February 12th, 2009
09:35 AM ET

Little boys go missing too

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/12/art.split.missingboy.jpg caption="Adji Desir, 7, disappeared on January 20 in Immokalee, Florida."]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

By now, you have heard or read about the disappearance of Haleigh Cummings. How the five-year-old girl was likely abducted from her Florida home is being covered by media-outlets (including CNN) on tv, the web and in print. Haleigh’s face is featured on cable programs and talk shows. I suspect we will see much more of this disturbing case for some time to come.

Haleigh’s family hopes and prays she will be found safe. We all do. We should also be mindful that there are other missing children across the country. Their parents are longing for answers. Like Haleigh, their sons and daughters vanished without a trace. But there is a difference: their stories are rarely told.

Adji Desir is one of those children. And this is his story. On January 20th, the 7-year-old went outside his grandmother’s house in Immokalee, Florida. He was going to play with other kids in the neighborhood. But Adji never returned home. He was last seen at around 5:30 in the afternoon.

The F.B.I. has classified Adji as a missing person. On the agency’s web site, it says he has special needs, limited vocabulary and speaks on the level of a two-year-old child. He apparently only understands Creole.

Take a look at the two pictures of Adji. Maybe you recognize him. If you have any information, contact the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 239-793-9300. Or call the F.B.I.’s hotline, 866-838-1153.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. maino

    I wouldnt say CNN or Nancy Grace dont care about boys but they dont report on the missing black kids like they do white. on thing we hear about mostly is when things are going wrong or a black kid ( Gena 6) has harmed white kids

    February 12, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  2. Jane

    February 12th, 2009 4:24 pm ET

    "Do you notice that this little boy’s name isn’t even in the headlines?"

    Yes, TexasBelle, I certainly did, and yet people still claim coverage for missing children is equal. Whatever! I pray this little boy is safe and is returned to his home and soon.

    February 12, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  3. Kristin Byrd

    I would like to say that yes everychild deserves the attention that little Caylee and the new little girls is getting, but like the lady said this little boys information was televised on Nancy Grace for several nights in a row and then kinda came to a standing point and no new info has been released. So as long as we have the Nancy Grace show and cnn i think that all these children will have their time to shine.

    February 12, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  4. Ariel

    It makes me wonder why the parents of some of these children aren't doing as much as others to put their story in the media. If I had a child go missing I wouldn't sit idly by and wait for their safe return. These parents should do as much as they possibly can to get people to listen to their stories.

    February 12, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  5. TexasBelle

    Do you notice that this little boy's name isn't even in the headlines?

    February 12, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  6. Va girl

    You know, I have watched Nancy Grace for some time now. At times she irrates me and other times, she really wows me. But I have to say she really does seem to make an effort to show missing people no matter what race or sex or age. She can't spend her whole show on missing people, that would be a different kind of show, but she does give coverage to many all "types" of persons that are missing. I think the reason she has focused so much on Casey Anthony is because it's just bizzarre, the whole thing and it just continues with Lee Anthony's coded message at the memorial and her mom talking directly to Casey during the memorial when Casey didn't want the memorial, didn't ask to watch the memorial and obviously tried to "rat out" her parents' decision to cremate Caylee before it was offically announced. I stay interested in this case because this case really has shown a family dynamic that is bizzarre and also very sad at the same time. I stayed tuned to see if by the grace of God Casey or her parents will recognize truth and do the right thing. If those of you that want to just get on your soap box to say that race, sex and cuteness are the standards for reporting missing persons, then you do something. Start a webpage, write the papers, write the media. Complaining here won't change a thing.

    February 12, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  7. NativeStar720

    While watching the news this morning I learned about the case of the missing 5 year old in Florida. What is so ironic and unfair is how the media brings immediately to the public's attention a child abduction if it is a white child. There is a spontaneous uproar and media outrage about the whole event. More than 40% of the missing children in this country are African American. Every forty seconds a child is abducted. Why is it you only see on the news when one of these children happens to be white?

    We as a society should have the same passion and concern for all of our missing children and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law the perpetrators of these abductions. I understand that the area in which this child was abducted there are 45 known sex offenders within a five mile radius. That fact in itself shows something is wrong with law enforcement not to have done something prior to this happening. You don't wait until the milk spills to wipe it up. You prevent the milk from being spilled.

    February 12, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  8. Asia

    the difference is the children's racial back ground and area they live in a little boy or girl who live in hood that are Latino or black don't make the news

    February 12, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  9. Tom

    It seems absolutely obvious to me that the media plays up missing white female children and teenagers because the primary viewership for this kind of story is white middle-class suburban female mothers 18-34. There is little the cable channels love more than a Natalee Holloway or a Caylee Anthony, because their white female audience responds so passionately. Think of the newsgathering resources diverted from genuinely important stories to support more Caylee Anthony live shots. Meanwhile youngsters of color, male and female, go missing just as frequently, but never make the national headlines because of the cynical calculus that the story won't sell as well. Call it racist, call it business judgment, but it's demonstrable fact.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  10. citizenjoe

    Women and children are not safe in this country. Domestic violence, child abuse, pedophilia, rape, child abductions, etc. is at epidemic proportions. These crimes require better laws and tougher sentences. Drugs, weapons and human trafficking are the big money makers globally. Our prison systems are overcrowded and law enforcement agencies are cutting staff and some governments are freeing prisoners early from overcrowded prisons. Crimes against children should be punishable by life. And if our prisons are overcrowded, then we need to actually put to death those who have been sitting on death row for decades and invest more into law enforcement and prisons instead of bailing out Wall Street and the auto rich tycoons. Stories of missing children should top news media stories the world over, daily so that the story of every missing child in the country is told on every news report in every city in every State in our nation. When people get sick of seeing these reports daily taking up their time, maybe they will finally get outraged about these crimes and march against our lawmakers into doing something about these criminals who target children and women. I get outraged every time I hear of a child missing....or of child abuse or domestic violence or rape. How can we stop this madness? Please start by getting involved-write legislators, get involved in your community and join the search parties, hand out fliers, contact the media, volunteer at shelters, and above all, protect ALL children! If you have suspicions or concerns about the safety of a child, please report it to your local authorities.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  11. Katrina

    I'm so sorry for his family. The article was right about there not being a lot of coverage for some cases. I live in Mississippi and I've only seen this case posted a couple of times. It's really a shame that certain kidnap cases get more coverage than others. Do anyone remember when Bill Cosby's son was missing? Well a child was abducted at the during the same time and she only got a little coverage because everyone was interested in the Cosby case. It's a shame how some cases are treated. Just think, if Caylee was an African-American or Hispanic she wouldn't have gotten this much coverage. It doesn't matter that this article was posted a couple of times because now the news media have moved on to another child and Adji is put on the back and now the only the people he knew remembers him. Now the Haleigh case will be feature for the next couple of months but Adji only lasted for a week or 2.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  12. a mom

    I had not heard about Adji, either. It's a shame more air time can't be made for all missing children, even if a parent is suspected–it's the children who need our help.

    I will say that I doubted for years there was racism in the media regarding children until the incident of the coed in Aruba. All the news media, even now when something new comes up, mentions her. Yet about the same time that she disappeared, a little boy disappeared from Alexandria, Virginia, and nothing was in the news about him. His picture and info were posted at the end of the show "Without a Trace." Yet, no local news media spent any time mentioning him when he disappeared. It was later posted on the news, and it was said that it was considered a "legitimate" abduction (i.e., not via a family member). Then it should have been posted as soon as that little boy disappeared, and maybe he would have been found.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  13. Val Dowd

    Thank you for showing this little boy and reminding us of the fact that there are other missing children out there. Maybe Nancy Grace could spend some more time on these children and less time jamming Caylee's mother down our throats.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  14. Just a comment

    I think Caylee stayed in the news constantly because they knew who did it, but just couldn't prove it.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  15. Denise Walker

    This case was just as enduring as the Caylee and Haleigh case that has been in recent news...I can witness that Adji's case has been aired numerous times on Nangy Grace beucase I have watched it every time. They also were investigating 20 something sexual predators in the close area. The search expanded into a bigger ground coverage but still no signs yet. This child has a disabilty along with speaking only Creole...so this is a hard one to crack...Shame on those that turn this into a racial situation becuase no matter if Adji has blue eyes or not...he is still just as important. I have saw several recaps and the tip line offered but there hasn't been any leads or "juicy media" to report. This is still an ongoing investigation and his family is in my prayers along with all the other missing children!

    February 12, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  16. Blonde

    He WAS on the news, Nancy Grace, and CNN Crime!

    Everything in this world is not Black & White like you are portraying it.

    I care deeply for this child and pray they find him. I cried when i heard the story!

    Why didn't you just cover the story MORE? Instead of just pulling the stupid race card? People like you keep race hate alive and kicking

    February 12, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  17. TexasBelle

    I personally can't stand Nancy Grace, although I appreciate her attention to these subjects. I am, however, an avid CNN viewer/reader/listener, and I don't remember a thing about Adji's story. I even keep up with the crimes page on CNN.com. So that makes me think that Nancy Grace is one of the few that reports all of the news regarding child abduction, with a little too much personal bias for my taste, but hey, she's reporting it.

    I think it's true that there is a bias toward adorable little white girls. Watching mainstream news would have people believe that they're the only ones who are abducted in this country. Caylee, Haleigh, the Rockafeller girl, Elizabeth Smart. Can you name one non-white child who's disappearance created that much buzz??

    February 12, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  18. Mike Nike

    Yes i notice this too, that its always young white girls who get the time on TV. Never the boys or other races.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  19. Carol Salerno

    Once a predator, always a predator. My money is on a sexual predator as the perpetrator of the abduction.
    Why aren't the laws more punitive toward a predator? I suppose it has to do with the civil liberties that they supposedly are supposed to have. Well, as a psychiatric nurse I can tell you those liberties give them permission to "do harm" and it seems the law has no power to stop them from their "liberties." One day when a really big attorney's child is abducted and the "civil liberties" folks get their fill of defending the criminals, we will all be safer – especially the innocent children.
    A prayer is needed for the harmed and those who try to help the desperate parents.
    New, real laws need to be enacted and enforced to make any difference.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  20. Jimmy

    Anderson, why is it that no news outlet has reported on the Foxnews producer Aaron Bruns for being arrested yesterday for being caught with child pornography? (for the 2nd time!) Im pretty sure that if it were an athlete or a police officer it would be on every newspage. Is there a cover-up because he is the media?

    February 12, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  21. Sandra

    What AC has brought up reminds me of a Family Guy episode a few years back. In the show, two news anchors speak many details about a missing child. When they finally reach the part of the report that said the kid wasn't a white girl, they stop, throw the paper away, and say something (I can't remember) to the effect of "oh well".

    I remember being so glad that SOMEONE had the guts to publicly point our country's sorry state out, even if it was in a cartoon. Hopefully the media becomes more balanced in its coverage.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  22. Patsy

    This is a sad world, but we all need to join together to make it a beter one for our children. They are so innocent and need our protection. I am a grandmother of 4 grandchildren ages 7 to 20. I worry about them all of the time. This is not the way the world should be. There should NOT be 44 pedifiles in a 5 mile radius. Leave them where they belong; in jail. How sad that a child is only playing in his yard or sleeping in his bed and then disappear. This is unforgiveable and occurs more and more everyday.
    God Bless these children and let's all pray the missing ones are safe and will be coming home and for the ones less fortunate God Bless them as well that they went through "hell" and then died. This world must get better. Please parents, "Watch your children; do NOT let them out of your site:

    February 12, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  23. JP

    There is no rehabilitation for these predators. They need to be shunned from society completely.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  24. Diane

    Mandatory death sentence for convicted sex offenders. Now.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  25. ashlee

    i hope they find the kid soon and that the family will be ok untill the kid returnes soon

    February 12, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  26. Christine

    Here is some food for thought.........
    When a white child goes missing it is usually the parents that are involved.
    When a black or mexican child is missing it always turns out that they are abducted by a non family member.
    The white child will get more publicity because their story is news. When a child is murdered by their parents it makes national news. Look at the case of Caylee Anthony, Andrea Yates, the lady that cut her daughters arms off in San Antonio, Texas, the women that drove her car into the lake while her 2 young boys were strapped in their car seats, and the women that stabbed her two boys in Texas. All those made national news and guess what.....THEY ARE WHITE!!!!!!!!

    February 12, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  27. patrick

    it's a small wonder that Florida has the highest number of sex offenders. it's quite possibly the trashiest, poorest, dumbest, most uncivilized place i've ever visited. i do hope these children go home to their parents (or if their folks are the culprits, then off to good homes) and then we can begin to dig a canal that will officially make Florida an island, wherein all the filth of the other 49 states can be shipped in to mingle comfortably with the millions of trashy folk who already live there. just writing this brings back memories of the fetid decay that permeates the palmetto bug state.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  28. Janet

    The point is a child was taken! The fact that he was outside without any adult supervision when he should have been is besides the point; it still doesn't give anyone the right to abduct a child!

    February 12, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  29. erica

    I could not agree more with Paula who wrote at 12:09. People know how bad the workd is getting. We see stuff on the news everynight about killings, kids missing ect. You should be a little smarter than to let your kids outside by themselves. Yes, I agree its sad that we have to do that now. If people would pay more attention to their children instead of just pushing them out of the way to go play so they can clean, take care of things around the house or to just watch tv, we wouldn't see all these missing children. PARENTS should be more careful and provide a safe place for their children. People take to much for granted now days and think it will never happen to them. WAKE UP times have changed.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  30. Reese

    I think Nancy Grace does a great job of bringing cases like Adji's into the light! However I don't believe this is a racial issue, If it were my decision we would hear these cases all the time and try to get as much media coverage as possible for every missing person. But it's not anyone's decision except the media. Blame them and stop making this everyone's problem. Hey, maybe write a letter!

    February 12, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  31. Steve

    I am a first grade teacher. I have developed an aggressive "Away From Home" safety plan and written a book to go with it. I teach it to all of my first graders, and believe me, it covers exactly what a child should do if he/she is in an emergency when not at home. I personally copy my book and use it in my classroom. My program would be exactly what would help Adji right now. I wish someone would take a serious look at my program and help me get it into every child's hands.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  32. ParentsNeed2StepUp!

    HELLO! Yes, there are sickos and perverts roaming our streets. We see the thousands of abductions and child murders every year.
    I understand our children need to learn independence and and we shouldn't "smother" them. But with all the sickos we as parents KNOW are out there.....why are we still allowing our children to walk the streets alone???

    It's up to PARENTS to PROTECT their children as much as humanly possible! That means, DON'T let them walk to a friend's house alone, DON'T let them play at the park alone, DON'T let them play outside alone, etc etc.

    No parent deserves to lose a child....but COME ONE!!! STOP LEAVING THESE KIDS ALONE!!!!!!!!!

    February 12, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  33. Sylvia from Canada

    It makes me sick to the stomach to see how much attention Casey Anthony is getting for murdering her own little girl. Caylee is now at rest and nothing will bring her back. I have stopped watching Nancy Grace's show because i cannot bear to see the smirk on this vile mother Casey's face while talking to her lawyer Baez.. All the attention – and then the Memorial Service coverage – the parents of Casey making a desperate effort to humanize their monster daughter. I hope this does not sway the Courts. PLEASE Nancy - ENOUGH OF CASEY and her VILENESS. STOP!! - and give coverage to all other missing children - and to parents who have genuinely lost their children, and not killed them and blamed it some other poor innocent person.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  34. Lois

    No one is "playing the race card." It's a stone cold fact that minorities are not given the same attention when it comes to kidnappings and missing people as cute, white females. I, like another commenter, read the news several times a day every single day. I've never heard of Adj. Nor have I heard of: Rilya Wilson, the Bradley girls, Jacob Wetterling, Brian Shaeffer, Connie Smith, Michael Hughes, Christine Carter, Yu Chin Goodson, etc.

    They simply did not get the same media coverage as Caylee, Jon Benet, Haeleigh, Polly, Natalie and all the other cute, white females.

    I am a white female and I can see a distinct difference in the amount of coverage given to missing people solely based on race and/or ethnicity.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  35. mj

    I think that the information should get out there about this little boy. Look at all the attention that Caylee Anthony got. SO whats the different now. Everyone in the world made the Anthony case out because why? It doesn't matter a child is a child and they need to be found. This little boy maybe scared and can't tell anyone his name or anything. Lets just pray that he is returned. The little girl i hope they find her soon too. BOth of these children are scared and want to come home so lets put as much effort into finding them as the world did to find Caylee Anthony.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  36. susanwsiegal

    I can not understand why this child has not been found. He has been gone way too long. People in the area need to get off their butts and turn over every stone, dig through every blade of grass, sift through all grains of sands and drag through the wet areas and the water. Adji is out there! Haleigh is also out there! GET THE ENTIRE COUNTY OUT THERE AND FIND THESE CHILDREN!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  37. Bob

    It is pretty clear that the point of this presentation by AC is to demonstrate the media's racism – more power to you! People who molest/abuse children in my mind have abandoned membership in society. Put them away forever, put a bullet in them, put them on a desert island....but for heaven's sake, don't let them back in the community under any circumstance! This ridiculous "sex offender" notification program only raises anxiety in parents like me and does nothing to prevent the continued exploitation of the innocent.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  38. knarahs

    The first week Adji went missing there were THOUSANDS of articles about him and his plight on the web. Apparently, you weren't looking in the right place. Now, horribly, another child has gone missing. Rather than making false accusations, how about doing something CONSTRUCTIVE to help find the children, and STOP these snatchings from happening in the first place.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  39. anita nail

    we need tougher laws againt sex offenders, they need to be locked up for life, our politicians need to make this possible

    February 12, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  40. Beulah

    Caylee and Casey Anthony made the news and stayed in the news because they were beautiful. We as viewers are just as guilty as the media because we can't get enough of it. Beauty sells and American's eat it up. From models to murderers, attractive people make great headline news.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  41. Deb I Illinois

    Shame on you people for your ill informed and meanhearted comments. The little boy was the subject of a massive search and to be honest, it is still possible that he wandered further away than a child so handicapped should have been allowed to go. Each case has to be treated individually. The Anthony case took on added life because the mom involved kept the story alive with lie after lie. Yes to everybody else who said it–we need to keep child predators and abusers locked up, period.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  42. Sandy

    We need to find these beautiful children!!! This is unspeakable to me!!!!

    How is watching our angels!!!???

    February 12, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  43. for the death penalty

    I don't think child molesters should get life in prison, they should get the death penalty! Time and time again it is proven they are not capable of changing, they cannot be rehabilitated. Child molesters always do it again when they are let go and many times escalate to killing their victims. Their sole purpose in life is satisfying that sick, twisted urge! The death penalty is the only answer.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  44. Sara

    We all know what a sad and unbalanced world we live in. Yes it is true that there are lots of missing children that don't receive media coverage or attention for various reasons. I am certain that there is something that concerned citizens such as ourselves can do about it. Most news channels are online and accept viewer input. If enough people express their desire to see more information about certain cases then they listen. Yes, there are certain sensational cases that garner national attention and echo in our minds throughout the day, however hearing about Adji, and learning about his case is helping to get the word out to look for him. It takes concerned citizens bringing action forward on the lowest to highest level to resolve this oversight, whether is it intentional due to socio-economic factors, ie: race, education of parents, income level or gender (which I have noticed also plays a roll in this), or unintenional due to the lack of concern of the general public. We here commenting and those here reading can do what we can to get the word out. If this happens in your town or neighborhood, volunteer, get the local media involved, help. The only way these things are resolved is if people look. The more attention to the cause, the more people looking, the better it is for any missing child.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  45. Disgusted

    It disturbs me that people can't see this story through tinted glasses. This is THE FIRST I've HEARD OR SEEN ON THIS MISSING AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILD. Even if there isn't any new info; what makes this case less important than HALIEGH?

    February 12, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  46. Charity

    There are a huge amount of sexual offenders in Florida. I grew up there as a child and went to public schools. We had school wide awareness talks at least once a month the problems were so bad, and this was in a wealthy school district!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  47. Kathy

    I agree with Mermaid. I think that the media coverage that an abduction or disappearance receives is all a consideration of the sensationalism involved. I'm not saying that the media doesn't care about all children that are missing. But I do believe that they highlight this sort of thing by what will keep the American people enthralled. It is not so easy to make an abduction continue to give the public chills when a child went out to play and never came back as it is when a child is taken from their bed, or they were killed by the family member(s) who are supposed to protect them.

    Maybe, if the American people would stop requiring sensationalism in order to get involved, then the media would give equal attention to all missing children!!

    Like everyone else, I hope that all of the children that are missing come home alive and well, but we know that is a rare occurrence. If you live in the area of a missing child, help with the search. Even if you don't live in the same area that a child disappears, you can keep a lookout for things that don't seem right around you. Many abductors take children far away from their home if murder is not on their agenda.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  48. Tracy

    Some have said Adji's has been all over the news... I don't think it has near the attention of Haleigh's. I read the news everyday, everyday and I don't remember any story about Adji.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  49. Ella

    The Haleigh case is getting more coverage because it's more likely a true abduction. The little boy (who has special needs) went outside to play and may have wandered off. Who lets a special needs kid out to play unattended? On top of that, he doesn't speak English and is unable to tell someone who he is or where he lives. Neglectful caregivers.....Stop making waves by playing the race card.....

    February 12, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  50. Judy

    just one missing child is too many and we can't stop looking until each is found. however, when the media, or certain reporters in the media try so hard to turn a missing child article into a "black or white" issue, that's what really makes me sick. it doesn't matter if the child is black, white, red, yellow or pink with orange spots, each child is precious and the focus must remain on the children themselves.

    Sex preditors must be taken out of society permanently. No ankle monitors, no house arrest. Special prisons just for preditors where they remain till death do us part............

    February 12, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
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