National organizations want more to be done in missing children cases when it comes to minorities

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Penny Poole with Gwinnett County NAACP is reacting to the death of Susana Morales.

Family members said she vanished after leaving a friend’s house and walking home on July 26, 2022.

The 16-year-old’s body was found in the woods on Feb. 6, off Highway 316 near the Barrow County line.

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Poole said she takes this personal.

“My heart sank. Where she lives at, or where she lived at with her family, is not far from my home. So, I took it personal,” she said.

Poole said many people just recently heard about this missing person case, but she feels there should have been more attention in the beginning.

“I really do believe that there’s a disproportionate concern when the children are black and brown, and the attention is not the same as when the children are white,” said Poole.


The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said research proves that there are differences in how cases of white children are handled, versus minority children.

The organization released the following statement:

“We believe the racial and ethnic disproportionalities in the missing child cases reported to NCMEC, particularly those children missing from care, are in part due to the systemic and historical inequities that people of color face in society. NCMEC is committed to remaining an equitable, inclusive, survivor-centered, and trauma-informed organization. We will continue to leverage our resources, data, and information to help address these disparities.”

Back in August, Channel 2 Action News reported that police didn’t think Morales was in any danger, but they asked for the public’s help because they had exhausted all leads.

Channel 2′s Larry Spruill asked Gwinnett County Police Department about how they treated the case.

A spokesperson said they treat each missing person case the same, and the race of the child has no impact.

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