For family of missing D.C. woman, a painful resolution to long search

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 24, 2011

As night approached and the evening turned cold, Caroline Frazier began her grim routine of passing out stacks of fliers with "Missing" printed across the top. A picture of her smiling daughter Latisha Frazier, 19, beamed across each page.

"Excuse me!" Frazier said as she ran from the curb at the Anacostia Metro station to a car stopped at a red light. The window opened. "My daughter's missing," she said. "Please take this. She's been missing since August."

In her daughter's absence, the 48-year-old Frazier's days looked like this: Take Diamond, Latisha's 3-year-old daughter, to day care. Work with the police. Hand out fliers. Put Diamond to bed. She balanced it all while being homeless and unemployed.

On Sunday, police said her daughter had been killed after a dispute in the 1700 block of Trenton Place in Southeast Washington on Aug. 2. Her body has not been found, officers said.

Police arrested Brian Gaither, 23, of Southeast and charged him with second-degree murder. He will be arraigned Monday.

Latisha's father, Barry Campbell, was often by Frazier's side as she handed out fliers. He said he knew this day might come.

"It does feel good to know someone has been arrested, that someone will be punished," said Campbell, 39, a Metro employee. "I knew this wasn't my daughter to just up and leave and leave Diamond. I think we all knew that something terrible had happened."

A police official said authorities will mount an exhaustive search for Latisha's remains.

For months, police turned up few leads. Then, to add to the family's grief, the Fraziers began receiving threatening messages on Facebook, from an unknown account, saying that Latisha was dead and that her remains were in Rock Creek Park.

"My heart goes out to the family of Latisha Frazier for their loss," D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said in a statement. "The community providing information to police and press coverage about Latisha's disappearance were essential to us closing this case."

Latisha was responsible and hard-working, her mother said: The teenager was never was out of touch with Frazier or Diamond for more than 24 hours.


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