Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Stepha Henry Case Takes A Turn For The Worse

I had a really rough time at the Day Job today, but then someone forwarded me a news story that put everything in perspective. A man suspected of having murdered missing college student Stepha Henry was arrested today in New York.

The body of Stepha Henry has not been found, but so much of her blood was in the car that took her to a Sunrise nightclub that she could not possibly have survived, officials said Tuesday.

At a news conference at the Miami-Dade Police Department, officials for the first time said Henry, 22, was brutally murdered last May, and though she remains missing, her killer, police said, has been located.

Police in Brooklyn arrested Kendrick Lincoln Williams, 32, Tuesday morning and have been questioning him much of the day, said Jim Loftus, assistant director of investigative services for the Miami-Dade Police Department. Williams is being charged with second degree murder.

Henry, a recent graduate of John Jay College who aspired to attend law school, was visiting her aunt in North Miami during the Memorial Day weekend last year when she disappeared.

Prosecutor Abbe Rifkin, of the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, said the second degree murder charge against Williams could change as the investigation continues. Williams is also charged with tampering with evidence.
The body has yet to be located, but all signs seem to point to a bad ending.

I've had people periodically ask me why I kept posting updates about this story, when there really hasn't been any new news since June. I guess my thought has always been that Henry could just as well be my wife, mom, aunt, sister in law, or for that matter, my son, since this phenomenon of "who cares if they're black and missing?" is hardly gender specific. How would I feel if my loved one was missing, yet I couldn't even get the police to search for them because they didn't fit the typical profile of a distressed missing person?

While Henry's case did get some low level of cable news media coverage, it is nowhere near the frenzy typically generated by a missing Jesse Davis, Natalee Holloway, or Elizabeth Smart. The case is perhaps most notable for having been famously bumped from cable news coverage when breaking news of Paris Hilton's imprisonment pre-empted it. And that's a damn shame, but it tells you a lil' something about the country we still live in. Politricks of Hope™ and "A New America" aside, we still have a long way to go.

I could go off on some tangent about how that pregnant marine story is all over the news, yet I wouldn't have heard about the break in this case unless my readers told me about it. Would more media attention to Henry's disappearance have possibly lead to her safe return? The world will never know. Why is it that the media, and by proxy (in some cases), the police don't seem to care about missing people of the wrong hue? If you're a male college student like Julian McCormick, a female college student like Henry, or any age above and below, reality is, you better find your own damn self, because nobody will be looking for you. Except for your family, friends, and Black and Missing, nobody cares. There is no Laquita Alert.

What is true is that none of that matters right now.

A life is quite possibly lost, and though I don't know anything about Ms. Henry other than what I've posted here for the past six months, I felt a deep and profound sense of sorrow when I was forwarded this story.

If these allegations are true, I hope there's a sauna in West Hell waiting for Mr. Williams.

Please pray for the Henry family in this time of sorrow, and always pray for God's hedge of protection for your loved ones.

Police: Blood evidence shows Stepha Henry was murdered [Sun-Sentinel]

13 AverageComments™:

ATLcutey said...

wow. this is the first time i even heard of this story!

that is sad indeed. :-(

the news about the marine lady is all over the news with frequent updates.

only in ameriKKKa. *sigh*

Prayers go out to the Henry family.

before the mayflower said...

Thanks for your focus on this case and your compassion.

I'm not sure what the programming will be on Oprah's new television network (OWN), but I hope it will give attention to cases like Henry's, and do a better job keeping us informed on matters of black interest.

My initial investigation says not, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Sending prayers to the family.

cinco said...

Ms. Henrys' death is sad enough...that the alleged perpetrator is black makes it worse.

We've got to learn how to value and take care of ourselves- in all ways.

cinco said...

Ms. Henrys' death is sad enough...that the alleged perpetrator is black makes it worse.

We've got to learn how to value and take care of ourselves- in all ways.

KreativeMix said...

I was so hoping this wouldn't end this way. When will the madness stop???

Anonymous said...

Would it have been better had the perpetrator been white? Then would you feel better being able to blame it on someone you don't identify with? It doesn't matter what color the killer was, AT ALL. It sure as hell doesn't matter to Ms. Henry or her family.

Rabin - "Bold Voyager" said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rabin said...

I think it's incredible that anyone would give you flack for updating the public on this issue. The sad fact of the matter is that if it weren't for the internet and Black bloggers, many of these stories would fade from memory or not be known at all.

Case in point, Phylicia Moore, a young Black student who died on a school trip abroad. A friend of mine who knows the family gave me info to post re: a safety bill they are trying to get passed in her name, but if it weren't for this personal connection, I wouldn't have a clue. I bet many readers haven't heard of her or the bill, just like some didn't have a clue about Stepha.

AverageBro said...

It's sad that the few black media outlets we do have don't use their resources to bring these missing persons to light.

I don't expect anything from BET, but how hard would it be for TV One to run a 15 second PSA during commercial breaks showing photos of missing kids and adults of color? I mean, really.

If we don't care about each other, why should anyone else? We don't value these lives enough ourselves.

This is why I give major props to my girl Deidre who runs the site Black and Missing. The info is out there, but it needs to be in other mediums. No excuses, Cathy Hughes and Co.

Peep the site at blackandmissing.blogspot.com

cinco said...

@ anon...

Even though anyone can commit a crime you're deceiving yourself to think that color doesn't matter. (for a variety of reasons, it does).

And perhaps in time even Ms. Henrys' family will be speaking out on 'black on black' crime- and on the many other issues that plague our communities.

cinco said...

Btw anon...
You're assuming that I can't 'identify' with 'whites'... 'Opinions' are one thing...'Facts' are another.

VOD said...

Yep, subscribed to Black and Missing last year since no one else seems(ed) to give a damn about us.

The story was talked about in the news here, but as some of you already said, her case wasn't as important as the Caucasian cases.

Any updates? Has her body been found? Was the alleged killer put on trial? Too bad the media doesn't care enough to follow up.

Anonymous said...

I see the discrepancy as a marketing gap. Statistically there are more white people who are likely to have the education required to launch a successful missing person media circus. This is something that takes a lot of skill, as the parents have to sell their story to the media before the media is going to sell their story to the public.

In the absence of parents, relatives, loved ones who can navigate this media world, people might find it more difficult to get their story out. A lot of poor people just simply can't get their story out at all, as the main reading body the media goes for is middle class people who the media feels won't relate, a very conservative assumption as many people are willing to relate across racial and class boundaries.

... so you're left with patches. Blogging is a good way to try to patch the gap as there will certainly be people in the general population who are able to get the message out professionally.

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