Venting Over the Case of a Missing Teenager

Venting Over The Case Of A Missing Teenager was originally published on City Desk on Feb. 12, 2009, at 4:53 pm

Long-time schools activist Cherita Whiting forward this message onto one of the listservs. It requires a repeated airing here. Whiting wrote about a boy, William Van Croft IV, who went missing from his home on Jan. 31.

According to the D.C. Police Department, the boy is still missing. Two detectives have been assigned to the case. Not sure why the department waited until Feb. 11 to post a press release with a photo of William.

Whiting writes that William lives at 1332 G Street SE.

Then she goes on to tell his story:

“He is a DCPS Special Education student and attends school in Maryland.  He happens to be a classmate of my son.  He has been distraught over the untimely death of his 42 year old father who was killed in a car accident a year ago.  Billy suffers from Asperger’s Symdrome.  Left alone he can be very very vulnerable.”

Whiting continues with a description:


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“He is a medium complexioned black male, 5′8″ tall, weighing about 168 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a burgundy sweater. He is in need of medication and may appear to be disoriented.

Anyone who has information regarding William Van Croft’s (Billy) whereabouts is asked to call police at (202) 727-9099.”

But there’s more. There’s always this: A narrative that involves some kind of indifference on the part of Whiting writes:

“Billy’s mother filed a missing person report with DC Youth Investigations on Jan 31.  It sat on a desk somewhere and they just started investigating this case on 2/10.  I have sent multiple messages to the At-Large Council members and every Police officer that I can find who is associated with Ward 1 Precinct 107.  It would make sense that a missing person, especially a special needs teenager could get the attention of the Police and public officials to at least have the Police issue a press release that the child is missing.  This has not been done.  When the press release occurs, the media responds and starts spreading the word that Billy is missing.”

There was a vigil. WJLA showed up and filed this report. Whiting concludes with a simple plea:

“So I ask the following people this question.  Why can’t someone in the DC Government issue a press release so that the media will publish information about this missing person?  Are you going to help this family find their son?”

I got Whiting on the phone late this afternoon for a comment. She had one or two things she wanted to stress. “I just found it ironic that we hadn’t heard about this on the news,” Whiting says. “He’s a special education student—that should make this a high profile….We really need to find him.”

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