Everything You Need to Know About the Missing Teens in DC

If you’ve logged onto Twitter or Facebook at all over the last couple of days, you might have noticed the trending tag #MissingDCGirls.

This is because as of right now, more than a dozen teenage girls, who are all black or Latinx, have allegedly gone missing from D.C. in the last 24 hours. Twenty-two cases remain unsolved from just this year alone and D.C. police have tweeted nonstop about them, causing the hashtag to spread everywhere.

The sheer number of girls missing is the main reason the cases have caught so much attention online, and people are airing their frustrations.

But the real outrage lies in the coverage of these cases as compared to those of white missing persons. No amber alerts had been sent out about the cases, and especially when compared to the missing persons case of Tricia McCauley who caught national attention last year, relatively little attention has been paid to them.

This is nothing new, though, and it’s not as straightforward as one might assume. When looking at the big picture, black people make up nearly 40 percent of missing persons reports despite making up 13 percent of the total population in the country. Relisha Judd, an eight-year-old who went missing in 2014, still has not been found, and no one talks about her.

Maybe it’s because the press “is 4 times more likely to report when a white person goes missing vs. someone who is black or brown,” according to the Grio. This context almost justifies the outrage we’re seeing on social media now about the more than a dozen black and Latina cases because we normally hear so little about them.

And it’s not just the public who feels angered by these cases. They’ve caused such a stir that Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is D.C.’s representative in Congress, reportedly sent a letter to the FBI and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday asking them to get involved.

They asked FBI Director James Comey and Sessions to “devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed,” according to Fox News.

One theory that’s bounced around online is that these cases are a result of human trafficking. However, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Acting Police Chief Newsham confirmed there’s no known connection to these cases and human trafficking as of right now according to USA Today.

But has there really been a dramatic increase in missing juvenile cases?

Not really. According to the Metropolitan Police in DC, there’s no proof to back up the claims that there has been a massive spike in cases. Instead, they are blaming this perceived increase in cases on the department using Twitter more to help publicize the missing person reports.

In fact, the number of missing persons reports has actually decreased from 2016.

Some names of the other missing girls include: Yahshaiyah Enoch and Aniya McNeil, both 13; Juliana Otero, Jacqueline Lassey, Dashann Trikia Wallace, Dayana White and Morgan Richardson, all 15; and Talisha Coles, 16.

If you have any information about their location, call D.C. Police at (202) 727-9099 with your tips.

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