Although African-Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, we account for 33 percent of the missing in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s database. Cases involving African-Americans also tend to receive less media coverage than missing Whites, with missing men of color getting even less attention.
NewsOne has partnered with the Black and Missing Foundation to focus on the crisis of missing African-Americans.
To be a part of the solution, NewsOne will profile missing persons and provide tips about how to keep your loved ones safe and what to do if someone goes missing.
Case Type: Endangered
Date of Birth: Jan. 1, 1985
Missing Date: Jan. 14, 2016
Age Now: 31
Missing City: New York
Missing State: New York
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: Medium
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No
Location Last Seen: Shields was last seen at LaGuardia Airport, where she had just finished speaking to her supervisor.
Circumstances of Disappearance: Shields’ father Christopher Shields, 60, said it’s unclear if his daughter had quit her job, but that she left her flight attendant gear in her supervisor’s office and then left.
“Her supervisor asked was she OK. She wasn’t quite herself. It seemed like something was bothering her,” said Shields. But by the time the supervisor went to look for her, Sierra was gone.
Shields said his daughter Sierra is a graduate of Rochester College in Rochester Hills, Michigan. She has lived in New York for four years and worked for a company that supplied flight attendants for Delta and United.
Shields said his daughter didn’t want a desk job after college.
“She would always say: ‘I don’t want a desk job. I’ll go crazy behind a desk.’ Someone told her you should look into being a flight attendant and she did. She loved being in New York,” said Shields.
Sierra was also taking online classes at her alma mater to get a master’s degree in ministry. She was worried about being able to take classes and handle a full-time job, but her family encouraged her to follow her dreams.
“Everyone who knew her was affected by her positive outlook. She had a heart for those who were hurting and were in the pain. Which is why she wanted to do something in ministry,” said Shields.
Shields said his daughter, the second youngest of five kids, visited her family in the suburbs of Chicago for Christmas. “She seemed very fine,” said Shields.
But the week she went missing, Sierra’s roommates said she didn’t quite seem like herself.
“This is just one of those things where you go, what’s going on?” said Shields.
Sierra’s family has organized a Facebook page and are taking efforts with police to locate her. Police are scouring surveillance camera footage to see if they can find out what happened to Sierra after she left her supervisor’s office.
“This is out of character for her. This is not the norm,” said Shields. “She was always a joy to be around. When Sierra came around, she had an infectious laugh. She made you feel loved. I have been so humbled by the way so many people have said that Sierra made you feel accepted.”
Sierra’s family is trying to remain positive that she will be found and have a message for her.
“My sweet Sierra, there is no pain that is greater than the love that we have for you and the love that others have for you and we just want you to come home again,” said Shields. “We want you to come home because we love you.”
Last Seen Wearing: A navy-blue dress.
Identifying Marks or Characteristics: Unknown.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts or circumstances of disappearance for Sierra Shields may contact the New York City Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.