Missing Black Woman Sparks Historic Racial Bias Lawsuit

By Jonathan Adams May 12, 2008

From Village Voice In 2003, 21-year-old Romona Moore told her mother, a Guyanese immigrant, that she was going to the Burger King down the street in their Canarsie neighborhood, but never came back. Because the sheltered, studious, and shy young woman was 21, the NYPD ignored her mother’s cries for help to find her missing child.

While detectives were offering reasons why they couldn’t start an investigation, she spent nearly four days chained up in a basement only a few blocks from her home. She was repeatedly raped and tortured by two young psychopaths who eventually beat her to death on the day that the police grudgingly started searching for her. Her family’s amateur investigation found her before the police did.

When Romona’s mother compared her daughter’s tragic case to Svetlana Aronov, the white wife of a doctor, went missing on the Upper East Side, for whom the police launched a massive search, Elle Carmichael said that race and class kept the police from investigating her daughter’s disappearance. Romona’s mother is suing the NYPD to prove there was racial bias in the investigation of missing persons. The media has decided that girls of color aren’t as newsworthy has Laci Peterson or Natalee Holloway, but fights like Carmichael’s will make sure that these Black women who go missing are not forgotten.