"People don't just disappear. There's always a reason, and someone always knows something."
Those are the words a detective said to me back in 2010 when I was covering the disappearance of an African American pregnant teenager for NBC10 Philadelphia..
I have never forgotten those words or the 15-year-old at the center of that story. Despite being a pregnant child who allegedly left with or was lured by a much older man, the police automatically classified her as a runaway. She is still missing.
The lack of media coverage of that case prompted me to launch this website to investigate underreported missing person cases, especially in black and brown communities. It's an alternative platform for families who want to tell their stories but find it hard to get coverage from traditional media.
Working in TV news over the years, I've seen first-hand the need for more in-depth reporting on missing black and brown people. They rarely get wall-to-wall coverage and don't become household names.
We've seen countless times the role television stations, social networks, and other media play in helping to find a missing person. The coverage helps keep the person's name and face in the public eye and puts pressure on law enforcement to dedicate time and resources to the investigation, especially in the beginning when it matters most. Missing black and brown people and those from a lower socioeconomic status, regardless of race, are not always given the same media attention or are automatically classified as runaways. I want to do my part to help change that narrative by digging deeper, highlighting underreported cases and giving the families a voice.
The numbers don't lie. According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), the sheer volume of cases of missing, unidentified, and unclaimed persons is the "nation's silent mass disaster." And according to a 2019 study by the College of William and Mary, cases of missing African Americans are more likely to remain unsolved. That has to change. In order to do that we must reevaluate how we approach each case.
I'm proud to say that some of the cases I investigated and featured first on this site have received national media coverage, and some have been solved.
On February 2, 2022, authorities in Michigan made an arrest in the disappearance of Akia Eggleston, who vanished in Baltimore, Maryland, four days before her baby shower in 2017. Frustrated that Akia's story wasn't getting media coverage outside of Baltimore, her stepfather contacted me and asked if I would look into her case. We interviewed her family members and the Baltimore Police. We were also the first to obtain surveillance footage of the last known public sighting of the 22-year-old from the day she disappeared. After we released those images, most national media outlets started aggressively covering the case, including Crime Watch Daily, Investigation Discovery, The View, and People Magazine. Our team at Davideo Media Group, LLC also worked with London-based Little Dot Studios on their web series, The Missing, which includes an episode about Akia for Oxygen.com. Akia's case is also part of a 2021 documentary on HBO. Although Akia has not been found, the alleged father of her unborn child is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and is awaiting trial.
The 2017 disappearance of Joanna Clark and her daughter Shariece wasn't getting news coverage outside of Baltimore. Her mother reached out to us asking if we would look into her case. I spoke not only to Joanna and Shariece's family, friends, and law enforcement but also landed an exclusive interview with the last person to see them the day they disappeared. Since then Investigation Discovery and The Vanished Podcast have also covered the case.
Our 2019 story about an unidentified murder victim nicknamed 'Beth Doe' and her unborn child includes exclusive interviews with the lead investigator, NaMus, and ordinary citizens who were instrumental in bringing renewed attention to the case. In April 2021, with the help of a lab that specializes in forensic genetic genealogy, Pennsylvania State Police finally identified the victim as 15-year-old Evelyn Colon of Jersey City, New Jersey. The alleged killer is awaiting trial. Our ongoing coverage of the case includes an exclusive interview with Evelyn's brother.
If you have a missing loved one whose story you'd like to share or if you have any questions about any of the stories on this site, visit the contact page. Please provide as much information as possible and make sure to let me know the best way to reach you.
About Claudia Rivero
Claudia Rivero is an Emmy award-winning journalist and co-owner of Davideo Media Group, LLC, a video production company based near Philadelphia. Clients include Little Dot Studios, Soledad O'Brien Productions, Wreaths Across America, and more.
In addition to Davideo Media Group, LLC, Claudia provides in-depth reporting on missing person cases in underreprented comunities for her website ClaudiaRiverotv.com. She's also a frequent guest on The Vanished Podcast.
Claudia's background is in television news. She served as a general assignment reporter for NBC10 WCAU in Philadelphia, KTVK Channel 3 in Phoenix, and KTVW Univision in Phoenix.
As a general assignment reporter, Claudia covered immigration, wildfires, hurricanes, and high-profile murder investigations. While at KTVK, Claudia reported on the infamous Baseline Killer and Serial Shooter investigations and was among the first reporters to interview Jodi Arias shortly after her arrest for the murder of ex-boyfriend in 2008. The Arias interview also aired on CNN and HLN. While at KTVK, Claudia received two Emmy Awards and two Associated Press Awards. At NBC10, Claudia covered breaking news, including a deadly gas explosion in Northeast Philadelphia in 2011 and a deadly shooting at a courthouse in Delaware in 2013, for which NBC10 won Emmy Awards in the Breaking News category. She also covered Hurricane Irene, provided in-depth reporting on the more than 40,000 abandoned buildings in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania SPCA's efforts to end dog fighting in Philadelphia.
Claudia earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University and is fluent in Spanish. She's a volunteer for The Messages Project, a non-profit organization that helps children of incarcerated people. She previously volunteered for Books Through Bars, an organization in West Philadelphia that sends educational materials to inmates in prisons across the U.S.