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The Story of Jakiyah Mcclain: A Crime We Must Not Forget

"The world will never know her story because it's simple - she's black." 

Here's the story of a girl, who was loved , by everyone who knew her. A young black girl from Newark was raped and killed in the 90s. Despite being a tragedy that shook the community, her story didn't receive the same level of attention as other missing children. This is the story of Jakiyah McClain and the impact of her death.Jakiyah was raped and killed by Rasheed Muhammad at the young age of 8. Her life was cut short and her family was left to grieve and seek justice for her senseless death.

she could play at her best friend's house a block away, her mother said yes -- if she didn't stay too long. 

Jakiyah arrived at her friend's apartment between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. She asked Ah-Tavia's father if the two girls could play outside with one another. Mr. Maxey refused to give them permission and instead told them to go upstairs to the Maxey's apartment and ask Ah-Tavia's mother for permission.

While Jakiyah and Ah-Tavia were talking, defendant entered the apartment building. He volunteered to walk Jakiyah upstairs. He knew Jakiyah's mother. Ah-Tavia watched defendant take Jakiyah's hand and lead her upstairs. Ah-Tavia apparently remained on the ground floor. Shortly after, Ah-Tavia heard kicking, banging, and the sound of Jakiyah's screams.

When Jakiyah failed to return home that evening, her mother began to search for the child. After she was unable to locate Jakiyah, the mother at approximately 11:00 p.m. filed a missing person's report with the Newark Police Department. The next day, the police went to the apartment building where Jakiyah was last seen. They were told by the building superintendent that defendant had been given permission to stay in an abandoned apartment. When the police knocked on the door of the apartment, defendant answered and allowed them to enter. The police found Jakiyah's body, curled in a fetal position with her underpants around one ankle, under a pile of clothes in the bedroom closet. Ah-Tavia Maxey identified defendant as the man she saw the day before with Jakiyah.

Defendant was taken into custody. He gave a statement to the police in which he admitted to kidnapping, sexually assaulting, and murdering Jakiyah. An autopsy of the victim indicated that the cause of death was asphyxiation and that the victim was sexually assaulted.

"We never saw her again," her mother, Pamela McClain, 29, of Newark, said today as she tearfully described her daughter's abduction and killing on Saturday night. The suspect, Rasheed Muhammed, a 29-year-old homeless man, is a childhood friend of Ms. McClain's fiance. 

Jakiyah and Ahtavia Maxey, 9, walked to school and played together. Ahtavia could not have company unless her mother said it was O.K. and on Saturday about 5 P.M., when Jakiyah arrived at the Maxeys' first-floor apartment at 136 Hawthorne Avenue, Ahtavia's mother, NeshelleMaxey, was visiting a neighbor one floor up.The police said Jakiyah then saw Mr. Muhammed in the hallway, who offered to take her upstairs. "He took her by the hand and led her upstairs," said Lieut. Vincent Gagliano, commander of the Newark police homicide unit. "Ahtavia told us later she heard the victim crying and saying, 'Stop, stop.' She said she heard kicking or banging on a door." 

When Jakiyah had not returned home by 8:30 P.M., Ms. McClain started looking for her. She notified the police, who then began a search. And later Ahtavia told the police about the man she had seen. 

Detectives repeated Ahtavia's description to the building superintendent, who told them a homeless man fitting that description sometimes stayed in No. 14, a vacant third-floor apartment with no lock on the door.

When officers knocked on the door of No. 14, the suspect answered, Lieutenant Gagliano said. "They asked if this was his apartment, and he said no," the lieutenant said. "They found mattresses, crack vials, beer cans and old food. Garbage was thrown all over. A detective opened a bedroom closet and found large piles of soiled clothing. When he started sifting through the clothing, he felt a foot. When he moved the rest of the clothing, he found her." 

The girl had been smothered.

Lieutenant Gagliano said Mr. Muhammed was charged on Sunday with murder, sexual aggravated assault and kidnapping. 

Ms. McClain and her fiance, Paul Davis, had been planning a wedding in September. Now they are planning a funeral. 

"Jakiyah was like my daughter," Mr. Davis said. 

"She was only 8," Ms. McClain said. "She was a second-grade honor roll student. I'm just missing her smile."

The media has been known to give preferential treatment to missing blonde haired blue eyed children over missing black children. This bias in media coverage has contributed to the lack of awareness and attention put on missing black girls.Jakiyah McClain's story is a tragic reminder of the inequalities that exist in our society. We must continue to advocate for missing children and fight for justice for victims and their families. It's time to change the narrative and give a voice to the stories of black girls who are missing.


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