- A suspect in the rape and kidnapping of a black woman in Missouri will appear in court on January 10.
- Timothy Haslett Jr. is accused of keeping a black woman in his “dungeon-like” basement and repeatedly raping and whipping her.
- Now the families of other missing black women in Kansas City are questioning the disappearance of their loved ones.
As one of the first court dates for a rape and kidnapping suspect in Missouri nears, residents of Kansas City and neighboring Excelsior Springs wonder if any more victims will be discovered — and if any other missing black women will be among them.
Excelsior Springs authorities arrested Timothy Haslett Jr., 39, on Oct. 7 after a black woman claimed she escaped from a basement and sought help from her neighbors , alleging that Haslett raped, whipped and held her against her will for weeks. The woman escaped as Haslett dropped off her son at school. Police searched her home and discovered a “dungeon-like cell” in her basement, painted black and fitted with several “devices” to restrain the woman, according to the Washington Post.
Haslett was charged with first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault, court records show. The Post and the Kansas City Defender reported that Haslett was known to post racist content on Facebook and that he clashed with black soldiers during his military service in the early 2000s.
Haslett is scheduled to appear in court on January 10, 2023 for a preliminary hearing. His attorney did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
In recent months, Kansas City community activists and relatives of missing women have come forward on social media and in the news media, discussing their fears that a serial killer is targeting black women, in especially in the Prospect Avenue area.
Following Haslett’s arrest, some families of missing women demanded that Kansas City police investigate their disappearances. The Kansas City Police Department previously told Insider that it has received no reports of missing black women — or missing people in general — in the Prospect Avenue area.
“We base our investigations on reports made to our department,” the police department said in a statement. “In order to begin a missing persons investigation, someone should file a report with our department identifying the missing party.”
A local man named David Finnell told the Post that his half-sister Sirrena Truitt had been missing since June and had prompted the Kansas City Police Department to investigate Truitt’s disappearance.
“You could say that the girl who escaped from this house brought everything to the fore,” Finnell told the newspaper.
Another local, JoAnn Stovall, told the Kansas City Beacon that her 25-year-old granddaughter, Samone Jackson, went missing nearly two years ago and struggled to get the police department’s cooperation in the survey. Stovall said authorities spoke with Jackson’s boyfriend, who told them they had broken up and Jackson did not want to contact his family.
Stovall said police told him they had no obligation to track down an adult who did not want to be found and return him to his family against his will.
“They said she was fine. And so I don’t think they filed the missing report. It’s like they closed the books on her because they said she was fine” , Stovall told the Beacon.