Keyla Contreras, age 19, went missing from the East Harlem (aka Spanish Harlem) neighborhood of Manhattan, New York on January 12, 2012.
She is deaf, and non-verbal. She was last seen at 7am leaving her building at 2390 2nd Ave, and never returned.
I really, really, really wish I had more to say about this case – any clue as to whether she would have left voluntarily, or if she was more likely the victim of a crime. There’s just nothing there.
No website for her, no queries from family or friends, no DNA or dentals entered in NamUs. The Village Voice newspaper made an attempt at generating some publicity for her just after her disappearance occurred, but some very insensitive readers apparently thought the comments section of the article was an appropriate platform to bash the author, over her use of the term “deaf-mute”. This, of course, led to a heated debate, which led to name calling and profanity, but very little concern for Keyla.
This is disturbing to me. Being deaf and non-verbal makes one vulnerable to a number of crimes, and I don’t see much evidence that anyone cares. I’m sure people *do* care, but I’m trying to see the internet from Keyla’s perspective, assuming she is alive and well, and browsing the web herself. I’d want her to see that someone cares.
This isn’t the typical sort of case that I write about, most are not nearly as recent and most have more details that I can ‘run with’, but sometimes the lack of publicity compels me to write.
The below article isn’t about Keyla, but is about the neighborhood where she lived. I am going to contact this magazine and see if they will run a (hopefully more detailed) story on Keyla. It’s all I can think of to do. If anyone would like to join me in this attempt, their email is firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rise in East Harlem Sex Crimes Prompts Safety Campaign (harlemworldmag.com)
Village Voice (Tip: Don’t bother reading the comments section)