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Runaway or Missing Person, Police Must Make a Quick Call

When is a person considered a missing person verses a runaway? That’s a question  police departments all over the country are confronted with on a regular basis. The safe return of 3 women kidnapped a decade ago in Cleveland has brought that question to light. Some people have criticized the Cleveland Police Department for mislabeling one of the girls as a runaway instead of a kidnap victim.  How does the Yakima Police Department make that determination?

Yakima Police Captain Rod Light says “we have a criteria we’ve established, does the person have a history of running away? Do they have a solid family life? There’s no indicators to give cause that they’ve run away, then we have to start looking at that person as a kidnap victim.”

Light also says that decision has to be made quickly because if it’s a kidnapping then other agencies have to be notified quickly to help in the case and an Amber Alert must be put out. The Cleveland Police Department has come under some criticism for the way it handled the case. One such criticism is the mislabeling one of the girls as a runaway instead of a kidnap victim. All three of the girls are safely home with their families.

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