I am passionate about missing persons cases due to a personal family experience of having someone go missing in my family.
At the time of his disappearance, Garnell Moore was a 7-year-old African-American boy with black hair and brown eyes. He was 5'3" and 120 pounds. He is classified as endangered missing. Due to the messy events in this case, we are left with very few basic details about Garnell.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 18, 1995, Garnell lived with paternal relatives for the first several years of his life. They lived on the 3700 block of Harlem Avenue near the Gwynns Falls Park on the West Side. Garnell’s paternal mother was in jail on drug charges that dated back to the mid '80s, and his father was never really in his life much aside from stopping by his home on occasion to check in on Garnell. He still had family who loved him, though; he would often visit his great aunt Trina Morton and the three girls she was raising at her home, one of which was Garnell’s half-sister, Latonya Williams.
Garnell’s half-sister will forever remember her little brother as an energetic child who had a playful smile and who always carried around a toy car or figurine to play with. When Garnell turned 6, his paternal aunt Belinda Cash took him in at her home on Harlem Avenue. This living arrangement was informal, as she never had legal custody of Garnell, and she never enrolled him in school. Due to the circumstances of his short life, Garnell was essentially a ghost in the system to law enforcement, social services, and strangers.
The last time relatives saw Garnell isn't specific, and some articles cite different years, but it was sometime in early August of either 2001 or 2002. Trina Morton was nine months pregnant when Garnell wanted to come visit her for a weekend with his half-sister. Trina went into labor that weekend and had to reschedule the visit for a week later, but Belinda told her it was an inconvenient time because she was going to be in the process of moving. Garnell has never been heard from or seen since. Trina tried calling Belinda later, but the number had been disconnected, so she tried going to the new address Belinda gave her but found it was a fictitious address.
Later on, Garnell’s father visited his daughter at Trina’s home and assured her Garnell was safe with Belinda despite having no way to contact them. His father later claimed to have seen Garnell in either 2002 or 2003, a year or two after the last time Trina saw him. His father said it was a family reunion at the 1,000 block of Ellicott Drive around Easter. This location was approximately a mile and a half northeast of Belinda’s previous Harlem address and on the opposite side of Gwynns Falls.
In 2005, Trina got a newfound hope after she was given a phone number to reach one of Belinda’s relatives from Garnell’s father. Sadly, the relative said they hadn't seen Garnell in Belinda’s custody for years.
Trina couldn't get any help from Social Services or Child Protective Services as they had no record of Garnell and had no idea he even existed. Trina and Latonya had to search for Garnell on their own. Trina went from door-to-door in the Harlem neighborhood but got no closer to finding out what had happened to her nephew. In the summer of 2005, they got in contact with another family member of Belinda, and they were pointed in the direction of where she might be living.
They found Belinda living in a public housing development red brick town home. She was on the 4,000 block of Fredrick Road, and her home overlooked the new Cathedral cemetery. Trina asked Belinda if she could see Garnell, but she was told he wasn't home. She claimed he was on a school field trip to Virginia at Kings Dominion, but Garnell wasn't enrolled in any school at the time. Also, this was in the summer, so school wouldn't be in session anyway. Trina called Social Services to ask for help once again but was told they legally couldn't enter a private residence and therefore couldn't help her. She tried to contact local schools, but they legally couldn't give any information out about children to anybody who isn't a legal guardian.
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Garnell was officially reported as a missing child on July 1, 2005. This was four years after he was last seen by Trina or any other credible family. The Baltimore Maryland missing persons unit didn't actively get involved until March of 2006, however. When the authorities questioned Belinda Cash about her nephew’s whereabouts, she claimed she had fallen on hard times and was unable to care for him anymore. She told them she had abandoned him on the steps of a social service building in the 500 block of north Hilton Street. This would have been close to Edmondson Avenue in West Baltimore.
Police interviewed the workers at the social services building and asked about seeing a boy sitting on the steps around the time Belinda claimed to have dropped him off. Nobody had any idea who Garnell was or had any recollection of seeing a little boy on their steps. The police interviewed Belinda’s neighbors as well from when she lived on Old Fredrick Road and Harlem Avenue. Belinda lived at these addresses on and off for several years, and the neighbors recalled seeing Garnell and hearing her call him her son. They said after 2001 they never saw the boy with Belinda again.
The police investigated Belinda’s abandoned home on Harlem Avenue but found no trace of Garnell. They even brought in cadaver dogs, but they didn't find anything at the home. Belinda voluntarily took a lie detector test and passed; however, this doesn't mean much as these machines and tests are usually not credible in criminal cases because they can be manipulated. Belinda has no prior history of child abuse or neglect, and she has no significant criminal record. The police have kept up contact with Belinda since 2007 and said she was still living in the Essex area of Maryland and possibly living under a different name following a divorce and a new marriage.
Garnell’s family is still hopeful he is out there alive and well. They are still waiting for him to come home or to get some sort of closure. Sadly, there are no school photos or even family photos besides one. The single photo out there of Garnell is from when he was just 5 years old. All other photos are artists renderings of what he might have looked like over the years.
Detective Uzarowski thinks it’s possible Garnell is alive and well somewhere. He believes it is a possibility that someone saw him, a young boy wandering the streets, and they took him in. He could be an unofficial adopted child in someone’s home living with loving new parents in a new family. In Baltimore, Maryland, the public distrusts the police and social services, so this theory is entirely possible.
Some websleuthers have stated his aunt might have sold him to a family as well. They think she might have really been in a bad spot and decided to sell him to a family that couldn't adopt a child legally. If this is the case, Garnell might have believed he was in foster care for the first several years of his life. He was moved around from house to house, and it was said that he lived with several family members before Belinda took him in fully. To a little kid, it would be pretty confusing to have such a childhood.
Other than these theories, nobody really knows what happened to little Garnell. The police don’t believe he is in danger; they don’t think Belinda hurt or killed him, but they don’t know where he is or what exactly happened to him, either.
If you have any information in what happened to Garnell or think you might know of his location or someone who could have been involved, please contact the Baltimore Police Department at 443-984-7385.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.