Nine days after a 22-year-old Black woman sought help from residents in Excelsior Springs on the morning she escaped the house of a man authorities say kept her captive for weeks, a group of about two dozen people gathered in prayer at a gas station parking lot roughly 40 miles to the southwest in Kansas City’s Marlborough Heights neighborhood.
As details of the case have trickled out, one that has struck a chord with many in Kansas City’s Black activism circles is that the young woman reported she was picked up by Timothy M. Haslett Jr., now charged in Clay County with kidnapping and rape, somewhere on Prospect Avenue in early September. And some believe Kansas City police have been and continue to be dismissive of concerns raised by Black families and activists when it comes to people of color who go missing.
No Kansas City area law enforcement agency missing persons reports have been connected to the Haslett case by authorities leading the investigation. In a statement Monday, one week after Haslett’s arrest, Excelsior Springs Police Chief Gregory Dull said there are none “that correspond with the evidence examined so far in this investigation.”
Police have thus far kept a tight lid on information about the ongoing investigation, which is now being handled by a multi-jurisdictional team in Clay County.
Meanwhile, some Black community leaders reacted with anger to reports that the victim told neighbors that Haslett had harmed others and killed two people — and question how thoroughly those claims are being investigated.
Area residents also question whether the processes and policies of local law enforcement agencies are contributing in part to an environment where general community concerns about missing people — Black women in particular — are simply going unheard or unreported.