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Austin woman missing for 47 years; nonprofit brings awareness to missing people of color

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FOX7 Austin
Angela Shen
November 30, 2023

Jennifer Joyce Barton, 20, was last seen on May 16, 1976.

According to officials, she went to the movies with a friend. They were last seen in the area of 11th Street and Waller talking to an unknown man. Barton was wearing a burgundy bodysuit, jeans, and sandals. She was possibly on the way to California.

Her case is one of many listed on the Black and Missing Foundation website, a nonprofit whose mission is to bring awareness to missing people of color and to provide resources to their communities.

“There are these stereotypes that are associated with people of color when they go missing. What we want everyone to see is that these are valuable members of our community. Race, gender and zip code should not be a barrier to law enforcement resources and media coverage,” co-founder Derrica Wilson said.

Wilson says she started the foundation 15 years ago after she felt the case of Tamika Houston in South Carolina didn’t get as much attention.

“When we started the organization in 2008, 30% of missing persons in the United States were persons of color, mainly Black men. Now we’re dealing with 40% of missing people in the country are persons of color,” Wilson said.

Families and law enforcement from across the country can submit cases to the foundation.

They also have an anonymous tip line.

“We don’t care who you are. We just want the information that you have that can possibly end a nightmare for these families that are enduring this day in and day out. There’s nothing worse than not knowing,” Wilson said.

For cases like Barton’s and so many others, especially those that have been unsolved for decades, Wilson says it’s important to keep them in the spotlight.

“There are people that are missing for quite some time. These families still deserve answers. You know, there’s nothing worse than not knowing where your loved one is,” Wilson said.

For more information about the Black and Missing Foundation, click here.

Photo credit: Texas DPS

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