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Richmond mother wonders where the national news coverage is for her missing daughter

Posted at 6:17 PM, Sep 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-25 13:01:37-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The death of Gabby Petito has garnered significant attention. However, it has also called into question why other missing person cases don't receive as much national attention from the public and the media. Petito, 22, went missing on a cross-country road trip with her fiancee and was later found dead.

Her story has grabbed the attention of both local and national news.

Toni Jacobs said that she's never had anything but help when it comes to local media. However, it's a different story when it comes to national coverage.

Her only daughter, KeeShae, disappeared on September 26, 2016.

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Five long years have gone by since KeeShae went missing. She's left wondering about the frenzy over Petito's disappearance.

"It's very similar. Their ages are similar, the situation is similar, but she gets more attention and KeeShae doesn't," Jacobs said.

Gabby was discovered dead on a Wyoming trail on September 19.

Her boyfriend, who is accused of using her debit card after her death, now has federal warrants out for his arrest.

KeeShae was last seen hanging out with a young man who rented a room at home on Broad Street in Church Hill in 2016.

Crime Insider sources said that droplets of KeeShae's blood were found on clothing inside the apartment. However, there are no arrests or charges as of now, though a male person of interest is in custody.

Police have confirmed that they suspect foul play in her disappearance.

Jacobs said that her heart goes out to the Petito family and she's happy that they at least have closure. However, she is still frustrated when it comes to the coverage of her daughter's disappearance.

She believes that a large part of why her daughter's story may not be getting the same coverage is due to race.

"In my heart, I do. There's nothing else you can tell me to prove different. I shouldn't have to act like an investigator in this situation and this shouldn't have to happen for KeeShae to get this coverage and I don't know what else. I'm appreciative of the people now sharing KeeShae's story, people are now realizing, hold on, she's right!" Jacobs said.

Jacobs said that she fielded several phone calls from national media outlets after Gabby's body was discovered.

She runs her own missing persons organization called the KeeShae Foundation.

Click here to see the list of missing people in the Virginia State Police database.