PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s deaf and hard of hearing community is working with police to find one of their own. It’s been more than a month since Ahalieme Barksdale-Bey disappeared, and there are few leads.
“We’re running into a brick wall,” says Roz McKelvey, founder of the Germantown Deaf Ministries Fellowship.
She’s been working with police and the family of Barksdale-Bey to locate the 47-year-old woman.
“No one has seen her,” she says, “we’re knocking on doors, we’re riding the buses showing people her picture.”
Her mother, Sunnie Swartz says she last saw her daughter on December 7 after she ran into the family home at 20th and Bainsbridge, very upset, claiming someone had stolen her phone.
Swartz says before she could get Bey to sit down to explain, she left the house and she has not seen her daughter since.
“We are constantly checking the mental health wards, the hospitals,” says Swartz, “I am worried she’s being held somewhere, she doesn’t have any money and she doesn’t have her phone.”
Swartz says she reported Bey missing on December 12.
Her mother says she waited to file a missing person’s report because she thought Bey was with her boyfriend, but he says he hasn’t seen her either.
“We are crying, we are crying, and I feel bad, my phone was off,” says McKelvey, who was away on a cruise in early December.
At 5’3″, Bey is 130 pounds and slim built. She wears black rimmed glasses and prefers to cover her hair with wigs in a variety of colors.
Bey is completely deaf and while she is verbal, her speech may be difficult to understand to those who are not familiar with her. She relies solely on sign language to communicate.
“I believe if she could get to us, she would,” her mother said.
Swartz says it’s been difficult getting media help to put Bey’s photo out there.
“I am flabbergasted,” she says, “I’ve seen people get help located a cat lost in a fire.”
McKelvey says difficulties with sensory disabilities make it imperative that people from the public get the photo so someone can find Bey.
“We just want this Black deaf woman’s photo to get out there to people,” she says, “she is very vulnerable.”
Philadelphia police can make sign interpreters available. Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of Ms. Barksdale-Bey is urged to contact South Detectives at 215-686-3013.