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District teen murdered, but who cares?

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By Colbert I. King
Saturday, January 23, 2010

What are we coming to in this city?

On Christmas Eve, The Post reported that 16-year-old Deonte Payton of Frederick Douglass Place SE was found shot to death inside an apartment building on Stanton Road SE. The brief story said his body was discovered by building engineers who went to the vacant apartment unit after neighbors complained about a foul odor. And then . . . nothing.

Deonte Payton was a one-day story.

How can that be? The bloated body of a murdered teenager is found and there's hardly a ripple of interest?

I'm not singling out The Post. The rest of the local media also gave Deonte's death short shrift. That's a shame. The homicide of a child is or ought to be a core concern, not just for the media but also for the public.

The discovery of Deonte's decomposing body evoked no official reaction. Not even curiosity. From community leaders to downtown politicians to the city's pulpits -- silence.

They don't care. But let's face it, they aren't alone.

Speaking of which, that's where Donte reportedly got it -- in the face -- according to a relative.

That wound, and the condition of his body, may explain his closed-casket funeral.

Deonte was an unknown to the public. But he was no stranger to our city's juvenile justice and public school systems. Sources report that he spent as much time in the streets as in the classroom.

Deonte's passage out of this world didn't go completely unnoticed. Police authorities said Deonte's mother had filed a missing-person report on Dec. 19.

Responding to the report, police spoke with Deonte's friends and were told that he was known to hang around the Stanton Glenn apartments. Officers checked the area, I'm told, but they didn't enter each unit.

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