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February 23, 2024 11 mins

Today's episode focuses on the booming interest in true crime, especially cases involving missing or murdered African Americans. It covers the annual CrimeCon convention and highlights efforts by the Black and Missing Foundation to bring more attention to missing blacks. 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
We are here to provide an update on the serial killings.

Speaker 2 (00:03):
Investigation and arrest has been made.

Speaker 3 (00:06):
Our surveillance team followed this person while he was driving.
We watched his patterns and determined early this morning he
was on a missing to kill.

Speaker 1 (00:17):
We're obsessed with true crime dramas, with cases involving black
people the most compelling of all. Next on black Land
and now.

Speaker 4 (00:26):
As a brown person, you just feel so invisible.

Speaker 1 (00:29):
It's not where we're from. Brothers and sisters. I welcome
you to des Joyful Zay.

Speaker 2 (00:36):
We celebrate freedom.

Speaker 5 (00:38):
Where we are.

Speaker 1 (00:41):
I know someone's heard something and where we're going. We
the people means all the people.

Speaker 3 (00:46):
The black information that work presents Blackland with your host
Vanessa Tyler.

Speaker 1 (00:52):
It's growing so big a full convention is built around
it called crime Con, a yearly gathering of those deep
in the genre. Here are the latest on scientific techniques
and crime solving. To those producing podcasts, dreaming shows, it's
a whole different world. What they have started with shows
like Cops and the popular Dateline has morphed into a movement.

Kevin balf is the creator of Crime Con.

Speaker 5 (01:18):
Kevin, Welcome, hivan Essa, thanks for having me.

Speaker 1 (01:20):
Solve this mystery. Why are we so attracted to true
crime so much so you've created a convention around it,
Crime Con.

Speaker 5 (01:27):
You know, I've given up trying to answer that question
a number of years ago, but yeah, Crime Con has
grown tremendously. We've seen we started in twenty seventeen, which
is a few hundred people, and we're going to host
over five thousand this year in Orlando, So the demand
is there. And as best I can tell, it's a
mix of folks who are extraordinarily passionate and empathetic to

help families and victims and really engage and learn, and
then other folks who feel that knowledge is power, and
that by learning about some of these cases and the
things that others have endured, you know, they hope to
be able to have a little bit more prevention in
their own lives.

Speaker 1 (02:05):
The Crime Con convention includes detectives, true crime personalities, sleuths,
all of them into who did it, tracking down clues.
They're focused on finding people even if the cops can't,
the very people who can be helpful to us, the
black and missing.

Speaker 6 (02:21):
We have so many that are missing from our community.
We have Relitia Rudd missing from DC. We have Ariana
Fits missing from California. We have Alexis were missing from
South Carolina, we have Iotis Harris missing from Texas, and
the list goes on and on.

Speaker 1 (02:39):
Dereka Wilson and her sister in law, Natalie Wilson, who
had the Black and Missing Foundation, are determined black people
who are missing are not dismissed, so they took part
in Crime con which was held recently in Orlando.

Speaker 4 (02:52):
What we are doing is changing the narrative around our missing.
They are our mothers, our fathers, our children, our grandparents,
valuable members of our community. But we need to take
a look at how these how these individuals are classified
when they're going missing, especially our children, when they're classified

as a runaway, they do not receive the Amber Alert
or any type of media coverage at all. And our
missing adults tend to be classified as some stereotype, as
being involved with some type of criminal activity and they're
not worthy of being found. And we again are changing
that narrative that these missing individuals of valuable members of

our community. And we're also noticing that our children are
many times adultified and they're not seen as victims, and
we want to change that narrative.

Speaker 7 (03:50):
What kind of setback was it for your organization, for
your efforts when you had an African American woman falsify
her kidnapping and.

Speaker 1 (04:01):
Falsified that she saw a baby on the side of
the road and.

Speaker 3 (04:04):
On interse four fifty nine and there is a chige
just walking by their cells.

Speaker 6 (04:12):
Where I'm I'm right next to the exit exit.

Speaker 1 (04:18):
King after then faking her own kidnapping in Hoover, Alabama,
the black twenty five year old who was going through
something admitted she made it up. There was no baby
on the road. This time there was the coverage the
police and national media black people have been demanding. Sadly,
none of the story was true.

Speaker 6 (04:37):
You know, we were disheartened after we learned the revelations
of that particular case, But I think at the onset
we have to acknowledge the incredible work that was done
by the Hoover Police Department by springing into action, the
media for highlighting the case, and the community engagement. I
think one of the reasons why the case went viral

is because so many people saw themselves as her. They
saw themselves as a good samaritan wanting and willing to
help a child and that's what the story was in
the beginning. But we can't be dismayed by those actions,
especially when forty percent of missing persons in the United
States are persons of color and just alone. In twenty

twenty two, ninety eight thousand black women were reported missing.
So there are so many out there that are missing,
and they deserve that coverage, they deserve that law enforcement resource,
and they deserve our community looking for.

Speaker 4 (05:36):
Them and listen.

Speaker 8 (05:37):
I'd also like to add that, you know, we saw
an uptick in people reporting their loved ones missing because
of what happened with Carl Russell. Our community they were
more engaged because they did not want her case to
be a stained on the work that we do. And
the individuals that are missing and their family please continue

to look for them. So we, you know, were able
to shift a story a bit to say, let us
not forget those that are still missing. And I think
that the media, law enforcement, and the community really saw
that that it's a valuable lesson learn from what happened,

and we cannot cannot give up or punish these individuals
because of one person's mistake.

Speaker 1 (06:27):
There are so many other cases to crack one of them,
so bizarre. It sounds like it's not true, but it
is the life story of Symboli. Monique Smith.

Speaker 2 (06:38):
Taken me over twenty years of thirteen or my true identity,
to discover that i'd've been missing for well over fifty years.
Talk about a true crime mystery. This takes a lot
to unpack. Simboli calls herself the longest living Jane Doe.

All her life growing up in Baltimore, she knew something
wasn't right. But the woman she thought was her mother,
she was mean, cold and very abusive. Things would slip,
arguing with the little cousin, you know, being a lot
of toy, No giving my tooy. Well it's not thirty
toy anyway. Well yeah, I'm a little telling lauld see
not far out of that. And you know, so as

a child, you don't think of anything all in I
would be especially one last day.

Speaker 1 (07:24):
She says, a so called uncle felt it was perfectly
okay to molest her as a child.

Speaker 2 (07:29):
You're not minings in what but in those moments.

Speaker 1 (07:32):
In those moments, bits of the truth would seep out.
The floodgates opened when she tried to get her birth
certificate as an adult. Going back through school records. She
had several different names, different social security numbers.

Speaker 2 (07:45):
Every single documentation it came into my possession after my research.
It had a different name, It had a different pace
of birth, It had a different year in which I
was born. It even had mining one one with me
in his Spanish, I was a Rodriguez.

Speaker 1 (08:03):
It was all made up. So who was she? She
confronted the cold black woman she thought was her mother.
The old woman wouldn't budget some Bowlie, says. The frail
woman vowed to take the truth to her grave, and
she did so began her quest to find out who
she is. She went to police, the FBI, hired detectives,

all the national databases.

Speaker 2 (08:25):
They were on the impression that I was psychologically unbalanced.

Speaker 1 (08:29):
And Bowleie Monique Smith even created posters she put up
on polls and.

Speaker 2 (08:34):
Yes, I made my own listening carson of flyer. I
walked the streets. I posted in my own flyer.

Speaker 1 (08:39):
It had her image as an adult and one as
a child. She was hoping someone would know her. No
one came forward.

Speaker 9 (08:45):
How in the world was that that a beautiful black
baby girl was missing and no one knew? Where was
your real mother? I had no clue, I had no answers,
I had no clue.

Speaker 1 (08:58):
Come to find out her mother wasn't in Baltimore, but
in New York City, a woman at her edge. She
had seven children and a drug problem, ultimately dying of
an overdose. The woman Simbolli thought was her mother and
her real mother knew each other. Who knows what their
transaction was. But since some Bollie's fake mother couldn't have
children and her real mother had too many, something was arranged.

She learned about her mother's tragic life by locating a
sibling and confirming it through DNA that older sister was
looking too. But for a death certificate of her little sister,
all these years, Simbolie's family assumed she was dead. Now
a mother herself, she is putting the puzzle pieces of

her life together. She believes if you dig long enough,
down deep enough, the answers will come.

Speaker 2 (09:51):
This their why Telby you never give well All mist
and children aren't game.

Speaker 1 (09:54):
That's the message she brought as a guest speaker to
crime con, where a DNA is changed in the game
in so many ways, between finding loved ones or cracking ice,
cold cases wide open and if cops don't catch the
killer directly, they are doing it through a relative whose
DNA is either in systems like Ancestry or twenty three
and meters or in a law enforcement system. No one

is going to get away with anything anymore. Kevin balf
from Crime con says, they certainly won't get away with murder.

Speaker 5 (10:24):
It's hard to imagine that in the future, and you know,
that could be ten years, it could be twenty that
there will be any such thing as a cold case. Really,
I mean, if there's any sort of DNA, even the
most minuscule sample, the technology in these labs is getting
to the point where they they can process that create
a profile, and then to your point, the new sort
of work on what they call FGG familial genetic genealogy

is to then go to the family tree side right
and start using these publicly accessible databases to sort of say, okay,
well there's a match to this second cousin. And what
happens is they apply traditional detective work to it, so
you might get a match, but that second cousin was
living a thousand miles away, or has an alibi, or
died two years before, and so you start just narrowing

through these family trees, and they've had a ton of success.
I mean every day, I'm seeing multiple announcements per day
of cases going back as far as fifty years being
being solved. And to your point, there are no criminals
who have committed felonies who are resting easy right now.
And I love that. I love the fact that someone
who thought they got away with murder because it was

thirty years ago is every night looking over their shoulder
and wondering if they're going to get.

Speaker 1 (11:32):
A knock on the door next time. On Blackland, another
kind of case being cracked. Black Men behind bars for decades.

Speaker 2 (11:41):
I was charged as the actual person that committed this crime,
when in fact I wasn't the actual person that committed
this crime.

Speaker 1 (11:47):
The story of Ricky Godfrey in his thirty one years
behind Bars. I'm Vanessa Tyler. Join me on black Land.
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