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'Literally like she just vanished': Family of missing Columbus woman demands answers a month after disappearance

Sacoya has been missing since before, during and after the search and recovery of Gabby Petito, which made national headlines.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The traffic near Howey Road and Weldon Avenue in north Columbus, like time, rolls on.

For one family, though, time has stood still. Stagnant. It’s been that way since Aug. 31.

“I definitely want to make sure that that is known,” James Carswell said.

Sitting in a car in a parking lot in Georgia, Carswell wants people of central Ohio to know his transgender sister is still missing.

“I really want that to be out there because, you know, transgender Black women don’t get as much news coverage [and] as much media attention, unfortunately, until they’re gone.”

According to Columbus police, 33-year-old Devin Cooper, who also goes by “Sacoya,” has been missing since the last day of August. She was last seen near Howey Road and Weldon Avenue.

“That’s kind of all we know is that she got a text message and she left,” Carswell said. “She went somewhere, but we can’t figure out that ‘where’.”

Since then, Sacoya has not been on social media. She’s made no phone calls. She’s sent or received no texts.


“This is totally unlike her,” Carswell said.

The disappearance of Sacoya happened before, during and after the disappearance and, ultimately, the body recovery of Gabby Petito, which is a story that continues to make national headlines.

Credit: Cooper's family

“Missing Black girls and women don’t get the coverage that missing white girls and women get and, especially, missing Black transgender girls and women,” Patricia Fly said.

Fly is a core organizer with Black Queer and Intersectional Collective, or BQIC, in Columbus. The organization focuses on uplifting the LGBTQ community and is now involved in the efforts to find Sacoya.

“We’re connecting with the family and getting any information and helping in the search for her,” Fly said.

Tuesday, Columbus police told 10TV News Reporter Bryant Somerville Sacoya’s case is considered an “ongoing investigation.”

As time and traffic continue to roll on, Carswell and his family continue to search.

For clues. For answers. For Sacoya.

“She hasn’t done anything at all,” he said. “It’s literally like she just vanished.”

Anyone with information on Sacoya’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Columbus Police Department Missing Persons Unit at 614-645-2358.


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