Ep45: (Part 1) Minnesota's Missing & Murdered Black Women and Girls

Ep45: (Part 1) Minnesota's Missing & Murdered Black Women and Girls

Speaker A: Hands of my podcast is a proud member of Dark Cast Network presenting the brightest of indie podcasts, Hola My Beautiful Humans.

Speaker B: This is Jasmine Castillo, and I bring stories and cases from the People of Color community, bringing awareness of murdered and missing Indigenous women, girls, two spirits, the LGBTQ community, asian American, Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander, Black, Indigenous People of Color. These are their stories. So welcome to hands off my podcast.

Speaker C: Governor Walls held a signing ceremony launching the missing and murdered African American Women Task Force. Among those on hand was Lakeisha Lee of St. Paul, who will serve on the new panel. Lee became active on this issue because her sister, Brittany Clarty was murdered in February of 2013, her body found in the trunk of a car in a tow lot. Three weeks after Brittany suddenly disappeared, representative Ruth Richardson of Mendota Heights championed the bill in the Legislature, setting up the new Task Force that we are going.

: To leave this task force with a blueprint.

Speaker A: Established in 2021 by the Minnesota Legislature and coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, acronym DPS, the MMAW Task Force brought together various stakeholders, including representatives from government agencies, law enforcement, legal professionals, healthcare institutions and local organizations providing support to Black women and girls. In collaboration with Research in Action, extensive research was conducted along with interviews involving African American women and girls, as well as individuals working within relevant agencies and institutions. The Task Force findings shed light on some of the root causes behind this concerning trend. It identifies racism and lingering effects of slavery as contributing factors that historically define Black women and girls based on their profitability as slaves, ability to work and capacity for bearing children. These harmful stereotypes perpetuate negative beliefs about Black people being dangerous, hypersexualized, irresponsible or lazy. Such misconceptions continue to have detrimental impacts on the lives of Black women and girls today. This is an important reminder that addressing these underlying issues is crucial for combating violence against African American women and girls. By confronting systemic racism and challenging harmful stereotypes, we can work towards creating a safer environment for all individuals, regardless of race or gender. Occupational segregation in Minnesota leads to lower wages for women. Women working in female dominated sectors earn $18 per hour, while those in male dominant sectors earn $21 per hour. The disparity is even starker among Black women, with over one third working in service fields compared to one fifth of White women. This unequal distribution of work opportunities also affects housing options and savings. Limited access to safe and affordable housing impacts the quality of life and increases the vulnerability to violence. To address these issues, it is essential to allocate more resources towards reducing the disproportionate harm faced by Black women and girls. This includes providing stable housing and educational programs that can prevent violence and promote well being. Additionally, professionals serving victims should have better data collection and improve coordination amongst agencies in order to achieve these goals, funding should be directed towards creating housing and resources specifically designed for African American women and girls. It is also crucial to develop culturally appropriate trainings for professionals like peace officers, prosecutors, and victim service representatives. Increasing diversity by recruiting more African American staff in these roles will help create inclusive support system. Minnesota has taken the lead in addressing violence against African American women and girls by creating a task force dedicated to understanding why they go missing and helping their families. This May of 2023, Minnesota also enacted a law establishing a nation's first office of missing and murdered African American women and girls. Illinois and Wisconsin have followed suit with similar initiatives. Missing and murdered black women and girls is a social issue that has been ignored for far too long. Every day, black women and girls around the world are victims of violence, and the statistics for 2022 are already alarming. According to a recent report from the Missing and Murdered African American Women Task Force acronym MMAW, there is a significant disparity in the murder rates between African American women and their white counterparts in Minnesota. Additionally, it is noted that these cases often receive less media attention or Amber Alerts than other missing person cases. The data shows that African American women and girls are nearly three times more likely to be victims of homicide. This alarming statistic is further highlighted by the fact that although they make up only 7% of the state population, black women constitute 40% of domestic violence victims. In Minnesota, hundreds of family members with lost loved ones said enough is enough. In each of these four part episodes, we will talk on the stories of our precious women girls of color and explore when this becomes a social issue, how we can change the statistics, and what organizations are helping. In this episode, part one, we will discuss on the lives of Cassandra Rhines, tina Slaughter, Kiki Jefferson Moore and Sadeya Hall. 19 year old Cassandra Rhines was last heard from on June 16, 1985, when she calls her friend to confirm that she would be at her goddaughter's birthday party in Minneapolis the next day. So on June 17, she never shows up at the party and has not been seen or heard from since. Now, almost 30 years later, 200 miles away on the North Shore, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension held a news conference regarding the recent discovery of a woman's body in the Gooseberry Falls State Park.

: We're here today for two very important reasons. First of all, to announce that a woman who was missing for 30 years has been found. We're also here to ask for the public's help in providing information that may help investigators find her killer.

: All right, on May 6 of 2014, one of our off duty employees was in Goosebury Falls State Park doing some training with his dogs and came upon what he thought to be a human skull. By the time we got up there, it started to get dark. We were unable to locate it at that time. The next morning we gathered some help and we went out there, which was on May 7. May 6 was when it was reported to us. May 7 then is when we found the skull appeared to be decades old. There were other bones in the area and that were on top of the ground there and didn't know if the remains at that time, if they were historic or from natives or earlier settlers. And we did notice a filling in a tooth that was inside the skull. Ended up calling Sue Meister, Hamlin forensic anthropologist to come up and help us just to determine which bones were human and which were animal in the area.

: So shortly after the BCA crime scene team assisted with the scene where these skeletal remains were located. Several samples were submitted to our laboratory to obtain some DNA testing in order to attempt to assist with any identification. The samples that were selected were directly a result of the work that Dr. Meister had done. So she knows we have worked with her very closely. In August of 2014, the BCA matched DNA from these remains to DNA from one family member who provided a sample. In late 2013, further testing of an additional family member confirmed a match. We identified the remains of those to be Cassandra Rhines, a 19 year old woman from Minneapolis who had been missing since June of 1985.

Speaker A: Rhines had no clear ties to the northland. They released a photograph of Rhines with a man whose identity was unknown, who may have been living with Rhines at the time she disappeared and asked former neighbors and acquaintances to provide information to help piece together her life. Quote based off the information we got from the press conference and releasing her picture, we were able to identify the male as Donald McSwain and verify that he was in fact living with her at the time but has since died. At the time of her disappearance, investigators believes Cassandra may have been involved in prostitution and may have worked as an exotic dancer. Johnson said the tips also led to the identity of a friend that worked with Rhines as an exotic dancer. They also tracked down Rhines'friend and found that she was also deceased and felt that she would have had information that could have been extremely useful. However, they hit a roadblock again because of her passing. BCA assistant Superintendent Drew Evans states investigators need the public's help to better understand who Cassandra Rhines knew and who may have sought to harm her. The clearer picture we have of the time when she disappeared, the better chance we have of finding, of finding out who killed her. Anyone with information about Cassandra Rhines is urged to contact the Lake County Sheriff's Office at 218-834-8385 or the BCA at 651793 7000. On July 1085, vitini, tina Doreen Slaughter and her two young sons spent the day at her parents'house. It was her mother's birthday, and so she had came over and had made her mother a birthday cake. Her mother states that it was just a nice day to spend time with her daughter and grandchildren. Little did they know that that was the last time they would see their daughter. The next morning, they got the call, the call that they will never forget. In the early hours of July 11, 1985, before 05:00, a.m. Tina was startled awake by an intruder in her home. Police based on the police report, she was stabbed multiple times in the bedroom. She stumbled through her house and again was attacked in the living room. Tina was able to escape the home and run to the neighbor's home. According to police reports, tina called the 911 emergency number at dispatcher who took the call reported hearing heavy breathing and a gasp, but had no conversation with the caller. Before the telephone was hung up, a neighbor called the police. 1 minute later, Tina was found semi conscious. Thankfully, her two sons, Dwayne, who was seven at the time, and Marcellus, who was four, were unharmed in the home and found asleep by police who canvassed the home. A suspect was seen running from the apartment building, and it is believed that Tina's case may be linked to series of other robberies in the area. As her TV was taken later, her TV was found in an alleyway. At the time of the murder, police questioned a few suspects but were never able to link anyone to the homicide, and the case went cold. And so the case stayed unsolved for decades, but it caught the eye of sergeant Chris Caracostas. Now Chris Caracostas fulfilled a lifelong dream of working in law enforcement and became a decorative Minneapolis homicide detective focusing on cold cases. He was a Chicago native that served the MPD for 29 years before retiring in 2020 from the homicide unit. Sadly, Chris was found dead of natural causes on December of 2021. In a local hotel room, friends stated that he was in town preparing to testify in a murder case. He was 54 years old. Now where the case stands today in 2016, after reexamination of the case, DNA was discovered, subsequently tested from an item found at the scene. Part of the challenge now is to compare the DNA discovered to whoever was in the building that night. Investigators are hoping that the last 30 plus years will provide will prove that someone has talked to someone about this investigators are hoping that the last 30 plus years will prove that someone who has someone has talked to someone about this crime and that they are willing to come forward. Tina's family is still searching for answers in her 1985 murder, and unfortunately, her oldest son Dwayne was killed in 2001. Star Tribune on July 12, 1985 was reported that citizens whose homes were burglarized. Recently in south Minneapolis. One man was stabbed and another was beaten to death with his own shotgun. The three earlier incidents were labeled Crimes of Opportunity, in which the victims, all apparent burglary targets, had left doors unlocked and were killed with weapons that were at hand. There was similarities and dissimilarities, detective Farrell states. It keeps you wondering the time of day is right, but it's different part of town. And then there are multiple stab wounds as opposed to a single stab wound in the other cases. Now, although Tina was known to keep her doors locked, farrell said her front door showed no signs of forced entry. She was pronounced dead at 07:19 a.m after emergency surgery at Hennepin County Medical Center. Do you know someone who lived in the apartment building where Tina was murdered at 1712 Fremont Avenue North in 1985? Please contact MPD tip line at 612-692-8477 or submit a tip through Crimestoppers by texting. Tip seven four seven, plus your tip 227-4637 if you have any information about Tina's death. Kiki Jefferson Moore was working hard to chase her dreams in life. Was born in September of 1980 to Jeanetta Jefferson Moore and Benjamin Moore. She had two older siblings, a brother and a sister. Growing up in the Brooklyn Park, Kiki was just like any other kid, said her parents. She loved animals, riding her bike, playing with remote control cars, dancing with her family at family reunions, and spending time and doing makeovers with her friend Melody. She was a happy, fun loving person, says Moore. She loved joking around. Kiki attended Oseo High School and graduated in 1998 from Wave Alternative High School in Oseo. Her parents agreed that she was a people person who got along well with everyone and was always friendly with when she met new people. High school was where Kiki discovered a passion of photography and writing, recalls Jefferson Moore. Although she took a job as a telemarketer after graduation, she planned to go to college to study journalism. Kiki had especially looked forward to being an aunt, her parents said. Her niece Khalila, was born in early 2000 and she loved spending as much time as possible with her. On September 23, 2000, the body of Kiki Jerfiston Moore was discovered in Worth Lake in the Golden Valley by two morning walkers. After a routine autopsy was determined she had been murdered and her case remains unsolved today. Kiki's time with her niece and the rest of her family was cut short at the age of 20. Her parents want closure, her father says. Even after all these years, it scares me to think the murderer is still out on the street somewhere. And her mother says, there is a hole in my heart that will never heal. Before we die, we want justice. She was our daughter, and then she was gone. Over the years, the GVPD has repeatedly reached out to the media, to other communities and even brought the FBI on board to investigate the case. They interviewed potential leads and talked to all known witnesses and persons of interest over and over again. The Golden Valley Police Department believes someone out there may know something that could help them solve the murder and help bring closure to these families who have been waiting years for answers. By getting the facts into social media and to as many eyes and ears as possible, police hope someone will come forward with new information. If you have any information regarding Kiki Jefferson Morris homicide, contact the GVPD tip line at 763-5122 500. SADEA hall was a vibrant teenager who loved life and touched all who knew her. A statement from Sadeya's mother, April Combs. Quote SADEA was fun, outgoing, free spirited, loved volleyball. She loved the mess out of her little cousin Natavia. She used to always play in the pots and pans cabinets as a baby, making lots of noise. She had a lot of friends and loved getting together with her family. Her mother tried as much as she can to raise a young woman and wish she had more time. Yet SADEA was dealing with immense grief inside. Relatives told the news media SADEA lost her little brother in 2013, a loss she never really got over. April Combs lost both her children unexpectedly. February 1, 2017 wednesday night, SADEA was hanging out with friends in a Pain Fallon home when bullets came through the basement windows. A gunman shot into the house in the 500 block of Case Avenue East in St. Paul. St. Paul squads arrived in the intersection of Case Avenue East and Edgerton Street around 10:30 p.m.. After 911 calls reporting shots fired. When officers arrived, they found 16 year old SADEA Hall, who was soon pronounced dead, unseen by paramedics. Also shot and wounded was a 17 year old female and an 18 year old male. Both were transported to Regents Hospital for treatment. The entire block remained cordoned off that Thursday morning as homicide investigators and crime lab techs process the murder scene. Police are going door to door, talking to witnesses, gathering information that may lead to a suspect or suspects. Sadea's cousin tells Twin Cities Pioneer Press that it's really tragic because she was an innocent person and her life is gone. Sudeiya's friends believe that she was not the intended target. Police have not arrested anyone in Hall's homicide. This is a case that has broken all of our hearts, and our investigators have worked very hard on it, said Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman. They've interviewed many people. They've examined a lot of evidence, but unfortunately, they haven't got that piece of information that could lead to the killer. Police are asking for the public's help, and if someone provides information that leads to an arrest, he or she could be eligible for a reward. Through Crimestoppers of Minnesota, people can call the St. Paul Police homicide unit at 651-266-5650 or provide anonymous information to Crimestoppers at 802 28477 center. There are over 200,000 active missing person cases in the United States, and African American women and girls make up a disproportionate number of these cases. 2019 study by the Urban Institute titled The Continued Murder of Black Women and Girls in the United States found that the homicide rate for Black women was 3.18 per 1000 in 2017, compared to zero point 31 per 100,000 for White women. This means that Black women were ten times more likely to be murdered than White women. The study also found that Black women were more likely to be killed by someone they knew, such as an intimate partner or a family member. In fact, 73% of Black women who were murdered were killed by someone they knew, compared to 59% of white women. The study authors concluded that the high homicide rate for Black women is a national crisis that is largely ignored. They called for more research and resources to address the issue of violence against Black women and girls. The study's findings are consistent with other research on violence against Black women. For example, in 2018 study by the National Coalition against Domestic Violence found that Black women are more likely than white women to experience intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking. The high homicide rate for Black women is a reflection of the systemic racism that Black women face in the United States. Black women are more likely to live in poverty, to be unemployed, and to have less access to health care than White women. These factors make them more vulnerable to violence. It is important to raise awareness of the high homicide rate for Black women and girls to call for action to address this issue. We need to invest in programs and services that support Black women and girls, and we need to challenge the stereotypes and prejudices that contribute to violence against them. There are a number of things that can be done to address the issue of Mmawg. These include increasing awareness of the issue providing more resources to law enforcement agencies working to address the root causes of violence against African American women and girls. Holding perpetrators accountable. It is important to remember that Mmawg is not just a statistic, it is a crisis that is affecting real people and families. We must all work together to bring attention to this issue and to find solutions. Here are some organizations that are working to address the issue of Mmawg the Black and Missing Foundation, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the National Black Women's Justice Institute, the National Urban League, the Women's Justice Institute, if you know of a missing or murdered African American woman or girl, please contact your local law enforcement agency or one of the organizations listed. You can also call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1800 the Lost. That is 1808 435678.

: We need to enter into a place where the value of Black women is the value of women. Period.

: If you enjoy our show, please rate and review us on Apple Podcast and be sure to come back for our discussion of true crime stories.

Speaker A: Starting in June, I will be switching.

: Over the podcast to be a bi weekly pod platform. Until then, this is Jasmine Castillo. We are voiceless no more. This podcast was created, produced, recorded, researched and edited by Jasmine Castillo, current active.

Speaker A: Member of Dark Cast Network, TransDoe Task Force, Uncovered, and partners with search and support San Antonio.

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