Someone is reported missing every 20 seconds in the United Kingdom, hundreds every week, more than 150,000 every year. The longer a person stays missing, the chance of survival gets slimmer.
In an ideal world, every missing person should receive intense media coverage by the press and profound investigative efforts by the authorities and the public. In reality, however, only a mere fraction get news coverage.
Keen observers often hypothesize that missing individuals with specific characteristics are more likely to garner media attention, namely white women or girls from middle or upper-class families.
Missing people without those traits are often considered second-grade cases down in the priority list.
Even in the first-grade group, there is a disparity in reporting. The case of Hannah Williams, whose body was discovered in March 2002, was a prime example of that kind of disproportionate attention.
She went missing a year earlier, but everyone seemed to focus on the disappearances of two other girls, both from middle-class families.
Even when her body was found and her identity confirmed, many still thought she was one of the other two girls.
10 /10 Little Coverage
When Kent police discovered a badly decomposed body of a young girl on March 15, 2002, news coverage all across South East England, and the rest of the country for that matter, somehow was reluctant to mention the name Hannah Williams because every single one of them initially thought the girl was Danielle Jones.
She had gone missing in June 2001. It was pretty appalling, given the police had already released images of the clothing that matched the description of what Hannah was wearing the day she disappeared.
The final DNA check confirmed she wasn’t who everyone reckoned to be.
9 /10 Missing Posters Delay
The last time Hannah was seen alive in public was on April 21, 2001. Hours before her disappearance, she told her mother Bernadette that she was going to the market for window shopping.
Hannah didn’t have a lot of money, but she loved to see the long line of clothing display from the street.
That day she was wearing a glittery T-shirt under a denim jacket, flared trousers, and high-heeled boots.
She failed to return home that day, and the police were called. Then someone told the police Hannah had been sighted, delaying the launch of the official missing person poster.