Although African Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, we account for 33 percent of the missing in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s database. Cases involving African Americans also tend to receive less media coverage than missing Whites, with missing men of color getting even less attention.
To be a part of the solution, NewsOne will profile a missing person weekly and provide tips about how to keep your loved ones safe and what to do if someone goes missing, while TV One‘s newest show, “Find Our Missing,” hosted by award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson, tells these stories in visual form.
Authorities have found the body of 6-year-old Ahlitta North, who disappeared from her bedroom in Harvey, La., over the weekend, in a dumpster not far from her home.
According to WWLTV.com, North’s mother said her daughter’s body was discovered around 1 a.m. Tuesday in a dumpster at the end of the apartment complex where she lived.
“I woke up to the detectives knocking on the door around 1:30, 1:40 something in the morning. So, I’m figuring something was really going on, because they wouldn’t be knocking on nobody’s door this time in the morning,” neighbor Janeisheia Biagas told the station.
“So I came out, and I answered the questions for them. They asked me did I see anybody move garbage cans. I threw up when I found out, I ain’t going to even lie. I threw up when I found out the little girl was missing, because I’m going to be real, it could be my niece, nephew, anybody,” she said.
Police have also named a person of interest in the case.
Matthew Flugence (pictured above), 20, who is the nephew of North’s stepfather, is wanted by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office for questioning. According to news reports and authorities, Flugence has an outstanding warrant for the alleged sexual battery of an 11-year-old.
“Flugence remains a person of interest, and we have yet to locate him,” said Sheriff’s spokesperson Col. John Fortunato. Flugence lived on the same block as Ahlitta, he said.
The little girl disappeared from her locked home sometime overnight Saturday. According to the girl’s mother and stepfather, the last time they saw her, she was asleep in her room.
Ahlitta’s stepfather said he and the girl’s mother took steps to secure their home before going to bed that night. They woke up in the morning to find the front door unlocked. Some of Ahlitta’s personal possessions were also missing. “I know I locked the door, the burglar bars, and the regular door,” said Albert Hill, the girl’s stepfather.
Neighbors said the area is not safe.
“There is lots of crime and plenty of killings; every day there is violence,” Michael Carter Jr., told The Advocate as he helped to hand out fliers Saturday, adding that he frequently receives notices about sex offenders living in the area.
Police searched diligently for Ahlitta, with several law enforcement agencies and the FBI were involved in the case. Authorities are holding a press conference later Tuesday afternoon, when they are expected to release more details. NewsOne will update you on new developments to this tragic story.
“Our hearts are heavy. What monster would do this to an innocent child? This individual must be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Natalie Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation.
Anyone with information regarding the disappearance and death of Ahlitta North should contact JPSO Missing Persons Bureau at (504) 364.5300 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111 or toll-free at (877) 903-7867. Tips also can be texted to Crimestoppers at C-R-I-M-E-S (274637); text TELLCS. You may also contact the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.
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