It appears the Oyelowo family have released a statement via a blog they have created. Looks like they have accepted she committed suicide and just waiting for her body to be recovered:
On behalf of the entire Oyelowo family, we express our gratitude to everybody for your prayers, support & expression of love during this period. As most of you are aware, Tosin Oyelowo was reported missing on Friday, December 9, 2011. The Charleston, South Carolina Authorities were notified and have been investigating this incident. The information we have from the Police, which is also available on the Internet as an Incident report, indicates that Tosin’s personal effects were discovered around the Ravenel Bridge. This is where the police had gotten a report that someone jumped off the bridge. This is all the information we have for now and a body has not yet been recovered. We continue to covet your prayers and support for the family at this time. The family is in close communication with the Polce. Anyone who has further information should please contact the Charleston, SC police or the family. We sincerely appreciate everyone for the outpouring of love, support, prayers and care for the family.
I was first alerted to her story, by a report in Clutch magazine earlier today and began writing something blistering about how US media historically have neglected to report on missing black and brown people.
A cursory tour of the Internet including google only brought up a few blog reports, most of them belonging to people of Nigerian origin and all included fevered sometimes hysterical pentecostal like chants and prayers. Yep Nigerians have taken Tosin Oyelowo’s plight to heart.
According to the blog reports, she went missing last Friday December 9th. A recent graduate of the University of Charleston (West Virginia) School of Pharmacy, she began her residency at Medical University of South Carolina, just last Autumn.
I began noticing comments about her family not wanting anything publicized and even a plea from a Detective investigating her case, pointing out the inaccuracies and speculations on blogs, were very upsetting to the family who do not appreciate strangers starting up missing appeals for their daughter, a woman they don’t know.
You see, on the day the blogs reported Tosin Oyelowo’s “disappeared”, A woman was seen jumping off a local bridge by motorists and pedestrians. A while later police found a purse containing her drivers license on the summit of the bridge the woman was seen jumping from. Her car was located nearby in a parking lot, frequently used by people wanting to walk along the bridge.
Charleston, Mount Pleasant police and the Coast Guards conducted a search for the woman, but a body has not been recovered.
So instead of being a missing person, it appears Tosin Oyelowo may have taken her own life, but the police ain’t saying and her family is staying quiet on the matter. Unfortunately because of the fluid insidious nature of the internet, the Nigerians aren’t letting it go and are wailing, praying and hand-wringing pentecostal style all over the internet.
As much as people who know Tosin have appealed to the blog owner who set up the original “missing” blog, they have refused to remove the post. Probably because of the traffic they are receiving to their sites, but I find it disturbing that a family who is obviously going through the most painful event any family can, has to endure morbid hysterical religious people, go ape shit all over their daughter, whom we can presume is dead.
If Tosin did commit suicide, I can understand why her family want to deal with this privately and not in the eye of the media or internet. I use the word understand, because traditionally suicide is frowned upon in Africa and being half African I am aware of the stigma, even though I don’t understand the taboo of mental illness and suicide.
Me? Sure I’m curious. She has the same name as one of my nieces, is absolutely gorgeous, obviously very intelligent and was at the cusp of a wonderful future.
One thing that struck me is the speed at which MUSC removed her page from their site. Shame on them.
And shame on the person who started the missing persons blog and the various Facebook pages started up, just for popularity.