Monday, September 20, 2010

Bad news turned to worst when 23-year-old missing woman Valerie Hamilton's body was found Saturday night inside a storage unit in southeast Charlotte. When she went missing early Wednesday morning after leaving Thomas Street Tavern in Plaza Midwood, her case quickly made local and national news because she's the daughter of Concord police Chief Merl Hamilton. This morning, Hamilton and Concord Mayor Scott Padgett appeared on Good Morning America to help bring attention to suspect Michael Neal Harvey, a registered sex offender with a long rap sheet who's now on the run.

With all of the attention Valerie's case is getting, her killer will likely be caught soon. And when the suspect is captured, I hope the media will take a look at how their coverage made it impossible for this animal to hide, and realize that if they gave this same kind of immediate coverage whenever a person went missing, particularly when there's a suspect, how much more likely it is the criminal will be caught. Just think of how these real-life cases are depicted in A&E's The First 48. Far too many missing people are never found or their abductors/killers are never brought to justice because their case lacks the sensationalism that media too often desires.

This is not to in any way diminish how tragic Valerie's murder is and I certainly offer my condolences to her family and friends. She was a young woman who taught swim lessons and loved working with children, and it's always sad to see the good die young. Hopefully, the Good Morning America broadcast, which I've posted video of below, will help lead to her killer's arrest.


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