October 11, 2021
As Donald Sampson’s disappearance remains a mystery, his family continues to ask anyone with information to come forward, even after 11 years.
Veda Sampson described her younger brother as fun, smart, always there for people, a good dad and a homebody.
“He likes to be home, close to mom and his sister and his son,” she said. “He didn’t travel.”
Veda reported her brother missing on Dec. 12, 2010.
Veda told MassLive she remembers getting a call from her brother on the day he went missing but she was picking up her daughter from the airport and it went to voicemail. When she called him back, he didn’t answer.
“Everyone’s trying to call and it’s just going directly to voicemail,” she said.
She was especially worried because he had recently had surgery and was on medicine. Plus, it was cold.
“I started to get worried because it just was not like him,” Veda said. “And I filed the report.”
She was told officers believed her brother was on the run, she later recounted to MassLive.
After insisting her brother was missing, Veda said she was told to seek help elsewhere, at a cost she could not afford. “They did nothing. They told me I had to hire a private investigator.”
Veda believes police couldn’t see beyond his skin color.
Donald is one of seven people from Massachusetts listed as missing on the Black and Missing Foundation’s website.
The Black and Missing Foundation found that about 40% of missing persons cases are people of color. But that number might be even higher as the Hispanic community is categorized as white in the FBI statistics, said Derrica Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation.
But as Donald, Jennifer Kabura Mbugua and others remain missing, the world has been focused on Gabby Petito, a white woman who went missing while on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend.
After Petito went missing, there was national media attention, plus cadaver dogs, drones, helicopters, ATV’s and more looking for the 22-year-old.
Now many people of color across the country are left wondering why these kinds of resources weren’t available to them when their loved ones first went missing. Some of them still don’t have any answers about their loved ones years later.
“They’re asking, ‘But why wasn’t the same type of attention or resources dedicated to my loved ones case?’” Wilson said.
In more recent years, the Randolph Police Department has used cadaver dogs, searched various areas and re-interviewed people that knew Donald. Randolph Police Department’s Det. Sgt. Jason Fisher was not there in 2010 when Donald was first reported missing, however, he said it’s policy to start investigating missing persons right away, and that he does not see any connection to his previous criminal history and why Donald went missing.
But Veda wishes they had done more early on.
“I think that if they would have jumped on this from the time that I went and reported, we might have had some answers by now,” she said. “I think because he was an African American adult with some history of some trouble that they let it slip under the rug and they refused to help me.”
That, Wilson said, is a common theme they see.
“We’ve had cases where families will provide a picture of their missing loved one and police have decided to use a mug shot from that person’s past that has nothing to do with the fact that they’re missing,” she said.
Veda believes there was more to investigate.
For example, she said, she had to return to the police station multiple times before police went to talk with the last person to see him.
She remembers being told, “Oh, we just can’t go kicking down people’s doors and asking them questions.”
She was shocked.
“I said, ‘I never asked you to kick down the door,’” she recounted to MassLive, adding that she just wanted them to ask questions.
Finally, an officer did.
“I was happy that someone listened,” she said.
The family also put up their own missing persons flyers. But even then they ran into hurdles.
They were told they needed permission from city hall before doing so. But city hall never got back to them.
Veda said they still put them up where ever they could, hoping to find her brother.
“There was like six feet of snow out then,” she said. “We climbed over snow hills and was pinning them up everywhere we could.”
The Sampson family and many others, however, still remain without answers.
Donald is 6 feet, 1 inches tall, 165 pounds and bald, according to the foundation’s website. He was last seen near Oak and Main Street in Randolph and has a scar on his chest.
“We miss him,” Veda said. “He has a son that he’s been away from for 11 years. And he has a mother that’s in her late 70s that needs closure before she leaves this Earth.”
Plus, she added, “he has a sister who tremendously loves him and misses him.”
Those with any information are urged to contact the Randolph Police Department at (781) 963-1212. Tips can also be submitted to the Black and Missing Foundation.
Anyone with additional information about Donald or another missing persons can also contact MassLive by email at [email protected] or phone at 413-776-1364.
Photo credit: MassLive