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Missing Persons Crisis in the US: The Case of Anthony and the Need for Change

The case of a missing person is always a tragic one, but when it remains unsolved for years, the pain and frustration only grow. Such was the case with 21-year-old African-American female Anthony, who went missing from Brooklyn, New York on July 3, 1998. After nearly two decades of uncertainty, her skeletal remains were finally found in Canarsie Park near Seaview Avenue in Brooklyn on September 10, 1998, but it wasn’t until November 2017 that her identity was confirmed.

Anthony’s case is a sobering reminder of the number of missing persons in the United States, particularly women of color. According to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC), there were 89,096 active missing persons cases in the United States as of December 31, 2019. Of those, 46.9% were people of color, with African Americans making up the largest percentage at 35.7%. The NCIC also notes that the number of missing person cases reported to law enforcement has been increasing in recent years, with 543,018 cases reported in 2019 alone.

The reasons for these statistics are complex and varied. Some may be attributed to systemic biases in law enforcement or media attention, while others may be a result of economic or social factors. In Anthony’s case, there are few details available about the circumstances surrounding her disappearance. Without more information, it is impossible to know what happened to her or why she remained unidentified for so long.

The discovery of Anthony’s remains in Canarsie Park was a stroke of luck. According to reports, a man was walking his dog in the park when he stumbled upon what he thought was a human skull. The police were called and an investigation began. It took nearly three months to identify the remains as Anthony’s, and even then, the cause of death remains unknown.

In the years since Anthony’s disappearance, her family has been left with many questions and little closure. They have spoken out about the need for more attention to be paid to cases involving missing women of color, particularly those in low-income areas. They have also called for greater accountability from law enforcement agencies, arguing that too often, missing person cases involving people of color are not taken as seriously as those involving white people.

Anthony’s case is just one of many that highlight the disparities in the way missing person cases are handled in the United States. While some cases, particularly those involving white women, receive widespread media attention and resources from law enforcement agencies, others are relegated to the background. This can make it difficult for families to get answers or closure, and can perpetuate the sense that certain lives are valued less than others.

Efforts to address these disparities are ongoing. Some organizations, such as the Black and Missing Foundation and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, focus specifically on cases involving missing persons of color. Lawmakers have also introduced legislation aimed at improving the way missing person cases are handled, particularly in cases involving Native American women and girls, who are disproportionately affected by violence and disappearances.

Ultimately, however, solving the problem of missing persons in the United States will require a concerted effort from all sectors of society. This means addressing underlying social and economic factors that contribute to the problem, as well as challenging systemic biases in law enforcement and media attention. It also means acknowledging the unique challenges faced by families of missing persons, particularly those from marginalized communities, and providing them with the resources and support they need.

In the case of Anthony, her family has finally received some measure of closure, even if many questions remain unanswered. Her story serves as a powerful reminder of the human toll of the missing persons crisis in the United States and the urgent need for action. As we to grapple with this issue, we must remember that behind every missing person case is a person, a family, and a community that has been affected by loss and uncertainty. We must work to ensure that all missing person cases receive the attention and resources they deserve, regardless of the race, gender, or socioeconomic status of the missing person.

In conclusion, the case of Anthony, a 21-year-old African-American female who went missing from Brooklyn, New York on July 3, 1998, and was identified only in November 2017, underscores the ongoing crisis of missing persons in the United States, particularly among women of color. The disparities in the way missing person cases are handled in the United States are a reflection of deeper social and economic issues, as well as systemic biases in law enforcement and media attention. Solving this crisis will require a concerted effort from all sectors of society, as well as a commitment to valuing and prioritizing the lives of all missing persons, regardless of their race, gender, or socioeconomic status.