Here Is The Story Of A Missing D.C. Teen Who Vanished After ‘Going Outside’
Shaniah Boyd is among the missing Black and Latina girls in Washington, D.C., police say.
Written By Jeff Mays
Although African Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, we account for 37 percent of the missing in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s database under the age of 18 and 26 percent above the age of 18. Cases involving African Americans also tend to receive less media coverage than missing Whites, with missing men of color getting even less attention.
NewsOne has partnered with the Black and Missing Foundation to focus on the crisis of missing African Americans.
To be a part of the solution, NewsOne will profile missing persons and provide tips about how to keep your loved ones safe and what to do if someone goes missing.
Case Type: Endangered
Date of Birth: Jan. 1, 2003
Missing Date: Mar 18, 2017
Age Now: 14
Missing City: Washington
Missing State: DC
Case Number: 17-044457
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: Medium
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No
Location Last Seen: 4000 Block of 6th Street, SE around 9:30PM
Circumstances of Disappearance: Shaniah was listed among the young women in the erroneous social media post that 14 black and Latina girls had gone missing in D.C. over a 24 hour period.
FBI, DOJ Asked To Investigate Missing Minority Children, Mayor Bowser Explains What’s Going On In DC
Now Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have gotten involved, sending a letter last week urging Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey to help investigate the missing children reports.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke with Roland Martin during a NewsOne Now / TJMS simulcast about the missing minority children and what is actually happening in the nation’s capital.
Even though the post was incorrect, it highlighted a longstanding problem about blacks and other minorities not getting the media and law enforcement attention they deserve when they go missing.
Shaniah might have been one of those cases.
The teen left her house at 4:30 pm, saying she was “going outside,” according to the missing persons report provided to NewsOne by the Metropolitan Police Department. She never returned home.
Shaniah’s family has no idea where she might have gone off to. According to the report, Shania has gone missing before.
“We cannot comment any further out of concern for the individual’s privacy,” Rachel Reid, an MPD spokeswoman told NewsOne.
Natalie Wilson, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of the Black and Missing Foundation, said she could not speak directly to Shaniah’s case but the circumstances are the kind that make getting coverage and law enforcement attention difficult.
“If a child is thought to be a runaway or thought to have gone missing previously, normally they don’t get any type of media attention. People turn a blind because the thinking is this person left voluntarily so why should we waste resources,” said Wilson.
But that type of thinking is dangerous.
“If a child is a chronic runaway, why are they running away? What are they running away to? What is going on that a child left their home. Are they in some type of danger?” Wilson asked. “We may not immediately know all the underlying issues but we want to get all of our children off the street before the situation becomes volatile. Many kids who run off are vulnerable to becoming victims of sex trafficking.”
MPD has recently begun using social media to focus more attention on critical missing persons cases and Shania was the beneficiary of that new policy. She is listed as a critical missing person.
“We have no indication that these individuals are being kidnapped or snatched off the street. These are individuals leaving home voluntarily. Some of them are located with non-custodial family members, or with friends, or they return on their own,” MPD spokeswoman Margarita Mikhaylova told NewsOne in explaining the new policy.
Mayor Bowser Highlights Innovative Use of TECH in Public Safety, 3/16/17
Mayor Muriel Bowser joins the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) to highlight DC’s innovative use of technology to improve public safety and combat crime.
Since launching the Administration’s Safer, Stronger DC public safety agenda in 2015, multiple DC Government agencies have found new ways to use technology to respond to crisis situations, such as the report of a missing person, and spread awareness around criminal activity.
“Building a safer, stronger DC requires our public safety agencies to be innovative, nimble and responsive,” said Mayor Bowser. “When we make more people in the community aware of open cases, we can work together to keep our neighborhoods safe. Through the use of technology and social media, our public safety agencies have found new ways to solve tough cases.”
Most visibly, in 2016, the MPD Youth and Family Services Division started aggressively using social media to generate immediate public attention for missing persons. The Department’s tweets generate significant public attention which is often a key contributor to finding missing persons.
MPD is also working The Lab @ DC, an initiative housed in the Office of the City Administrator that brings social scientists and data experts together to scientifically review and improve DC Government programs and services. This collaboration is working to make the data and information collected by MPD more user-friendly and transparent.
In addition, MPD partners with the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment (OCTFME) to develop public service announcements that highlight unsolved homicide cases in DC. The videos air on District cable channels and have also been made available to major news outlets for rotation. Videos are available for viewing and distribution on OCTFME’s YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy98…
The Metropolitan Police Department continues to be a national model for its use of technology. In 2016, the Department become the first municipal police department to fully deploy body-worn cameras to all patrol officers. For more information about the District’s continued use of technology in public safety visit http://mpdc.dc.gov/
“Our concern is to find them as soon as possible, and ensure their safety. Because we want to protect individual privacy, we do not publicize the specific circumstances of their return. Be assured, that were we of the belief that any criminal activity had taken place against these individuals, we would aggressively seek to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Mikhaylova added
Reid said the investigation into what happened to Shaniah remains active because “our records indicate she’s still missing.”
Last Seen Wearing: Unknown.
Identifying Marks or Characteristics: Unknown.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts or circumstances of disappearance for Shaniah Boyd may contact MPD’s Command Information Center at (202) 727-9099 or the Youth and Family Services Division at (202) 576-6768. Confidential tips may also be submitted to the Black and Missing Foundation’s Tip Line.