Thursday, August 28, 2008

9 months and counting... an update on Chioma Gray

We are now approaching the 9 month mark since the disappearance of Chioma Gray, the 16 year old high school student who was kidnapped by Andrew Tafoya from her school in Oxnard California. 9 Months have passed... 9 months... and during that time we've heard countless cries and pleas for Stacy Peterson, Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, Madeline McCann, and now, little Caylee Anthony.

I grieve for the families in each of these tragic situations; no family should ever have to endure the grinding despair or enervating uncertainty of a missing loved one. But I have a special place in my heart for Chioma... I am pained by her disappearance and disheartened by the apparent limits of our compassion. Can we all not grieve for her as well? Can we all not share her mother's burden?
Why is it that CNN, FOX, and MSNBC, the FBI, Nancy Grace, John Walsh, America's most Wanted, and all of these people and agencies can come together and stake out Drew Peterson's home, investigate leads for Madeline McCann all the way over in Belgium, track down Ceasar Laurion in rural Mexico, and tape and analyze every conversation Mom Casey Anthony has, and bring in all sorts of equipment to do air sampling within Casey's trunk, and yet there is no National push to find Chioma? Why?

Chioma is a good girl, she has dreams, she has a bright future, she is an excellent student, she cares deeply for her family, she is a person of deep and abiding faith; She deserves more than a couple missing person flyer's in the foyers of a few Walmarts.

I spoke with Chioma's mom yesterday... She told me that she hasn't received any word, NOTHING, from the FBI since February. She told me that the Ventura Police Department has already stopped looking. There were leads in the case that Chioma may have been spotted in Mexico, but they were never followed up on, reports of various sightings, and she still has no information and no real assistance.

Over these past 9 months, I have come to know Mrs. Black, and I consider her a friend. And it is truly painful to hear the hurt and the pain in her voice as she asks the very simple questions, "why won't anybody help me find my Chioma?" and to know that there is no good answer...

But we are not helpless. Collectively, we can make our voice heard. We need to speak out on behalf of Chiomaezronesha Gray and make the CNN's, Nancy Grace's, John Walsh's, and FBI take note. With Internet advocacy groups like the Afrospear, Color of change, and Netroots, representing hundreds of new media outlets with hundreds of thousands of readers, if we all spoke together, the message could not be ignored. And here is the message:

We want to find Chioma, we want resources dedicated to finding her, we want updates on her case, we want to know that there are people out in the field following up on leads, we want to know that the latest technology is being used to uncover evidence, we want to know that Andrew Tafoya's contact with his family is being taped and scrutinized, we want someone to be in contact with the family of Chioma Gray, and we want to make it clear that we love our children too; just as much as Cindy Anthony loves Caylee, just as much as Gerry and Kate love Madeline McCann, just as much as friends and family love Stacy Peterson... We want our Chioma back too...

Readers, I want to ask a favor of you all... first email, copy, reprint, repost, or retransmit this post in any and every medium you can. And second, please take a second or two and contact the following people and let them know that you want an update on the case of Chioma Gray:

  • California Dept of Justice, Missing and unidentified persons unit EMAIL
  • Chief Pat Miller, Ventura PD EMAIL Business phone: 805-339-4400
  • FBI, Los Angeles Field Office (310) 477-6565
  • Nancy Grace EMAIL
  • Greta Van Susteren EMAIL
  • Gloria Allread EMAIL
  • America's Most Wanted EMAIL

...and please leave a word or support or encouragement for the family of Chioma Gray here in the comments section... I'll be sure that Mrs. Black gets each and every comment...

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