In 2023, the number of missing and runaway children in Ohio will be nearly double that of states with comparable populations, causing panic among parents and police, who in some communities are unable to keep up with the number of adolescents who are running away.
In the Cleveland metropolitan area, 45 minors have been reported missing just this month. Since the beginning of the year, a total of 1,072 individuals have been listed as missing. While the majority of runaways have since returned home or been located, police say that many of them are chronic fugitives who will likely abscond again.
In 2023, the prevalence of missing and runaway children is said to be unusually high.
In 2022, Ohio had nearly twice as many runaways as states with populations between 10 million and 12 million, such as Georgia, North Carolina, and Illinois.
According to the office of the Ohio Attorney General, there are currently over 45 missing minors in the greater Cleveland area. Since September 1, each has been reported missing. Since the beginning of the year, a total of 1,072 children have been reported missing by their families in the area.
While police assert that the majority are likely runaways, they are unable to keep up with the number of concerned parents seeking to locate their children. John Majoy, the police chief of Newburgh Heights, stated earlier this year that the number of abducted minors aged 12 to 17 remained atypically high.
Because we don’t know what’s going on with some of these children, it’s concerning that in 2023 we’ve seen significantly more than usual.
‘Whether they are involved in human trafficking, gang activity, or substance use,’
Sherice Snoden, whose 15-year-old son Keshaun is missing, stated yesterday at a community search for him, ‘It’s been forty days since I’ve seen my child. I only want him to return home.
“Every day I mourn my child, I am anxious, and I do not know if he is eating or sleeping. I simply want him to return home.
Majoy stated to News5 Cleveland, ‘There are simply not enough police personnel on the street to perform this as law enforcement.
The public is our most valuable asset. We cannot do this without public support.’ Other missing minors include Gideon Hefner, 14, who was last seen in American Township, Ohio, on September 12.
According to the missing child report, he was last seen donning a dark shirt, trousers, a black beanie, and carrying a backpack.
Camryn Nicole Golias, 17, has not been seen since September 2023, when she was last seen in Akron, Ohio. Similarly, 16-year-old Elijah Hill vanished from Sandusky, Ohio on September 20 and has not been seen since.
On September 23, Iyahna Graham, age 17, disappeared from North Canton, Ohio. Additionally, police have advised that she should be confronted with caution if she is located. Teonnah Thompkins was last seen in Cincinnati, Ohio on September 17, wearing a black blouse, black trousers, and white shoes, days before Graham went missing.
Earlier this month, Maurice Hamrick, 14, Honesty Howell, 16, Elijah Hill, 16, and Chloe Hadley, 17, all vanished within five days of one another.
In the beginning of May of this year, as many as 27 minors were reported missing in the area.
In his 33-year tenure, Majoy has never witnessed such a high number of missing children.
While Majoy claimed that it’s likely the majority of cases are runaways and not abductions, he added that teenagers are naïve when it comes to predators, who he can be ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing.’
And regrettably, the majority of missing children do not make the news because there is typically no Amber Alert, said Majoy, describing the cases as’silent crimes occurring right under our noses.’
Criteria for Issuing an Amber Alert: Child Abduction and Imminent Peril
For police to issue an Amber Alert, they must have reason to believe a child has been abducted and is in imminent peril of suffering grievous bodily injury or death.
Attorney General of Ohio Dave Yost told News5 Cleveland that process inconsistencies, such as amending reports, occur frequently.
He stated, “We know that when we look behind the statistics, some of these represent serial runaways, as discussed by the local authorities.
All of these items have localized reporting issues that are a result of local circumstances.
“We do our best to encourage compliance and improve assistance to remove barriers, but in the end we must rely on local partners that we cannot control.”
‘I am fearful of all types of things that fall through the gaps that include missing children.
I rely more on the tenacity of a concerned parent than on a busy bureaucrat whose task it is to enter data into a computer.
Yost states that the University of Toledo is currently working to enhance the statewide data collection and reporting systems.
He continued, ‘Law enforcement can’t be everywhere and cannot see everything.
We rely on the people, the populace, because there are 11,700,000 pairs of eyes out there who can keep an eye out.
Source: Daily Mail