S. Epatha Merkerson

S. Epatha Merkerson hosts TV One's "Find Our Missing"

*Chandra Levy, Elizabeth Smart, Natalee Holloway and Jaycee Dugard became household names during news coverage of their disappearances.  But has anyone ever heard of Pam Butler? Hasanni Campbell?  What about Yasmin Acree or Althedia Vaught?

Tonight at 10, TV One premieres “Find Our Missing,” a 10-part docu-series designed to remind folks that young white women aren’t the only people who suddenly vanish without a trace.  As the network pointed out in its Television Critics Association panel on Saturday (Jan. 14) blacks comprise more than a third of the country’s missing, but are rarely covered by the news media.

“The fact that missing persons of color represent 40 percent of missing in the United States, in the minority community, it’s not reflected on television,” said Derrica Wilson, a former Virginia police officer and co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, which is partnering with TV One for the series. “Therefore, when it’s our community, they don’t realize that this is an issue. And what TV One is doing now is helping us bring this issue to the forefront to reunite these families or provide closure for the families.”

Each episode of “Find Our Missing” features one or two cases presented in the style of “America’s Most Wanted,” beginning with the day the subject went missing and wrapping with the current status of the investigation.  Reenactments are combined with actual footage from the alleged crime scenes as well as interviews with family members and law enforcement involved in the case.

The aforementioned Pam Butler, Hasanni Campbell, Yasmin Acree and Althedia Vaught are just four of the 20 missing persons who will be profiled throughout the season. [Scroll down to watch the promo.]

The series, which has the tagline “Until next time, be safe, and keep an eye out,” is hosted by stage and screen veteran S. Epatha Merkerson. Of her involvement, she says, “the best thing you can do with celebrity is shine a light on an issue.” She tells EURweb exclusively that her 17-year run as Lt. Anita Van Buren on the NBC series “Law & Order” is likely the reason she was approached to serve as the face of this vital docu-series.

S Epatha Merkerson on why TV One chose her to host Find Our Missing by CherieNic