Tony Herbert Assists Return of Missing 11-year-old Girl
Sahara Boyd, age 11, went missing from her Bronx home on Tuesday, September 14. She had been gone for a week. Dawud McKelvin, age 30, was arrested for sending Sahara obscene pictures to her grandmother’s cell phone while Sahara was missing. Community activist Tony Herbert stepped forward to assist the family’s request that Sahara be returned home. Sahara was found in Brooklyn near Chauncey and Broadway on Monday.Herbert got involved with Sahara’s plight when he got a phone call from a member of one of the SUV clubs in the Bronx who had read published reports (including Our Time Press) of Herbert’s work helping to return missing young girls to their home. The Dough Boys SUV Club President printed out the articles, took them to Sahara’s family, who in turn, called Herbert. Herbert went to the family and guided them through the process of organizing a community vigil. They then put alerts on MySpace and Facebook and circulated a Blackberry Messenger chain letter. (No Amber Alert had been issued.) People began to tell where they had seen Sahara. Herbert, the family and concerned community members in the Bronx went to the location where Sahara had been seen – 2250 Pelham Parkway. Ironically, the area where Sahara was seen was the same area McKelvin’s family lived. Sahara was placed under the supervision of ACS when a neighbor had a conflict with Sahara’s grandmother. Vindictively, this neighbor made a false report that drugs were being sold from the grandmother’s home and that children were being abused there. The grandmother was custodial caretaker of her daughter’s three children, including Sahara. Herbert said after the Nixmary Brown situation, ACS is not taking chances. The grandmother was arrested, and removed Sahara until they conducted an investigation. Sahara was placed into a foster home, where she came into contact with McKelvin. While in foster care, Sahara ran away to be with McKelvin. She came back, then ran away again. After McKelvin was arrested, Sahara was seen with him again in the same development. She was also seen walking around with another adult male in the Pelham Parkway Houses. Herbert and the family flooded the complex with posters. After walking through with a bullhorn calling for the return of Sahara, more people stepped forward to say they had just seen her. They walked around the community following the trail to 955 Waring Ave., where McKelvin’s family lives. At 1 am, Sahara called her grandmother saying she was in Brooklyn near Chauncey and Broadway, a known street prostitution location. The grandmother called detectives who arrived while the grandmother was on the phone with Sahara. The detectives directed the grandmother to coax Sahara outside so that she could identify where she was. Sahara could not pronounce the street names, but was able to spell them. Sahara was instructed to get in a cab, they would pay for it. She was taken to a location where she was safely placed into police custody. Sahara was taken to the hospital for a medical evaluation, and is now back in foster care. Three adult males have been arrested in connection with Sahara. Herbert began working with families of missing young girls two years ago when his developmentally disabled 21-year-old niece was held against her will for five days in Brownsville by a Bloods gang member. The older male manipulated her and took her money. Through a series of events, Herbert’s family worked with NYPD and tracked the location where his niece was being held across the street from the Howard Houses on Mother Gaston Blvd. Herbert said adult males manipulate young girls into thinking the male is her boyfriend while planning to groom the girl in preparation to having her strip and have sex with other males for money. Herbert got wind that that was the plan for his niece. From that experience, Herbert decided to challenge the targeting of young girls by adult males and be an advocate to stop the practice of adult males having sex with young girls then putting them on the streets to prostitute.Herbert has included in his Save Our Community Initiative an education component which would make the community aware of how young girls are manipulated out of their homes via the Internet and cell phones. SOCI plans to have sororities conduct self-esteem workshops with young ladies so that they will not be seduced by thug-type males they see on music videos. Herbert’s sense of responsibility comes from being a father: he has a 21-year-old daughter, and 15- and 13-year-old sons. Herbert said a campaign needs to be launched sending the message to adult males that soliciting young girls is not appropriate. “These guys need to understand,” Herbert said, “how would they like someone to do that to their young child? There needs to be a ‘guilting’ campaign. But some of these guys just don’t care.” Herbert said there are a lot of pedophiles in our community. “They are coming out of jail. They don’t go into jail as pedophiles, but come out that way. They were raped and sexually assaulted in jail,” he said. “Not all, but a large portion are violated in jail. When they come out, they are angrier than when they went in.” Tony Herbert assisted in the safe return of Sahara despite experiencing a personal family tragedy. Last week, gun violence claimed a family member. Herbert’s 23-year-old nephew, Lawrence Andre Sykes, was shot multiple times Sept. 16 in broad daylight on the street in Richmond, Virginia. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The suspects in Sykes murder are 24-year-old Rashaan Tigean Williams, who surrendered to police, and 21-year-old Lamar Elias Defairia.