'Unforgivable': Body Found Weeks Ago Believed To Be Missing Black Teen

Photo: MET Police

Loved ones of a 19-year-old college student who's been missing for weeks are outraged after police announced that they may have found her body the same day of her disappearance.

Samaria Ayanle, a freshman student at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, was last seen in security footage on February 22 near campus housing. University officials notified Metropolitan police of Ayanle's disappearance on March 8.

Ayanle's friends said they contacted the university days before about her possible disappearance but were met with a "standoff attitude" from officials, according to The Daily Mail. They created an Instagram page called “Have You Seen Samaria?” to raise awareness.

Police said Wednesday (March 13) they believe a body found in the River Thames weeks ago belonged to Ayanle. A citizen reportedly spotted the body near Putney Bridge on the same Ayanle went missing.

“Police checked recent missing persons reports but the body did not match the description of any other persons reported missing around that time,” police said in a statement. “The body was sent to the Coroner to conduct further checks. Meanwhile details were uploaded onto the UK Missing Persons database in the hopes the person might be identified.”

According to Metropolitan Police, authorities linked the body to Ayanle's case after watching body camera footage. Officially are still working to formally identify Ayanle's body, so her death is currently considered "unexplained."

One of Ayanle's friends called delays in her case "unforgivable and unjust."

"Rest in power. My heart goes to you. The treatment of this case by the police and SOAS is shocking. Her having been found on the same day yet being unidentified for almost three weeks is unforgivable and unjust," the friend wrote on social media, per Daily Mail.

Social media users were also critical of the university's and police's response.

“Black people are 4x times more likely to be reported as missing and when they are, their cases are not treated with the same level of care or consideration by authorities,” Black Lives Matter UK wrote on X. “The news of Samaria Ayanle’s death is a tragic reminder of this. May she rest in peace.”

“Can’t stop and won’t stop thinking about Samaria Ayanle tonight. so much more should have been done. Time and time again, it’s proven that the lives of women, ESPECIALLY BLACK WOMEN, are treated like they are discardable," another X user said.

SOAS University of London released a statement in the wake of the possible discovery of Ayanle's body.

“We are deeply saddened to hear that police have discovered a body which is believed to be that of Samaria Ayanle, who was a first-year student at SOAS University of London, studying for a BA in Japanese and the History of Art,” the university said. “We know that this news will be felt by many and we will be doing everything we can to support friends, family, and the wider student and staff community.”

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