RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond mother has been searching for her missing daughter, Keeshae Jacobs, for five years now with little to no cracks in the case. She’s now featured in a new docuseries that focuses on cases that may not have initially grabbed national headlines.
It’s been five long years for Toni Jacobs, but she hasn’t given up hope that her daughter will return home. Toni spends a lot of time blasting her daughter’s picture online, connecting with missing persons foundations, and handing out flyers, but there have still been no signs of her daughter.
Toni says having a child that’s missing is difficult enough, but add racial bias and it’s even worse. A new HBO docuseries called ‘Black and Missing’ is trying to raise awareness about disparities in missing persons cases.
The four-part series highlights the work of the ‘Black and Missing Foundation‘ and their commitment to find missing people of color. The foundation reports that African Americans remain missing four times longer than white Americans.
‘Black and Missing’ debuts on Tuesday, Nov. 23, and part one features two familiar faces in the Richmond community: Toni and her missing daughter Keeshae.
Toni says she was referred to the foundation who wanted to help shared her story. The production for this series started a few years ago, however the pandemic put a wrench in production in 2020.
“I’m still praying,” Toni said. “Everyday I pray, every night I pray.”
Toni is praying that one-day Keeshae will walk through the door again. Keeshae was 21-years-old when she vanished near Chimbarrazo Park in the city’s East End in September 2016. She told a family member she would see them the next day, but never returned.
Her disappearance didn’t make national headlines five years ago, and since then, there have been no arrests and no sightings.
The new series is also sounding the alarm on the disparity sometimes seen in missing persons cases. A disparity was recently highlighted by the disappearance of Gabby Petito which was the focus of national news coverage for weeks.
“What made the FBI more eager to help her than to help Keeshae,” Toni questioned.
She goes on to say that authorities didn’t take her daughter’s disappearance seriously in the beginning, especially in the first crucial 48 hours, saying her cries to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fell on deaf ears.
“I called the FBI and I was pleading and begging them to please help me,” Toni recalled. “So have I talked to anybody? No.”
National statistics show that more than 543,000 people were reported missing across the U.S. in 2020. According to the ‘Black and Missing Foundation,’ nearly 40 percent of those cases involve people of color, yet African Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population.
Toni hopes that this new attention garners new tips and information, and brings the miracle for which she’s been waiting.
“I’m praying with my heart and soul that it brings Keeshae home,” Toni shared. “But if it doesn’t I hope this helps someone else and brings awareness for people to pay attention to other missing people.”
The series airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on HBO and HBO MAX.
If you know anything about Keeshae’s disappearance, you are asked to call Richmond Police or Crime Solvers.
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