COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Despite detectives’ pleas to national media, the disappearance of an 18-month-old black boy with the wide smile has yet to grab the widespread attention given to other missing children’s cases. Some advocates say the reason why may be as simple as the toddler’s gender — and his race.
From the still-unsolved slaying of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey more than 15 years ago to the disappearance and killing of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, the public has watched with rapt attention as many cases involving young children unfolded, often over many months. Yet Amir Jennings, the little boy who hasn’t been seen since he was captured on surveillance video with his mother in South Carolina nearly a year ago, has registered as scarcely a blip on the nation’s consciousness.
“Media has always leaned toward the cute little kids,” said Monica Caison of the Wilmington, N.C.-based CUE Center for Missing Persons. “And unfortunately, a lot of times they think cute little kids are white.”