Proms. Graduations. Summer fun. First jobs. Self-discovery. That unforgettable first love.
These are the trappings of youth this time of year – which has become synonymous with “commencement,” another word for beginning.
It’s not supposed to be about death and disappearance. But for too many young people, it is. From drinking and driving and other car accidents, to boating and swimming and the summer heat, this heady time of year can be a real danger, particularly to unsuspecting and impetuous youth.
Then there’s the unexpected element of foul play.
Sadly enough Richmond County authorities now say the missing-person case of Augusta 16-year-old LaTania Janell Carwell, gone from view since April 17 – her 16th birthday – has become a case of suspected homicide. In possession of information they’ve yet to release, sheriff’s officials have switched gears from rescue to recovery – meaning they expect to find LaTania’s body instead of her.
“After conducting interviews on Friday with a subject connected to this investigation,” Sheriff Richard Roundtree said at a press conference Monday, “we no longer consider this a missing persons investigation – but we are now conducting an active homicide investigation.”
Her stepfather, Leon Lamar Tripp, and mother, Tanya Faye Tripp, are in custody after Mr. Tripp – who was the last one seen with young LaTania – was arrested in the Atlanta area for aggravated stalking and kidnapping. Mrs. Tripp was reportedly arrested for allegedly hindering the apprehension of a criminal suspect.
Authorities say they are confident those involved in LaTania’s alleged demise are in custody.
If true, then that reveals yet another danger – one from those closest to you.
However this shakes out, we pray whoever is responsible for LaTania’s disappearance – and possibly her murder – is brought to justice.
If the sheriff’s worst fears are realized, LaTania Carwell has been robbed of all the beautiful trappings of sweet sixteen – which is a high crime in itself.
Keep her in your prayers.