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Column: The invisible life of Sidney Jade Mahkuk

"It was just before sunrise on a late October Sunday when Sidney Jade Mahkuk was found on a gritty boulevard on Columbus Avenue in south Minneapolis.

Her body was discovered behind a funeral home. In the other direction, a block away, was a hospital. She fell, or more likely was dumped, closer to the funeral home than the emergency room, a sixth-grader just seven blocks from home and a million miles from a chance at life.

There were no signs of trauma and Minneapolis police are waiting for tests to tell whether she overdosed on drugs or alcohol. Investigators are trying to trace her last days and find out who she was with. They have labeled it a suspicious death.

A better label might be: An invisible life.

For if Sidney had been a white high school girl who disappeared on a spring fling in the Caribbean, she'd be a household name and the mystery of what happened to her would be hyped on every cable channel. But she was an inner-city girl from a poor American Indian family, and when she disappeared and died, hardly anyone outside her little, besieged neighborhood noticed.

Not the school where she enrolled in September but which took her name off the rolls when she didn't come back. Not her family, who thought she was staying with friends. Not the many institutions that are supposed to protect kids from the perils of a life unprotected. And not the media, which responded slowly to the unexplained death of a kid on the street."

Get the Story:
|Nick Coleman: We didn't know young Sidney, but we should have (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 11/2)

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