Teen Girl Missing, But it’s Not News
A 19-year-old girl is missing from Charlottesville, VA after she had planned to meet a man for a date, her family says. Police questioned the man and then lost track of him, and they’ve made no progress after three weeks, although they say they’re working steadily. Media–even local media–has barely touched the story.
Normally, a missing teenager–especially a girl–is big news. So why does no one want to write about this particular missing child? In his story Where is Sage Smith? on Huffington Post, Daryl C. Hannah speculates that the issue may be that this young woman was born male. The person living now as Sage Smith was born Dashad Smith. Sage is a trans woman. So ask yourself: When was the last time you saw a story about any transgender person in mainstream media?
To make things worse, Smith’s family doesn’t believe the police are doing enough to find her.
From The Daily Progress:
Kenneth Jackson, of Rice, asked to address the City Council at Monday’s meeting, saying he was once proud of Charlottesville, his hometown.
“But I can’t brag on Charlottesville when my little 19-year-old cousin is missing,” Jackson said, adding that the FBI and state police should be called in to help with the search.
I’m not sure what I hope to achieve by writing about this. I guess I just felt that someone ought to. I don’t know what happened to Sage. I don’t know whether Erik T. McFadden–the man she’d planned to meet–did something to her that night, or if–as he told police–she never arrived for their date. (Fun fact: According to reports, McFadden has since fled VA.) I certainly want to point out the injustice of the fact that I believe, had this young woman been straight and white, her photo would be plastered all over your television and computer screens. At the very least, it would be in her town and state, and in the states nearby.
Let’s talk for a moment about what it means that it’s not…what it means that newspapers and television stations in the city Sage lives in seem to have no interest in talking about her, getting her photo out to the public, maybe helping the police by getting citizens to call in tips. If you buy the premise in italics above, I think it can only mean one thing: they see her as less than human. Because when a young human girl goes missing, it’s news.
Here’s a photo of McFadden (and possibly part of his vehicle) just in case he ends up being connected in any way to Sage’s disappearance. I half hope he is, since he’s the only lead they’ve got, but if so, I don’t expect a happy ending.
Honestly, I don’t know what to hope for, except that wherever she is, she’s not in pain. And I hope like hell she makes it home to her family somehow.