The editing process is underway. A more clear timeline of what happened the day Janteyl Johnson vanished is emerging. Did she really run away?
More to come...
May 25 is National Missing Children's Day. It's a day to remember and raise awareness about the thousands of missing children who have yet to come home. Make sure you share a poster of a missing child in your area.
By: Claudia Rivero
Janteyl Johnson's case will be solved. It will be solved because someone is going to do the right thing and come forward with information about her disappearance. That's what I believe.
People who were once afraid to talk may suddenly get a case of loose lips. It's also possible their conscience will get to them and eat away at their sense of peace. Either way, Janteyl Johnson's case will be solved.
I've followed Janteyl's story since she disappeared in 2010. We've put together videos and created this blog to raise awareness about Janteyl and her unborn child. I've spoken to countless people, traveled to multiple states and knocked on more doors than I can recall. Once you start asking questions the pieces of the puzzle slowly start to emerge. I've also reached out to the New Castle County Police countless times to see if they'd be interested in doing a piece about Janteyl, but so far they have not responded with a yes or no.
It doesn't mean that others don't want to keep this unsettling case in the public eye. The Johnson family very much wants to know what happened to their daughter and grandchild, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children would also like to see this case solved. Someone out there knows what happened to Janteyl and her baby, and the time has come for them to speak up. Do the right thing. If you have information about Janteyl Johnson call the New Castle County Police at 302-395-8133. This case will be solved.
More to come...
By: Claudia Rivero
People continue to ask about the older man and/or other individuals possibly linked to the disappearance of Janteyl Johnson. Someone named "Josette" posted the following message after Janteyl's story was featured on The Vanished Podcast:
As previously mentioned, the New Castle County Police have not named any suspects. The case remains open and investigators are hoping to generate leads. What investigators have said from the beginning is that they believe Janteyl left on her own possibly with an older man. They've also stated that she had been in contact with several older men prior to her disappearance.
Here's what we do know:
Feb. 3, 2010: Janteyl Johnson is reported missing by her mother. NCCPD respond to the family's home at 35 Winterhaven Dr. in Bear, DE. They use a K9 unit to assist in the search and activate a reverse 911 call to alert nearby residents of the search.
Feb. 4, 2010: No local media coverage about Janteyl's disappearance. Janteyl Johnson is listed as a runaway who may be traveling with an older man. Per sources, NCCPD investigators focus on at least two people as investigative leads.
Feb. 5, 2010: Delawareonline.com and Websleuths.com run a brief mention about Janteyl's case.
Feb. 11, 2010: The Newarkpostonline.com mentions Janteyl's case.
Feb. 16, 2010: I interviewed Janteyl's mother for NBC10 Philadelphia. NCCPD confirm they spoke to the man believed to be the father of Janteyl's baby but he has not been cooperative with police.
Feb. 19, 2010: Newark Post briefly mentions Janteyl's disappearance but her picture is placed alongside several individuals wanted for a variety crimes.
April 2010: I interviewed Janteyl's mother again for NBC10. NCCPD spokesperson says "It doesn't look good" but declines to offer further details.
May 6, 2010: Detective handling Janteyl's case sends information to Porchlight International, an online organization that focuses on missing-persons.
November 2013: According to court records, the man believed to be the father of Janteyl's baby is arrested by New Castle County Police and charged with assault in the third degree, terroristic threatening, offensive touching, and strangulation. The victim is a 19-year-old woman and mother of one of his children.
April 22, 2014: According to court records, the individual pleads guilty to strangulation and is sentenced to probation. He was facing five years in prison but both sides, with the victim's input, agree to probation instead.
September 9, 2016: Janteyl's case is featured on The Vanished Podcast, a popular podcast that highlights missing-person cases. The podcast brings much needed media attention to Janteyl's disappearance. The case remains an open missing person investigation.
The question of whether race plays a role in how the media covers a missing person case comes up often, and it's worth discussing. In a Facebook post @Lyngay wonders why I'm "shocked" at the lack of media interest surrounding Janteyl Johnson's disappearance. I'm not shocked. I'm troubled by it and have been writing about this problem for several years. I will never understand why Janteyl's case was overlooked. What I do believe is that her story is an opportunity to further advance the conversation about how we, the media, can do a better job covering stories of missing minority children and adults and making sure they aren't ignored.
My job is to ask questions such as: how does a 15-year-old pregnant child mysteriously vanish, and seven years later, we know very little about her disappearance? What about the older guys she was talking to that day? What about the baby's father? Has he ever helped to look for her? Isn't he concerned about his child? Did the fact that Janteyl was immediately labeled a runaway and was said to have possibly left on her own with an older man lead to unfair assumptions about her? Of course, it did! But here's the deal, even if she did leave on her own, she was a pregnant child traveling with some older guy. That should've been enough for the media to cover this case the way Lacy Peterson, Elizabeth Smart, and Natalie Holloway were covered. Why was Janteyl ignored? If she had been from a different neighborhood or the suburbs would she have been ignored? You decide.
Many families of missing people of color will be the first ones to tell you how they've experienced the lack of media interest in their loved ones stories. I believe that's what @Lyngay is trying to point out in her post. The lack of media coverage of missing minority children and adults is a problem that's long been addressed by experts at organizations like The Black and Missing Foundation and in articles like this one by The Denver Post.
An example of the disparity in media coverage was evident in 2002 when California mom-to-be Laci Peterson vanished. Laci's disappearance was top news locally and nationally for months, and rightfully so. Sadly, her body and that of her baby were later found in the San Francisco Bay. Her husband Scott Peterson was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in 2004.
But what about Evelyn Hernandez? Have you heard of her? Five months before Laci Peterson vanished the Salvadoran immigrant, who was also pregnant, disappeared along with her five-year-old son. Like Laci, Evelyn's remains were also found in the San Francisco Bay, but Evelyn's story was ignored by the media for months. That's not all. Evelyn's five-year-old son has never been found. According to published reports, Herman Aguilera, the father of her unborn child, who was married to someone else at the time, has long been suspected in their disappearance, but police have made no arrests. Their case remains unsolved.
Cases like those of Evelyn Hernandez and Janteyl Johnson are reminders that a person's race and social status shouldn't determine if they are worthy of media coverage. It's well known that coordinated efforts between law enforcement and the media are crucial in all missing person cases, especially during those first critical hours. When a 15-year-old pregnant teen can simply fall off the face of the earth, without answers and without the public knowing, should concern every single one of us. Janteyl Johnson's case should have all of us asking ourselves: What if this happened to my daughter?