Yasmin was 15 and a freshman honors student at Austin Polytechnic Academy when she disappeared Jan. 15, 2008. Tuesday was her 19th birthday.
Her family and clergy hope to use her birthday to re-ignite interest in the case and to highlight the eight robberies and sexual assaults West Side women have been the victims of since late August.
“We need the superintendent to send the right signal to the community. One, that the Chicago Police Department is staying vigilant in the Yasmin Acree case, and two, by making the recent rash of assaults on young West Side women a top priority,” said Rev. Marshall Hatch of New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church.
Hatch, the Rev. Ira Acree, Yasmin’s mother Rose Starnes and a host of relatives and friends met with Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s assistant, Officer Phillips, who assured them he would expedite a meeting with McCarthy.
“Our family still has no closure, and we will not rest until Yasmin is found. We need the police and all of Chicago to intensify their efforts to help us find her,” said the Rev. Acree, Yasmin’s cousin and pastor of Greater St. John Bible Church.
Acre said he hopes McCarthy has the same commitment to this case as the previous superintendent Jody Weis did.
“The inability to find Yasmin after so many years highlights the fact that there is a crisis when it comes to thousands of unsolved cases of missing African-American youth. We can find foreign terrorists in distant countries but not our own children locally. We need a shift in priorities. The family needs to know that this case is a priority with the new police superintendent,” said Rev. Cy Fields of the New Landmark Missionary Baptist Church and president of The Leaders Network.
“We need a real partnership with the superintendent and the police on the West Side,” said Rev. David Pope of the Brotherly Love Baptist Church.
“This is crucial if we expect to calm the existing fears on this side of town.”