This is one of the saddest missing persons cases I’ve ever come across. Garnell Moore was a 7-year-old boy who lived in the rougher part of Baltimore, Maryland. His mother was in prison, his father homeless. Garnell’s caretaker was his aunt, Belinda Cash, who took him in when he was 6. She never had legal custody of him. Garnell was never enrolled in any school, and never came in contact with social services. He was truly flying under the radar.
The last confirmed sighting of Garnell was in August 2002, when he was seen by a different aunt, Trina Morton, playing outside Belinda Cash’s home. Trina arranged for Garnell to visit her the next weekend, but she went into labor and the visit was canceled. When she told Belinda Cash she wanted to reschedule it, Belinda said it was not a convenient time. No one ever saw Garnell Moore again.
According to Charley Project’s file:
His relatives did not realize Garnell had disappeared until June 2005, at which time they located Cash and asked where he was. Initially Cash said he was away on a school field trip to Virginia, but school was not in session at the time and in any case, Garnell was not an enrolled student.
Garnell’s family contacted police, who interviewed Cash. She stated she had no longer wanted to care for Garnell and so left him on the steps of a social services building in the 500 block of north Hilton Street near Edmondson Avenue in West Baltimore. In their investigation into Garnell’s disappearance, authorities discovered the address Cash gave is fictitious. Authorities searched the residence where she lived in 2002, to see if Garnell had been left behind there, but they found no evidence as to his whereabouts. She has no known history of child abuse, and no significant criminal record.
It is difficult to find a person who was almost invisible to begin with. The words “slipped between the cracks” don’t seem adequate to describe Garnell Moore’s situation–his family, the school system, child services, everyone who is supposed to ensure the well-being of a child seems to have been MIA. It seems hard to believe that something like this can happen in the United States of America, the richest country on Earth, in the 21st century. But it did.
The case of Garnell Moore is nothing less than an indictment of our society where disadvantaged children are concerned. When a child disappears in America, there needs to be immediate action. There need to be family members calling press conferences and law enforcement out there beating the bushes looking for them. None of this happened in Garnell Moore’s case. Now he’s been gone 11 years, more than a decade. I’m not confident this case will ever be solved. A little boy who no one seemed to pay attention to when he was around seems, sadly, to inspire the same sort of indifference now that he is not.
All missing persons cases are sad, but this one is particularly so.