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 a missing person weekly and provide tips about how to keep your loved ones safe and what to do if someone goes missing.
Rico Omarr Harris
Case Type: Endangered
DOB: Jan. 1, 1977
Missing Date: Oct. 10, 2014
Age Now: 38
Missing City: Alhambra
Missing State: California
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: Short
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No
Location Last Seen: Harris left his mother’s Alhambra home around 1 a.m. on his way to Seattle to move in with his girlfriend.
Circumstances of Disappearance: According to a spokesperson from the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, Harris’ black Nissan sedan was first observed parked at a Yolo County Regional Parks site on Monday, Oct. 13. No one was found in the area where the car was located.
On Tuesday, the same sheriff’s officer saw the vehicle still parked in the spot. He checked the registration of the vehicle and found that it belonged to Harris. They checked with Alhambra Police where Harris had lived with his mother and found that he left the home around 1 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 10 to drive to Seattle, where he had found a new job and planned to move in with his long-time girlfriend.
Harris’ mother said she last spoke with her son at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning when he told her he was in the Sacramento area. Harris’ girlfriend in Seattle told authorities she last heard from him around 10:45 a.m. when he left a voicemail message, according to police. The park where Harris’ car was located is 60 miles northwest of Sacramento.
The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office conducted a ground search that day and called in helicopters. The next day, more searches on the ground, via the air, and with ATVs did not produce any leads.
KTLA reports that the battery on Harris’ car may have died. Harris’ mother Margaret Fernandez said a backpack with Harris’ cell phone and jumper cables were found nearby.
“I miss my son,” Fernandez said. “I’m very, very sad.”
Harris’ girlfriend Jennifer Song said he wanted a career as a professional basketball player.
“His dream from when he was maybe 5 years old, he said he wanted to be in the NBA. That didn’t happen, so Harlem Globetrotters was the next best thing,” Song told Q13 Fox.
Harris played briefly with the Globetrotters in 2000.
“He’s a very loving, enduring, charismatic gentle giant — that’s what people called him,” his girlfriend, Jennifer Song, told KTLA.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts or the circumstances of the disappearance of Rico Omarr Harris may contact the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office at (530) 668-5280 or the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.
PHOTO CREDIT: Family Photo