A year ago today, Rose Starnes was frantically wondering what happened to her 15-year-old daughter, Yasmin Acree, who disappeared from their Austin home the week earlier.The story has been getting some national attention however:
Last Thursday was the one-year anniversary of Yasmin's disappearance. The family believes she was kidnapped from their home, but Chicago Police can't say for sure. Yasmin turned 16 Oct. 25. Starnes believes Yasmin is still alive, perhaps being held against her will. Family and friends by habit talk about her in the present tense. The family would have thrown a party for Yasmin on her birthday, Starnes said, either at the Congress Parkway home or out at a restaurant. Yasmin loves to eat, her mother said.
Last Thursday, the family had a press conference at the 25th District Police Station at 5555 W. Grand to mark the year she's been gone. They were joined by law enforcement officials, clergy and community leaders. Yasmin's cousin, the Rev. Ira Acree of Greater St. John Bible Church, led the proceedings. They announced a $3,000 reward offered for any information leading to her whereabouts. Yasmin, the group pointed out, is among the nearly 1 million children who go missing each year.
"It's hard but we get along," said Starnes on a Sunday morning in the family's living room. "This one year has been hard because we're nowhere close then where we were in the beginning. We don't know any more then when she came up missing."
In October, her story appeared on the Maury Povich Show that featured missing children and on America's Most Wanted in December. Producers from the Povich show filmed at the family's home. Yasmin's room, which is in the basement, hasn't changed that much, except for a new bed spread. About a dozen stuffed animals are on the bed. Yasmin's gym shoes are resting on a stool. Her salutatorian plague and trophy for winning an essay contest while at May Elementary School where she was an academic scholar sits on the window sill. Yasmin talked about becoming a fashion designer or a model, and sometimes talked about college.Some more details:
It was Tuesday evening, Jan 15, 2008 when Yasmin was last seen. She went to school that day at Austin Polytech Academy on the Austin High School campus, 231 N. Pine, then to the Austin YMCA, 501 N. Central, after school where she was part of a mentoring program. Her teachers at May school, where Yasmin graduated in 2007, recruited her for the program. Yasmin spent time with her mentor that Tuesday before heading home that evening. Family members saw her. They said she washed clothes in the basement before going to bed. She was gone the next day and hasn't been seen since.One question that came up here and will come up in cases of other missing black people is whether or not this case is being covered by the media. Indeed the families of missing loved ones might ask if their loved one is being ignored in favor of more privileged or caucasian missing people.
Either way I'm sure the word is spread about Yasmin so let's spread it some more! Let's hope that she can be found alive and safe!
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