If you pay any attention to these kind of things than you're long aware of the deal: a missing, pretty, white girl will receive far more attention from the national news media than their black counterparts (think back to Tamika Huston or LaToyia Figueroa). And like Kelsey Smith, the Kansas teenager who recently vanished after going shopping at a local Target, Stepha Henry has apparently vanished without a trace and Henry’s loved ones are very concerned about her whereabouts--just like Smith's loved ones were until her alleged killer was caught thanks in part to the huge amount of attention Smith's case got from the media--thanks in part to Kelsey Smith being young, pretty and white.
Yet it’s been a week since Stepha Henry went missing and her story hasn’t garnered a tenth of the national spotlight captured by Kelsey Smith, Natalee Hollaway (who still makes news to this day), Laci Peterson or even Jennifer Wilbanks (whom, as we all know ended up to be nothing but a deranged lunatic, much less a liar) in the days following their respective disappearances. The story about Henry, a 22-year-old college grad and honors student from New York City, appeared in my local paper for the first time the other day, nearly a week after she was reported missing:
An aspiring Brooklyn lawyer mysteriously disappeared a week ago while visiting a relative in Miami, and her family is sick with worry.
Stepha Henry, 22, an honors graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, flew to Florida on May 24 for a reggae concert.
But she hasn't been seen since May 29 - the day she was supposed to return home, Miami cops said.
"She has never done anything like this. We are very worried. We love her and just want her home," said Henry's mother, Sylvia, from her home in East New York.
Miami cops said Henry was last seen leaving her aunt Carletha Clarke's home on Northwest 191st St. with an unknown man about 1 a.m. She was on her way to a Fort Lauderdale dance club called Club Peppers when she stepped into a black sedan, possibly a four-door Acura. She was wearing a black jumper with a white tank top, Miami cops said.
"We are shocked by this. This is not the Stepha we know to disappear like this," said Richard Saulnier, assistant vice president for enrollment management at John Jay.
Henry, who graduated last year with a major in criminal justice and a minor in psychology, was one of only two students chosen to be a presidential aide to John Jay President Jeremy Travis while she was a senior, Saulnier said.
"She was chosen because of her academic record and the type of person she is," Saulnier said, describing Henry as "terrific" and "caring."
Henry had been working as an administrative assistant for Saulnier and studying for the law school entrance exam.
She is black, has red hair and brown eyes and is about 5-feet-2 and 110 pounds, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-8477 or NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.