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Myra Howard, 16, believed missing in South L.A.

Sikivu Hutchinson | 5/22/2013, 5 p.m.

Despite a groundswell of national protest and exposure by activists of color, missing African American and Latino children are still viewed as a low priority by the mainstream media. Missing African American children in particular seldom achieve national or even local recognition, often eliciting apathy from local law enforcement. The recent disappearance of 16-year-old Myra Howard is a tragic continuation of this pattern.

Myra was reported missing on April 29 from her home in Valinda, Calif. She is a high school student at a performing arts school in Pomona. According to clinical psychologist Ronda Hampton, founder of the nonprofit organization Cry Heard, Myra was last seen in the South Los Angeles area (near Inglewood, at Manchester and Vermont) at a tattoo parlor in the company of several older men. She was reported to have had an online relationship with one of these men and might have been lured from her home.

Myra's family fears that she may have fallen victim to sex trafficking. Hampton believes that she did not have the intention of running away from home because she did not take any clothing with her and left a great deal of the money she had at home.

Unfortunately, due to a prior incident, the L.A. Sheriff's Department has classified her case as a "low priority." Myra is 4'10 and 100 pounds. She recently received a tattoo with the inscription "Skoobi," named after the man she had been having a relationship with online.

Flyers for Myra are being posted from the 110 freeway to Van Ness on Manchester and from 74th and 108th on Figueroa, as well as 74th to 105th on Western Avenue.

If you have information on the whereabouts of Myra Howard, please contact Ronda L. Hampton, 951-660-8031.