Carrie Mae Blewett seldom let a day to pass without picking up her cellphone to call her mother, her children or another relative. After three days of silence, her family began to worry and went to the police.
But the police officer declined to take a missing persons’ report. Three weeks later, on Aug. 4, a passerby spotted Blewett’s body along a tree line in the 5100 block of College Avenue.
Police are now investigating her death as a homicide.
Blewett’s family is upset that her disappearance did not get the police attention they think it deserved and is routinely given to other missing people.
“We already knew something was not right, but they chose not to help us,” her sister, LaTasha Blewett, said of the Kansas City police.
Kansas City police now acknowledge a report should have been logged when the family first reported Blewett missing on July 17. Police did take a report when the family went back and reported Blewett missing again two days later but that report did not alert detectives that Blewett could be in danger.
Police did not send out the customary alerts to local media asking for the public’s help to find the 37-year-old mother of four.
“Had we gotten help, we would’ve found my sister’s body before then,” LaTasha Blewett said. “Maybe if it was on the news, somebody would have stepped up and said they saw something.”
When the family first went to a police station to report Blewett missing, they were told that no officers were there to take a report. So they went to another station. The officer told the family, “There’s nothing that we can do because she’s grown — grown people come up missing,” sister April Blewett said.
“We didn’t get no kind of justice, no help from the police whatsoever,” April Blewett said.
An internal review was conducted to see why the initial report was not taken, said police spokeswoman Capt. Stacey Graves.
When the police did take a missing persons report two days later, it was missing key information, Graves said.
“The missing persons’ report did not contain information that led detectives to believe she was in danger,” Graves said. “Detectives are working this case and would never want someone to feel their family member’s homicide was not thoroughly investigated.”
The internal review was prompted by detectives who questioned why a report hadn’t been written from the family’s initial contact with officers, Graves said.
“Our hearts go out to the Blewett family; we know they are hurting,” she said. “Detectives are working hard on this case to determine what happened to Carrie and charge the suspect responsible.”
Police haven’t said how Blewett was killed. Investigators identified Blewett through dental records. No suspect information has been was released. Anyone with information should call the Tips Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).
Blewett had received municipal citations for public intoxication, disturbing the peace and destroying property. She also had problems with addiction but that should not have mattered, her sister said.
“True enough, she did what she did to get high. I think that is why they probably didn’t care as much,” April Blewett said. “To them, she was another black person and (they thought) she’s probably gone out on drugs or whatever. That wasn’t the case.”
Blewett didn’t appear to be in peril when she last spoke on the phone with her mother and with her 17-year-old daughter on July 14.
During the three weeks Blewett was missing, relatives organized search groups, reached out to several local television news stations and even took to social media seeking help.
Detectives checked several houses based on information given to them by the Ad-Hoc Group Against Crime, which printed fliers for the family. However, investigators didn’t participate in searches with the Blewett family.
They held a balloon release to draw attention about the disappearance of “Mae Mae,” a nickname derived from her middle name.
Her sister, April Blewett pleaded for help on Facebook: “We’re dying inside not knowing where our sister is. We can’t sleep, we can’t breathe. My nieces and nephew need their mother and we need our sister, aunt, cousin, grandmother and daughter.
“We (can) remain strong but for how long? Please somebody help us. Mae Mae please, we need to hear your voice telling us you’re alright. Please somebody give us some answer,” she wrote on Facebook.
Her sisters described Blewett, who attended Southwest High School, as an outgoing person who would welcome anyone with open arms. Blewett especially loved her kids — three girls and a son whose ages range from 4 to 21.
Relatives continue to seek answers and now struggle with having to explain to Blewett’s youngest daughter why she can’t be with her mother.
“She would ask, ‘Can we go to heaven so I hug Momma Mae,’ ” said LaTasha Blewett. “We just don’t know what to tell her.”