Family Aggressiveness Plays Role In Missing Persons Cases


A well-respected pediatrician vanishes without a trace on a dark and rainy night, says Nearly a month passes and her car is not found. Her cell phone and credit cards show no activity. Police say there are no signs of foul play in the case, but no one seems to remember seeing the Dr. Zehra Attari, 55, after dusk Nov. 7. The case has attracted local and national media attention. The same week Attari vanished, Wallace Richards, a 23-year-old black man disappeared after dropping off a female friend in San Francisco and taking the car for the day. There has been little attention to the case in recent weeks.

A person’s place in the community, their family’s aggressiveness and resources, timing, and even race all play a part, in which cases get attention, criminal justice experts say. “If people don’t have contacts, or the wherewithal to know whom to call, connections or a family friend who is an attorney, they won’t have the same advantages as someone else who does,” said Polly Franks of the National Coalition of Victims in Action in Richmond, Va. The FBI National Crime Information Center says there are nearly 48,000 active missing-adult cases in the nation. Some people don’t want to be found. “There is no law against someone checking out of their life and not coming home,” said Kim Petersen of the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation.


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