappearance, but on the face of it it’s a non-family abduction — by who, they don’t seem to know.

The family has a Facebook page set up for the little girl, nicknamed ShyShy.

MP of the week: Andrew Brown

This week’s featured missing person is Andrew Lee Brown. I have almost zilch on his case, which is really sad when you consider that he was only 18 months old when he disappeared. It was on July 24, 1987 in Colquitt, Georgia, a small town and county seat of Miller County, in the southwestern part of the state.

I have never been able to find anything about Andrew in news archives. Of course a name like “Andrew Brown” doesn’t exactly help matters. For what it’s worth, the NCMEC classifies his case as a non-family abduction.

If Andrew is still alive, he would be 31 today.