Although African-Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, we account for 33 percent of the missing in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s database. Cases involving African-Americans also tend to receive less media coverage than missing Whites, with missing men of color getting even less attention.
NewsOne has partnered with the Black and Missing Foundation to focus on the crisis of missing African-Americans.
To be a part of the solution, NewsOne will profile missing persons and provide tips about how to keep your loved ones safe and what to do if someone goes missing.
Monica Elaine Sykes
Case Type: Endangered
DOB: April 13, 1991
Missing Date: Oct. 28, 2016
Age Now: 25
Missing City: Berkeley
Missing State: Missouri
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: Shoulder Length
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No
Location Last Seen: Sykes left her residence on Faye Street without her identification.
Circumstances of Disappearance: According to Sykes’ mother Regina, her daughter lived with her older sister and her nephews and worked as a server at a nearby restaurant. Sykes loved children and had plans to take over her grandmother’s childcare business one day.
On the morning she went missing, Sykes told her nephews she was going to the store to buy the kids candy. The children’s mother was getting them prepared for school.
Sykes took her cell phone with her, but left behind her identification. The store Sykes said she was going to was about a half mile away. One of Sykes’ nephews says he saw his aunt getting into a white car.
Sykes’ family has not heard from her since. There has been no response on her cell phone and no activity on her social media accounts.
“She normally doesn’t go a couple of hours without texting or calling her sister,” Regina Sykes, 50, an information technology director at Washington University in St. Louis, told NewsOne in an interview. “This is so unusual and just surreal that this is happening.”
Sykes was extremely close to her family, said her mother. She was the third youngest of six children and spent much of her free time with family.
“She liked to have fun, was outgoing, and she liked to joke around with people. Most of her time she just hung out with family and her sister, so we are at a loss of even where to start,” said Sykes’ mother.
That’s why the family believes Sykes might be in danger.
“I definitely think that there is foul play. She is being held against her will and unable to contact us,” said Regina Sykes.
Family members said Sykes had recently begun dating someone. Berkeley Police say they have interviewed Sykes’ new boyfriend and others who knew her. They are not releasing information to protect the integrity of the investigation, they say.
“We’re treating it as the family would want us to treat it. And that’s if it was our own daughter. And that’s the steps we’re taking,” Berkeley Police Department Captain Art Jackson told KSDK.
The holidays were difficult for Regina Sykes and family, but they have tried to remain positive.
“It’s been very difficult. Everyone is very sad and struggling and everyone has their moments where they break down. I’m trying to keep it together and think positively,” said Regina Sykes.
That means springing into action. The family created a Facebook page and has been out actively searching for Sykes.
“We’ve been passing out fliers, going door to door in the Berkeley area,” said Regina Sykes. “We’ve gone walking around to see if there are vacant buildings or wooded areas and lots because we just don’t know what happened.”
Regina Sykes says her family won’t quit until they find her daughter.
“My message to her is we don’t care about what’s happened in the past. Come home, call home and let somebody know she’s okay,” Sykes said.
Last Seen Wearing: It’s unknown what clothing Sykes was wearing, but she had on pink and black Adidas flip-flops when she left the house.
Identifying Marks or Characteristics: Sykes has an “M” tattooed on her upper right arm and the name “Leonard” written in cursive tattooed on her left shoulder-blade. She has long, thick black braids.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts or circumstances of disappearance for Monica Elaine Sykes may call the Berkeley, Missouri Police Department at (314) 524-3311. You may also contact the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.