Missing: Yasmin Acree | About


"Because she's a 15-year-old African-American honor student from the West Side, this case isn't getting the attention it deserves."

--Rev Marshall Hatch of New Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church

Yasmin was born on October 25th, 1992 in Kentucky. From a young age, she spent time in foster care - her biological mother had substance abuse issues and lost custody of her and her brother, Damarcus. During this time in foster care, Yasmin was sexually abused and developed emotional trauma which had a profound and negative impact on her throughout life. At the age of 6, Yasmin and her brother moved to Junction City, Kentucky to be under the care of Debi and Rick Keathly. Yasmin and Damarcus lived with the couple for three years. In 2001, they moved to Chicago where they were taken in by a relative through marriage, Rose Mae Starnes. Five years later, Rose would adopt both children.

Despite her rough beginning in life, Yasmin appeared to be thriving. She was an excellent student and salutatorian of her 8th-grade class. She had competed in the regional spelling bee. Her mother describes her as a girl who loved fun, reading and keeping busy. People at the YMCA where she visited said Yasmin was sociable, smart, and attentive to young children. Of Yasmin, Bill Gerstein, her school principal, said "I've been working with kids for more than 30 years, and I know a good kid when I see one."

Towards the end of 2007, however, Yasmin seemed to be on a downward slide. Her brother had been kicked out by Starnes and now she shared the dreary and dark basement by herself. Their grandfather is quoted as saying "It wasn't a good situation. I imagine it was pretty lonesome down there, being down in that basement by yourself." In November, three of Yasmin's grades had fallen to D's which in her words "But I got the grades that I deserve."

On January 15th, 2008, Yasmin had a half-day of school and then went to her local YMCA. She returned home to do a load of laundry before bed. The next day, Charles Burt, Rose Mae's boyfriend noticed that the locks on the basement were cut and that someone burglarized the basement area of the home. There were no signs of Yasmin, but he assumed she went to school. Charles called Rose and later that day when Rose Mae returned she asked Charles to fix the lock. She was worried when Yasmin didn't return home and then called the police. The police wrote off the case and thought she was a runaway but her family knew despite her history of poor behavior she had no history of being a runaway.

Yasmin's case received a boost in 2011 when two Chicago Tribune reporters find a hidden diary in Yasmin's room. In it, she reveals that she had been friendly with a former tenet of her Starnes, Jimmie Terrell Smith. Smith lived on the second floor, moving in after spending 10 years in prison. He was arrested a year after Yasmin's disappearance in connection to five rapes - two of which were of 14-year-old girls. He was sentenced to 110 years in prison and the family suspected Smith may be involved. It is alleged that the family had a meeting with Smith while he was in prison and he confessed his involvement; claiming she committed suicide and he disposed of the body.