When deputies receive a report of every family’s worst nightmare — a missing parent, child or family member — it’s something that’s taken very seriously, said Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Deputy Josh Dubin.
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And unfortunately, it’s something that occurs on a daily basis.
“The circumstances and facts surrounding every missing person are immediately investigated,” Dubin said. “However, with more than 350 reports annually, detectives evaluate each case individually to find out when a life is in immediate danger, or if there’s a suspicion of foul play.”
Just at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station alone, deputies took 368 reports of missing persons in 2012, according to Sheriff’s Department figures — 192 men and 176 women.
Of those reports, 257 cases involved individuals under the age of 18.
More than three dozen residents were reported missing multiple times, and of those, 25 people were reported missing two times; 10 people were reported missing three times; two people were reported missing five times and one person was reported missing six times, and that’s just in a 12-month period.
Sheriff’s Station officials didn’t have the exact number for the amount of cases that were resolved, because if a child runs away for a weekend to do something they’ve been told not to do by their parents or guardian — and then returns without incident — Sheriff’s Station officials are not always notified, Dubin said.
Reports of individuals missing, even if there’s been multiple incidents, are always treated seriously, Dubin said.
In 2013, there have been 168 reports to date, involving 53 adults and 115 juveniles, and two people have been reported missing two times.
When a deputy receives a report, the deputy will ask for social media information about the person, as well as any contact information, and the missing person’s friends, and immediately hand it to detectives, Dubin said.
Detective Tamar Abraham, who serves on the MIssing Person’s Detail of the Homicide Bureau, which handles all missing adults, said each case is handled differently based on the information available that’s generated by the report.
“We handle all of our cases to the best of our ability,” Abraham said, adding that there’s no waiting period detectives take before starting an investigation.
“In fact, the sooner someone is reported missing, the greater the likelihood the person will be located unharmed,” according to Sheriff’s Station officials in Los Angeles.
“The Sheriff’s Department considers someone missing to be a very serious matter, especially those missing who are considered to be at high risk — (when there’s) children, elderly, suspicion of foul play,( involved),” the statement read. “As such, whenever anyone is discovered missing, do not hesitate to call your local sheriff’s station or police agency right away.”
Missing juvenile cases are handled by detectives at the local Sheriff’s Station, Dubin said.
When a minor goes missing, any information, such as Facebook, Twitter accounts or other Internet activity, and who the child hangs out with, can be a big help for officials, Dubin said, encouraging all parents to monitor their children’s Internet activity.
“We do everything we can do as soon as we can do it,” Dubin said, “And we take all missing persons report very seriously.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News