Mollie Tibbetts' Case Attracted Viral Media Attention. Here Are The Cases of 5 Missing Women Of Color You Should Know About.
When Mollie Tibbetts, a 20 year old college student from Iowa went missing her case attracted an enormous amount of national attention with her distraught father, Robert Tibbetts, telling CBS News that he felt the case resonated because, "The situation with Mollie is so extraordinarily rare...it's the all-American girl who lives in a Norman Rockwell community, in love with the boy next door.”
While the exact number of missing people in the United States can be difficult to determine precisely because of the method of categorization used by the National Crime Information Center, some statistics do make clear that missing persons cases are actually not rare at all. And of the 650,000 cases opened last year, about 2.5% involved suspected abductions — about 45 a day.
What also isn’t rare? The overwhelming national attention Tibbetts’ case received compared to that of other missing women — particularly women of color. Research has shown that missing white children and women receive vastly more media attention than missing people of color, something we are continually seeing play out on mainstream American news programs.
Tibbetts' case came to a tragic end and her family courageously called out racist coverage of her murder. But the story of her disappearance remains all too similar to cases of several Black women college students and other women of color who have been missing for years, but whose cases have only received a blip of media attention, especially not from national outlets.