With my Missing Persons Monday segment, I highlight popular cases as well as those that have fallen out of the public eye.
Sadly, the following case is an example of the latter.
Note: I try not to be judgmental of the parents/guardians involved in the cases of those missing, but instead prefer to focus on other aspects where I can offer some sort of a relevant contribution to the discussion.
On Saturday, January 10, 2009, at approximately 5:30 pm, the grandmother of six-year-old Adji Desir stated that after dinner, the little boy went outside to play with kids in the neighborhood.
Adji was being watched by his grandma in an area of Immokalee, FL called "Farm Workers Village" while his mother was at work.
The child has not been seen since.
It was also reported that Adji is disabled and functions mentally at the level of a two-year-old. He can speak very little, and understands primarily Creole.
Adji was wearing blue shorts and a blue T-shirt with yellow stripes when he vanished.
In contrast to the criticized slow response of police investigating the disappearance of Jorelys Rivera in Georgia (later found murdered) that I previously discussed, Collier County Sheriff's deputies assembled and used bloodhounds, ATVs, horses (and rider), and a helicopter in less than an hour after being notified about Adji .
Despite intensive searches (lots of wooded and water areas nearby) and investigation by the local Sheriff's Office, and with assistance from Florida State agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the case went cold.
A couple of observations:
Detectives trying to investigate crimes in an area like this certainly require additional sensitivities. The language barrier is difficult to overcome as law enforcement tries to persuade potential witnesses to come forward with information.
Also, the transient nature of the population would likely make residents mistrustful of police. I would expect that not telling authorities about questionable activities in the neighborhood is the norm.
2) Media Attention
Even though this happened in 2009, I was not aware of Adji's disappearance, and I feel like I read more news than most folks.
A missing six-year-old that was not a major national story for months?
Sad that the media did not seem to view this disappearance with more urgency.
With the lack of coverage, one might ask: did the child not have the right "look"?
Or, since his parents have limited resources and a different language is spoken at home, does that make Adji less important than other missing children?
Some folks argue that these factors do play a role in which disappearance cases are covered (as in this video which includes a Google search done in 2009 of "Adji Desir missing" that only returned five pages--now it returns over 200,000).
I do believe a missing person's "look" plays a part in how much media coverage is generated.
But I'll save that argument for another day.
In any event, the whereabouts of Adji Desir remain unknown.
And his important story lies buried on secondary pages of crime websites.
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