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Group: Black missing person cases lacking attention

Kristin Pierce
July 28, 2022

MILWAUKEE — According to the FBI, more than 93,000 people went missing in 2021. More than 29,000 are Black. That’s nearly a third of cases, although Black people make up 12% of the population.

The Black and Missing Foundation works to bring awareness to missing people of color. Co-founder Natalie Wilson says the attention is lacking.

“We want our missing to be household names too. I ask your viewers to name a person of color that has gotten that national media coverage,” said Wilson.

In Milwaukee, Joniah Walker a 15-year-old girl has been missing since June 23, 2022. Her mom says Joniah has depression and PTSD. She was seeing a therapist at the time she went missing, but Milwaukee police do not consider her a critical missing person.

“I screamed that to them and you know they just looked at me. She doesn’t fit the criteria to be classified as critically missing,” said Tanesha Howard, Joniah’s mom.

In the standard operating procedure for Milwaukee police, a critical missing person has a physical, mental or another at-risk issue. WISN 12 News’ Kristin Pierce emailed MPD asking why Joniah wasn’t considered critical missing considering her depression. They responded with six words: “She is not a critical missing.”

Joniah was last seen near East Reservoir Avenue and North Hubbard.

“It makes me miserable,” Howard said. “I’m just existing at this point.”

“It angers me,” Wilson said. “Joniah should have been classified as a critical missing person.”

Photo credit: WISN

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