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August 10, 2020
Mention of the phrase: “sexual relations” – time: 11:43-11:47
Brief mention of loss of pet – time: 12:07-12:12
Murder first mentioned – time: 20:02-20:05
Rape mentioned – time: 20:23-20:38
Shy’Kemmia Shy’Rezz Pate lived in Unadilla, GA with her mom Veronica and older sisters LaSwanda and Rotando. Though she was known as ShyShy to friends and family, to say she was shy would be a complete misnomer. ShyShy was bright and outgoing and a beloved fixture of her neighborhood. Though she loved to play with the kids in the neighborhood, she did have some medical struggles that made this difficult at times. Besides having a displaced kneecap that necessitated a leg brace, she suffered from asthma and a chronic kidney condition that required the use of PullUps. Still, one of ShyShy’s favorites pasttimes was keeping up with the other kids as they ran around her rural neighborhood.
On the night of September 4th, 1998, ShyShy’s family was preparing to go to the local high school’s football game. Her sister LaSwanda was a senior that year, and the family planned to show their support as she performed in the color guard. When her sister arrived to pick her up, she noticed that ShyShy was not present but assumed that she had caught a ride to the game. However, the little girl was still not home when the family arrived and the police were called immediately.
Everything got off on the wrong foot in the search for ShyShy, because the police incorrectly informed Veronica that she could not make a missing persons report. They did not begin their investigation for a full 14 hours. This is incredibly scary, because this disappearance appeared to be a stranger abduction- a rare but often fatal occurrence. Most stranger abductions result in murder if the child is not recovered within a few hours. ShyShy’s neighborhood set out to search for her, and so did the police, but no evidence has ever been found.
ShyShy’s family feels strongly that part of the reason that her case has not received much attention is due, at least in part, to her race and socioeconomic status. A study by Seong-Jae Min & John Feaster in 2010 backs up their sound intuition with data:
Black children make up approx. 14% of the United States population
33-37% of children reported missing in the United States are Black
Only 1 in 5 of these cases are ever covered by media
Increase diversity in newsrooms
Balance the scales by sharing less of one group and MORE of everyone else
Remember: Black Lives Matter
Law enforcement, media, and communities should all be vigilant in finding the missing
Post on social media about this case. Consider using the hashtag #FindShyShy to help centralize information.
Donate to The Black and Missing Foundation.
Push for your local media to cover cases of Black and missing children in your area.
Shy’Kemmia Shy’Rezz Pate went missing on September 4th, 1998 around 7 PM. She was last seen wearing a lime green Atlanta Braves Jersey with maroon lettering, jeans, and white sneakers. She had 10-12 beads braided into her hair in the front. She had complex medical needs and if alive, needs medical assistance. If not, she needs to come home to her mom, Veronica. If you have saw anything or know anything, even if you think it seems irrelevant, PLEASE contact the Dooly County Sheriff’s Office at 229-645-0920