Young women missing in N.Y. provoke fear


Photo by Maylin Reynoso from Instagram

Pictured is Maylin Reynoso, a Bronx native who was found dead in the Harlem River after going missing in late July.

By Lucy Kiefert, Round Table entertainment editor

Fourteen girls missing. Big news, little attention.

Over the summer, a lot transpired – so much, that it was easy to neglect the stories that didn’t hit as close to home or didn’t massively pique the interest of the general public. From Brexit and Black Lives Matter to the ever elusive saga of Kanye West and Taylor Swift, there were many conflicts to focus on. Because of that, other important, though less popular and harder to digest issues went mostly unnoticed, and among these was the growing list of girls who have been going missing around New York City.

Over the last two years, more than a dozen young women of color from ages 12 to 19 have gone missing in the Bronx, and six of these instances were reported this past June alone. Nine of them have been found alive since then.

Along with the girls from the Bronx, there was a confirmed disappearance of 14-year old Egypt Dingle from her Brooklyn home in early August.

Maylin Reynoso, a Bronx native whose case gained some recognition over social media (but very little from mainstream media), went missing while coming home from work in Harlem late July. Her body was later found in the Harlem River.

It is easy to hear about these occurrences and dismiss them when New York is a five-hour car ride away. But is it possible that they could have an effect close by? Absolutely.

“I’ve never felt quite secure,” said Middletown High School sophomore Erin Nester. “I’m a teenage girl. [We’re told] from a young age we need to be careful when it’s late and that whenever someone grabs us, we scream.”

“It freaks me out a little bit,” said MHS freshman Kylie Gorman. “I bet people in New York are even more scared.”

No matter how far away these women live, the amount of them going missing – with only a few returning – in such a short period of time seems to be part of a recurring theme. New York City councilman Andy King believes it may have to do with sex trafficking, saying that “there is a valid active prostitution ring that is occurring up here in the Bronx.”

“[Forced] prostitution is still very real,” Gorman added, “although people try to act like it’s not.”

With shows like “The Get Down” and “Empire”, the dynamic of New York City – in multiple eras – is becoming increasingly prevalent in mass consumer culture. In order to enjoy the backdrops presented by the Bronx, by Brooklyn and by Manhattan, it is important to know what struggles these bureaus are actually facing. In order to identify with New York’s past and relish in their future, one needs to be educated on what is happening there right now.

In a small town like Middletown, a single person going missing would arguably wreak havoc. Obviously, the Bronx is very different. They are not reacting, they are not searching, and that is probably partly due to the fact that this is not an abnormal occurrence. But that should not lessen the significance of these girls not making it home when they’re expected to, going to work and never coming back, playing on the sidewalk with their siblings before being mysteriously pulled away, unaware that it would be the last time they’d see each other.

Speaking about how a woman’s sense of security in New York has been impacted by this issue, MHS sophomore Natalie Fowler said, “They probably don’t think that the police are doing enough, and all women probably don’t feel safe.”
Major news outlets may not be discussing this issue, but that does not mean that girls everywhere who hear about disappearances much like these all too frequently are not. Women are listening, women are talking and women are scared.