Police in Spartanburg, S.C., have charged a man with murdering Tamika Huston, 24, a black woman who became the subject of a debate over whether news organizations lack interest in missing people if they aren’t young, pretty, white women, reports USA Today. The suspect, Christopher Hampton, 25, of Spartanburg, led investigators Friday to a wooded area; tests could determine as soon as today whether remains found there are Huston’s. Hampton was arrested just before he was to be released from a federal prison in South Carolina where he had been serving time on a parole violation.
The cases of Laci Peterson, Lori Hacking, Natalee Holloway, Elizabeth Smart, and other young, white women have received heavy coverage by news media in recent years. Huston’s case got almost no national attention for nearly a year after she disappeared. Young, white women are not “typical” missing people: Slightly more than half of missing adults are men, and nearly 30 percent are black, although blacks account for 13 percent of the U.S. population. The FBI has nearly 50,000 active cases involving missing adults. Rebkah Howard, Huston’s aunt, got in touch with four broadcast TV networks and major newspapers, including USA Today. Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren briefly noted Huston’s disappearance in August. No other national media covered the case.