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‘Untold Stories: Black And Missing’ Podcast Sheds Light On Underreported Cases Of Missing Black People

Shannon Dawson
June 12, 2024

A groundbreaking podcast, Untold Stories: Black and Missing, spearheaded by the visionary duo Derrica Wilson and Natalie Wilson of BAMFI Enterprises, sheds light on the overlooked narratives of Black missing individuals. Launched in 2023, the true-crime series aims to fill the gaps in media coverage and law enforcement support for cases involving missing Black people.

Despite comprising 13.4% of the U.S. population according to 2019 Census data, Black children account or approximately 33% of all missing child cases, as highlighted by Elon University.

“Our goal is to help find those who have gone missing, to bring them home and provide answers to their loved ones,” the podcast notes in its biography description.

On the latest episode of Untold Stories: Black and Missing, the podcast delved into the perplexing case of Rashawn Williams, a nonverbal Black man with Down’s Syndrome, whose disappearance rattled Silver Spring, Maryland. Straying from his caregivers, Williams vanished into thin air, leaving a trail of unanswered questions in his wake. Notably, he was discovered seven miles away from his last known location, a Residence Inn in the White Oak area, where he had sought refuge following a tragic fire at his group home in Rockville, NBC Washington reported.

Despite his family’s swift action in reporting his disappearance, law enforcement failed to trigger an alert, leaving Williams stranded in the abyss of uncertainty. Miraculously, after enduring six grueling days without food or water, he was stumbled upon in the depths of the Glenmont Metro station. Rashawn’s remarkable survival story ignited a fervent call to action from his family, compelling Maryland to enact purple alerts, which would help law enforcement locate missing individuals who have a cognitive impairment, mental disorder, intellectual or developmental disability or brain injury.

Black women and teenagers face heightened vulnerability to abduction and exploitation through sex trafficking, and the egregious crime is happening in some of the most unexpected places. A 2021 study by Polaris found that 65% of sex trafficking victims were recruited online.

In a poignant episode published in August 2023, the Untold Stories: Black and Missing podcast brought to light the glaring inequality faced by Wayne and Stacy Flagg of Snellville, Georgia, in the harrowing ordeal involving their 14-year-old daughter, Kyla. Determined to shield Kyla from the dangers of the online world, the Flaggs implemented strict measures, from monitoring her online interactions to restricting her computer usage. Despite their vigilant efforts, tragedy struck on May 15, 2021, when Kyla, having met a man through online gaming, bid her father farewell and ventured out of their home with the stranger.

What followed were 39 agonizing days, as Wayne and Stacy grappled with the nightmare of their daughter’s disappearance, unaware that she had fallen victim to the insidious tactics of a predator who had meticulously groomed her.

Fortunately, amidst the anguish, a glimmer of hope emerged as Kyla was eventually located unharmed. The alleged perpetrator, identified as Robert David Fyke, a 33-year-old white man, faced charges after confessing to transporting Kyla from Georgia to Texas, as reported by WSBTV. In their tireless pursuit of justice, the Black and Missing Foundation, led by Derrica and Natalie, collaborated with the Black News Channel to amplify Kyla’s story and aid in her safe return.

Recently, the Untold Stories: Black and Missing podcast was honored with the prestigious 2024 CrimeCon Clue Award for Outstanding Episodic Series, cementing its position as a trailblazer in the realm of podcasts. The esteemed accolade, recognizing excellence in true-crime storytelling, is awarded by a panel of industry luminaries, comprised of seasoned producers, network executives and visionary creatives.

“Winning this award is not just a monumental milestone for us,” said Natalie and Derrica said in a press release. “It’s a powerful testament to the necessity of creating platforms and amplifying the voices of those systematically overlooked. We firmly believe that diverse voices in the true crime community are indispensable. They ensure an accurate portrayal of victims, foster deeper understanding and empathy and drive meaningful advocacy for criminal justice reform.”

Natalie and Derrica added, “We hope that this recognition will help us reach a wider audience to facilitate new leads and assist in reuniting missing loved ones with their families.”

Photo credit: Black and Missing Foundation

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