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.
Aysia Monique Lewis
Case Type: Endangered
DOB: Jan. 1, 1999
Missing Date: Jan. 26, 2015
Age Now: 16
Missing City: Christiansburg
Missing State: Virginia
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: Shoulder Length
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No
Location Last Seen: After school around 2:45 p.m.
Circumstances of Disappearance: Police have recovered Lewis safe in Little Rock, Arkansas, according to WDBJ7 in Virginia. She was in a vehicle with a 33-year-old man named Donald “Bruce” Quesenberry, Jr. (pictured below right). Both were taken in to police custody.
According to Virginia State Police, Quesenberry traveled from his home in Normal, Illinois, to meet Lewis who police believe went off with him willingly.
Police put out an alert for Lewis because they believed she was in acute danger of being sexually exploited. A nationwide search for the pair was underway.
According to police, Lewis and Quesenberry had online communications before she ran off with him. It is unclear if Quesenberry first made contact with Lewis online. Police say the man has ties to the Southwest Virginia.
Lewis’ mother, Teneara Dial, made a plea for her daughter’s safe return during a tearful press conference this week.
“To everyone out there listening, we need your help. We want our daughter who is 16 years old back home with us where she belongs,” said Dial. “Aysia is a good girl. She’s an honor roll student. She doesn’t use drugs or alcohol. She attends church regularly, but she’s got mixed up with the wrong person.“
Quesenberry’s now ex-fiancee, who asked not to be named, told News 25 in Illinois the last time she saw Quesenberry was Sunday when he told her he was going to the store.
When he didn’t return home by 4 a.m., the woman called Quesenberry again who told her that he was on his way back. When he hadn’t returned by 9 a.m., the ex-fiancee called again and he told her that he had drove to Virginia after getting a call that his grandmother was ill.
Quesenberry’s ex-fiancee contacted his family Monday afternoon, when she claims that she was told by his 14-year-old daughter that he was cheating on her with Lewis.
Natalie Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, said it is important for parents to monitor as best they can who their children are communicating with online.
“Sadly, this story is not uncommon. It happens more often than we think,” said Wilson . “There are risks when teenagers meet or communicate with someone online. You just don’t know who you are dealing with – their character, personality, or background.”
It is unclear what charges, if any, Quesenberry will face. NewsOne will keep you updated on this story.