DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — On Wednesday, a nightmare became reality.
“It really pierced my soul,” said Des Moines community activist Rob Johnson.
After missing since July 10, the confirmation that 10-year-old Davenport girl Breasia Terrell had been found dead was heartbreaking.
“It is pretty devastating for the entire community that unfortunately this could not have the type of ending that we had all hoped for,” said Iowa Democratic Black Caucus Chair Al Womble.
Johnson has been in constant contact with Breasia’s family but says you didn’t have to know Breasia to feel invested in her disappearance.
“Anybody with a baby girl. Anybody with a child felt that. Because no parent, no family member ever wants that to happen,” Johnson said.
Soon after Breasia went missing, Womble poured his heart and soul into the search effort organizing search parties of hundreds of people.
“Searching literally all day long in and out of ditches, valleys gullies, wherever. We would be walking for miles. If help needs to happen for someone in our communities we need to be there. We need to go there no matter how far away it is,” Womble said.
Sadly Breasia’s story is not uncommon. The U.S. Marshals office says there are over 100 missing juveniles in Iowa. A new program launched in October called “Operation Homecoming” has located 21 Iowa juveniles in 9 different states and recovered 7 children.
“We have so many missing children right now and this is one of the worst nightmares of a parent,” said Johnson.
Knowing her family can finally lay their girl to rest can help some move forward but Johnson and Womble hope the Iowa community does not move on until justice is served.
Johnson said, “This is now a homicide. This baby girl was murdered. She was killed and somebody has to be able to answer for that.”
Answers that won’t bring Breasia back but may help another family from a similar fate.
“This is an opportunity. This is a wake-up call for us all. Hug your families a little bit closer tonight,” said Johnson.