WINBORNE WILL ‘NEVER GIVE UP’ FOR ANSWERS TO DAUGHTER’S DISAPPEARANCE
Shaquita Bell Has Been Missing for Eleven Years
In her new role as Washington D.C.’s top cop, Metropolitan Police Chief, Cathy L. Lanier, has already demonstrated her degree of responsiveness to crime victims and survivors. When Jackie Winborne
was on television talking about the plight of her daughter, Shaquita Bell, who suddenly disappeared and has been missing in the D. C. region since
1996, she stated she wished she could meet Chief Lanier.
“If I could only l could meet with Chief Lanier
, it would be a blessing for our case. She seems to have such compassion.”
Lanier who saw this on television, immediately contacted Ms. Winborne and the two met. Lanier assured Ms. Winborne
that the case may be cold and old but it is not forgotten.
Chief Cathy L. Lanier
The saga began eleven years ago on June 27, 1996, when Shaquita Bell got into a car and drove off with an identified male known to Ms. Winborne
and Shaquita, never to be seen again.
immediately began circulating fliers that were generously donated by local businesses including Office Depot and Staples. She was extremely concerned about her daughter’s welfare because Ms. Winborne recalled seeing dark circles under her daughter’s eye and noted she saw sadness in her face. It was apparent that Shaquita
had been abused.
“She would never tell me that,” says Ms. Winborne. “She wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings.”
However, she knows her daughter was the previous victim of an assault by the same identified male in
A friend of the same identified male said that Shaquita had been killed and that her body was rolled in
a blanket and buried in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Before he could testify about this before a Grand Jury, he was killed.
ordered her officers and detectives to return to a site in Prince George’s County where it was thought that Shaquita might be buried. Detective Jim Trainum arranged for an array of equipment that was brought to the location as well as helicopters, cadaver dogs, and even an expert
Forensic Anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution. After 3 days of digging and searching, no new clues were uncovered, and Shaquita’s
body was not found.
“Not knowing is the worst,” says DetectiveTrainum. He continues, “The problem with these cases
is they fall through the cracks. They’re not quite a homicide but they are missing.”
“It is important for police chiefs to reach out to survivors,” asserts Ms. Winborne,
who now maintains weekly contact with Chief Lanier.
“Communication is everything. Communication has to always be open. Talk with police as much as
you can. Fight for what you think is right, and don’t give up until is is solved,” she says.
Ms. Winborne and Chief Lanier
maintain weekly contact, and they both have a mutual respect for one another. “Jackie has shown tremendous grace under the circumstances,” says Lanier
. “She is one of the finest human beings I have ever met.”
displays an inspirational degree of hope and steadfast faith that she will receive answers to the suspicious circumstances surrounding her daughter’s disappearance. Though the
absence of their mother has been difficult on the children, they have been surrounded by loving and supportive family members throughout this unrelenting ordeal. Ms. Winborne
acknowledges the hardest days for her to get through are Shaquita’s birthday and Christmas, and she reveals she manages to go on with her life through prayer.
“I read the Bible a lot,” she says. Acknowledging she does experience some bad days along the way, she sums up the situation and says, “I’ll never give up until I find out what happened to her. I couldn’t
She proffers similar advice for law enforcement and says, “Don’t give up until it is solved.” And, Chief Lanier
is doing just that. “I’m here until we solve this case,” she told Ms. Winborne. Meanwhile, time marches on.
Copyright © 2007 Karen L. Bune
***Karen L. Bune is employed as a Victim Specialist in the State’s Attorney’s Office for Prince George’s County, Maryland. She is an
Adjunct Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and at Marymount University in Arlington, Va. Ms. Bune is a Board Certified Expert in
Traumatic Stress and a Diplomate of the Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. She is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant, and she appears in the 2007 edition of “Marquis Who’s
Who in the World.” She received the 2007 Notable Alumni Award from the Dept. of Public Affairs, American University, Washington, D. C. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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