New Jersey father desperately searches for missing daughter in the Midlands

Updated: Apr. 16, 2021 at 12:22 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A father from New Jersey is desperately searching for his missing daughter.

Sanaa Amenhotep went missing in the Midlands on April 5.

“We have a massive search effort for my daughter, we going to every part of Columbia that we can,” Sanaa’s father, Sharif Amenhotep, said. “We started off in the Northeast side, Decker Blvd., Sumter, now we in West Columbia. Hotels, motels -- anywhere she could possibly be.”

The 15-year-old was last seen leaving her home in Northeast Columbia and has not been heard from since.

“She means everything to me, I just truly miss her,” her father said. “We are working hard out here to find her.”

Now her father fears the worst.

“Her phone’s been off, her Instagram’s been off. My daughter calls me at least twice a week,” Sharif Amenhotep said. “She doesn’t go a week without calling me. We have a close relationship.”

According to Chandra Cleveland, a private investigator who works with missing children, Sanaa’s family is not alone.

Young girls around the country are going missing at a high rate.

“This is a huge problem in the country,” Cleveland said. “Right now there are almost 79,000 black and brown girls that are missing and unaccounted for -- and that’s only the people who have reported it.”

Cleveland is calling on communities across the country to take action to help put an end to what she calls an epidemic of missing teens.

“When you see in your community that a young girl is missing from your area, think about it,” she said. “Take a long look at that girl and if there is anything that you can give to help find and bring this girl home, please speak up.”

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