Another Black family is left with tears, heavy hearts and unanswered questions about the tragic death of a teen. Jholie Moussa, only 16, was found dead on Friday after she went missing from her home in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County, Virginia.
It took two weeks after Moussa disappeared for multiple police departments and the FBI to search and recover her, a time span that if cut short could have resulted in a search and rescue. She went missing on January 12 after telling her twin sister that she was heading to a party in Norfolk, nearly 200 miles away from her home, NBC Washington reported. Her family, knowing Moussa had behaved oddly but having to wait out the 24-hour time period before reporting a missing child, informed authorities of her disappearance the next day on January 13.
Fairfax County police entered Moussa into the National Crime Information Center database as a runaway juvenile. They issued a statement that nothing about the teen’s case indicated that she was in danger. Apparently, her behavior and the mysterious circumstances under which she had gone missing wasn’t enough to alert authorities that something may have been seriously wrong. Detectives spoke with about 20 people who had recent contact with Moussa, police said. The FBI, not citing a specific reason for involvement, lent available resources to the case in a rare move inconsistent with the department’s treatment of some other cases of Black missing children.
Her tragic death is now being investigated as a homicide.
Moussa’s story evoked a painful sadness that Black folks know too well. This sadness was felt when African-American teens disappeared in Washington D.C. and when Kenneka Jenkins was found dead in Chicago in September. There is also a helplessness that grips folks when they hear about tragedies like Moussa, but there are ways that people can help to find missing children. Here are a few things to do on social media:
Also, paying attention to your social media feeds can work well. Derrica Wilson, who co-founded the Black and Missing Foundation, posted a Facebook photo of a missing autistic Baltimore teen in March that reached an Uber driver who spotted the teen one late night. The teen was soon after reunited with her mom, according to NPR.
Small tasks can make a huge difference in helping a rescue, not a recovery, effort.
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How Black Folks Can Use Social Media To Help When Children Go Missing was originally published on newsone.com