NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- An organization is working to bring home the "black and missing," trying to maximize the exposure of missing persons of color.
Natalie Wilson and her sister-in-law Derrica Wilson founded the Black and Missing Foundation. The women dedicate their time to helping family members find their missing loved ones.
“Many times these families are ignored. This is a forgotten group, and it’s our responsibility as a community to get involved and help find these people who are missing from our community,” said Natalie.
Since its inception in 2008, the group has helped find more than 100 missing people. Many of them were not alive, but it did give their families some answers. The group works with families in D.C., Hampton Roads and all across the country.
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“We need to take a closer look at this. We don’t blame anyone because we all play a role in this. Law enforcement, the community, and of course, the media,” said Natalie.
Joan Turner’s son, Quantez Russell, disappeared nearly two years ago. Someone called Turner one night, telling her someone shot her son in downtown Newport News. She called police and even went to look for Quantez herself, but there’s been no trace of him since that night.
“He hasn’t made that call, so we know something’s wrong. We just don’t know what,” she said.
Both Newport News and Suffolk detectives have worked diligently together to try to bring Russell's family some answers, but have unfortunately been unsuccessful.
“Right now, we’re still in limbo, we don’t know where Quantez is,” said Turner.
The Black and Missing Foundation is trying to bring more attention to the faces you don’t see every day in the media. We pulled the numbers here in Hampton Roads, and found there are nearly 120 cases of missing black men and women that have been reported to local law enforcement.
Natalie and Derrica Wilson have dedicated their time to helping some of those families bring their loved ones home.
“We need to say their names, we need to know who’s missing from our community,” said Natalie.
Of those 120 cases, 95 of them are in Portsmouth alone. The majority of them are considered "cold."
It’s been five long years since Linda Archie last saw her daughter Kathryn Bene’ Griffin. Griffin was last seen pedaling her bicycle near the barbershop she worked on Victory Boulevard. Police say there has been no trace of her since.
Griffin left behind three children, who along with their grandmother, are in search of closure.
“I would ask her where she’s been all these years, and I would tell her I love her and miss her,” said Griffin’s youngest son, William.
The Black and Missing Foundation’s goal is to work with families, police departments, and the media to bring more attention and sensitivity to some of these cases. Natalie Wilson says she wants Turner, Archie and all the other families not to lose hope.
Meanwhile, those families continue to pray for answers.
“Kathryn Bene’ Griffin is a daughter, a sister, a mother, an aunt, a cousin, and she is loved by many. We just pray that one day, she’ll come back,” said Archie.
If you have any information about any missing persons cases, call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.
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