Black residents in Kansas City, Missouri, say police ignored their warnings that a murderer was targeting Black women, until one of his captives escaped earlier this month. A 22-year-old Black woman in Excelsior Springs, just outside Kansas City, said she broke free from the basement where a white man held her captive for a month. She also claimed there were more victims, all of them Black women, who were similarly sexually abused. Timothy Haslett Jr. is now in police custody and faces rape, kidnapping and assault charges. Prior to his arrest, the Kansas City Police Department said concerns about a possible serial killer were “completely unfounded” rumors. “This speaks to the violent silencing of Black women specifically, of the Black community at large here in Kansas City,” says Ryan Sorrell, founder of the Black-led independent newspaper Kansas City Defender, which reported on the missing Black women. “This is ongoing. We have cases back in the ’90s where Black women have been murdered,” notes Justice Gatson, executive director of the Black women-led group Reale Justice Network in Kansas City, Missouri.
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