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Finding Missing Children …best practices for 911 Centers and Ontario Countys CART team NYS 911 Coordinators Association Spring 2008 Conference Presented.

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Presentation on theme: "Finding Missing Children …best practices for 911 Centers and Ontario Countys CART team NYS 911 Coordinators Association Spring 2008 Conference Presented."— Presentation transcript:

1 Finding Missing Children …best practices for 911 Centers and Ontario Countys CART team NYS 911 Coordinators Association Spring 2008 Conference Presented by: Steve DeChick and Jeff Edwards Ontario County 911 Center - Canandaigua

2 Missing and Exploited Children How many children do you think are REPORTED missing every year in the USA? –800,000 So how many is that per day? –OVER 2,000 During the time frame that these children are missing…how many do you think will be sexually abused? 1 out of every 5 females! 1 out of every 10 males! –1 out of every 7 are exploited for sex via the internet!

3 Missing and Abducted Children An estimated 1.3 million children go missing each year Only 797,500 of those are typically reported to law enforcement agencies.

4 How do we change this? We MUST make the protection of our children our highest priority! REMEMBER!!! There is NO WAITING PERIOD to report a child missing! Why is it that we enter a stolen vehicle into NYSPIN so quickly…………………... but we wait to enter a missing child? Enter a child into NYSPIN BEFORE the officer arrives! TIME IS IMPORTANT!

5 4 Categories of Missing Non-family abductions Family abductions Runaways/throwaways Lost, injured or otherwise missing

6 Non-family Abductions Child is taken through force or persuasion, usually in furtherance of additional victimization. A non-family abduction is unlike the stereotypical kidnapping because the child is somehow familiar with the abductor.

7 Non-family abductions 58,200 per year Most dangerous – worst of the worst 1/2 are sexually assaulted (approx. 30,000 children) 1/3 are physically assaulted (approx. 20,000 children

8 Stereotypical Kidnappings Stranger abductions 100 – 200 per year 60 – 100 children are murdered each year in the course of a stereotypical abduction by an unknown offender.

9 Family Abductions 203,900 per year 559 children per day on average 1 child every 3 minutes In the first 4 months of 2004, 30 children in California kidnapped by family members were also murdered. 1 out of every 11 children that are killed are killed at the hands of a parent

10 Runaways / Throwaways Runaways – usually a teenager who leaves home voluntarily for a variety of reasons. Throwaways – a child who is deserted or abandoned; the childs caretaker may not report the child as missing or make any effort to recover. The throwaway child often comes in contact with law enforcement.

11 Runaways / Throwaways 1,682,900 per year 357,600 reported 1,190,900 are endangered by sexual or physical assault, criminal companions, drug use or are under the age of 13.

12 Runaways / Throwaways 38% travel less than 10 miles 31% travel 10 – 50 miles 31 % travel further than 50 miles Average age is 15 – 17 years Equal numbers of boys and girls

13 Lost, Injured or Otherwise Missing Occurs when a childs whereabouts are unknown and the child is trying to get home or make contact but is unable to do so because of injury, age, unforeseeable circumstances or miscommunication.

14 Lost, Injured or Otherwise Missing 579,200 per year 53,900 were missing due to injury 182,200 were between the ages of ,100 reported to law enforcement 17,500 were missing 24 hours to 1 week. 7,800 were missing 1 week to 6 months

15 Missing Children Homicide Investigation Analysis of investigations of missing children where death was the outcome 44 States 577 cases (33 % unsolved) with 621 victims 419 killers

16 Nature of Call 58% missing person report 24% body recovery 9% runaway report 9% abduction

17 Victim Composite Most are female 11.4 years old Middle-class or blue collar family Normal kid, not considered at risk Good or average family

18 Why did the killer select her? 57% opportunity 15% previous knowledge of victim 14% victims physical characteristics 13% specific motivation

19 Deadly Victim-Offender Mix Most (80%) victims were abducted within ¼ mile of their last known location; 65% were less that 200 feet from their home 66% of the killers were at the abduction site for a legitimate reason 29% lived in the area


21 How long did they live? 44% die within the first hour 74% die within the first 3 hours 1% survive more than a day 40% were dead before they were reported missing

22 A Killers profile White male 27 years old, not married Socially inept Criminal history Do you know where your level 3 sex offenders live?

23 Federal Statutes Parent Kidnapping Prevention act of 1980 Missing Children Act of 1982 Missing Childrens Assistance Act 1984 National Child Search Assistance Act of 1990 International Parental Kidnapping Act of 1993 Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (1997) Suzannes Law 2003 National Amber Alert 2003

24 Response to a Missing Child Case

25 Your role as an administrator Have policies in place that identify the need for an Immediate dispatch of officers to the scene!!! – these are in-progress calls Make sure that the call taker obtains a full description of the child including clothing worn and ALL information needed for an initial Missing Person file (Remember that it can be modified later if need be) –Responding officers are trained to search enroute to scene, therefore a broadcast ASAP of the best description that you can get is CRITICAL!

26 IF NOTHING ELSE, PLEASE REMEMBER THIS…. When taking a call for ANY missing child, consider them to be in danger until proven otherwise!!! (and pray that they are not!)

27 Additional Roles and Responsibilities Initiate BOLO to other officers and other agencies including surrounding counties! Ensure notification to all state / federal jurisdictions that may be involved Include any information – particularly vehicle information – about a potential abductor Run RNAM for vehicles registered to any and all suspects! Brief other communication staff in case tips or sightings are received Have plan readily available in cases of activation of AMBER or full CART response

28 Entries into NYSPIN / NCIC The child should be entered into NCIC immediately The person making the entry should know how to enter the child correctly Dont forget _C flag if applicable Enter as much descriptive information as possible! If the child is known to be with an adult, enter the adult missing and cross- reference the entries Update with new information

29 _C Flag (MKE Field) AC – Acquaintance abduction – Foul Play/Life Threatening FC – Family Abduction – Foul Play/Life Threatening LC – Lost Juvenile – Foul Play/Life Threatening SC – Stranger Abduction – Foul Play/Life Threatening UC – Circumstances Unknown – Foul Play/Life Threatening

30 NCIC Entries for Abductions _C Child Abduction Flag: First introduced in 1997 to flag cases with reasonable indication or suspicion that a child has been abducted and/or is missing under circumstances suggesting foul play or threat to life. When _C is entered into the missing person MKE/ field, automatic notifications go to: The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children FBIs Child Abduction & Serial Killer Unit NYS Violent Crime Analysis Program

31 File 11A A File 11A also needs to be sent for any suspected abduction or attempted abduction

32 Amber Alert Activation The child is 17 years of age or younger Police must believe the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death, either due to the actions of another person or due to a proven mental or physical condition.

33 Amber Alert Activation Family abductions qualify only if a child is endangered by the actions of the abducting family member. Activation will not occur without at least a preliminary investigation by the agency. The Authorization to Publicize form signed by a parent or guardian is required to broadcast a childs name.

34 NYSPIN – AMBER Alert Message Fill out the NYSPIN AMBER message Fax the AMBER Alert authorization to publicize form to NYS Police Communications Section Should have already sent a File 6 and File 11A

35 CART – because our children matter most!

36 Jessica Lunsford CART Response to a Missing Child February 23, 2005

37 Jessica Lunsford Age: 9 years Sex: Female Race: White Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown Height: 4 10 Weight: 70 lbs

38 Jessica Lunsford Last seen wearing a pink night gown and white satin shorts A purple stuffed dolphin toy she had recently won at the State fair was missing Lives with her grandparents, Ruth and Archie Lunsford and her father, Mark Lunsford Attends Faith Baptist Church

39 Jessicas story

40 Assignments Detectives located day-labor companies working in the area and conducted interviews Detectives answered phones and researched leads Detailed neighborhood canvasses and home searches were performed Interviews were conducted with and the homes of sex offenders were searched 138 neighborhood canvasses, data on 359 people was collected

41 Further Assignments Grid searches on foot and in ATVs Interviewed children from Jessicas church and school bus Interviewed waste management, newspaper, and delivery employees and obtained lists of customers Interviewed Faith Baptist Church employees and obtained lists of patrons and people the church had assisted.

42 What is CART A team of individuals from various agencies, jurisdictions and organizations who are trained and prepared to respond to a missing, endangered or abducted child. CART provides resources to to aid in the search and rescue effort and assists the agency of jurisdiction in its investigation.

43 Why CART First few hours are critical Many agencies have never had a child abduction in their jurisdiction Most officers responding to a child abduction have never investigated a similar crime One single agency will not have all the necessary resources Accessing resources could take valuable time

44 CART IS A force multiplier Many to do much Quick strike A tool for investigation A proven, organized way to respond to a missing or abducted child that improves the chance of recovery Many resources

45 Memorandums of Understanding Sheriffs Office City Police State Police Village Police Probation Parole Search and rescue Numerous others stakeholders Agreement outlining the roles and responsibilities of each of the parties involved to effect a plan, response, and outcome for the safe recovery of the abducted or missing children.

46 CART Activation Protocol The Ontario County CART will be deployed in all Amber Alert cases; child abductions and disappearances not rising to the Amber Alert level and to recover endangered runaway children under the age of 18. CART may deploy to assist in the recovery of any missing person in a life threatening environment or deemed to be endangered due to other circumstances. CART will assist the lead local law enforcement agency and bring additional resources to the recovery effort.

47 CART Rollout Rollout location for CART will need to be determined A command post will need to be established Once AMBER or CART is activated, be prepared for media responses and many phone calls! Know the location for media briefings

48 Cart Team responses to Runaways If it is determined that the child is a runaway: Is the child in immediate danger? Is the child in the company of a known sex offender? May need to activate response based on circumstances surrounding the runaway incident

49 CART Notifications Activate reverse 911 Notify local FBI office Notify State clearinghouse and NCMEC Contact CART coordinator Notify public information officer and the media Assign victim advocate to the family

50 CART - Initial Investigative Strategies Search sex offender registry: Obtain list of offenders within the radius of the incident Have the list ready for CART members Prepare interview questionnaire Check child abuse registry: Investigators will want to run parallel investigations and eliminate family members

51 CART - Initial Investigative Strategies Prepare interview list of family members, friends, teachers and peers Identify any additional resources needed immediately – such as boats, helicopters, and dogs – and alert CART coordinator of needs Determine from investigation appropriate search grids in time for CART members arrival Have maps ready for distribution

52 Importance of Agency Policies Defines protocols that should be used from dispatch to on-scene response Defines activation protocols for resources such as bloodhounds, specialized units, etc. Defines the chain of command and procedure for AMBER and CART activation Defines coordination with the media and when the media is requested

53 CART - Sex Offenders Keep up to date with sex offenders in the area Map the location of sex offenders If mapping is not available, use push pins Use the NYS DCJS website to search for registered level 3 sex offenders

54 Search and Rescue Operations A search is an emergency – it will not be called off or delayed just because darkness has fallen, the weather is bad or there are limited personnel There is greater exigency present in a CART search that a typical lost or missing person search May be asked to work (report to work) in the MOCOM Searches are for locating the missing/abducted child AND for locating evidence Searchers have to be trained on what to do when locating evidence

55 Team Adam Team Adam sends trained, retired law enforcement officers to the sites of serious child abductions and cases of child sexual exploitation to: Advise and assist local investigators Provide access to NCMECs extensive resources Provide the latest computer and communications technology Enable rapid distribution of critical information to other agencies and personnel

56 Family and the Media Recognize that media coverage is an absolute need for the missing child and his or her family The media in missing children cases are YOUR BEST FRIENDS! Family must be notified of any information before it is released

57 Follow up for ALL reports of missing children… Routine (returned home) cases –Send Police Officer for follow up report The ones that dont turn out so good –Defusings / Debriefings / Counseling –Adequate time off (recovery) ALL CASES REQUIRE: –QA / QI all cases (Re-training if needed) –Re-evaluation of the need to change departmental policies and procedures

58 Resources to help you… National Center for Missing and Exploited children website: –1-800-THE-LOST ( ) – APCO International website: – –Standards for Calltakers when Handling Calls Pertaining to Missing and Sexually Exploited Children

59 And sometimes, things do turn out ok… Do you believe in miracles? –Jillians story

60 Retention check… 1 - How many children are reported missing every year? 2 - One out of every ______ missing children are exploited for sex via the internet. 3 – In a non-family abduction, ____ of those children are sexually assaulted. 4 – In missing children homicide investigations, what is the average age of the victim? 5- 44% of children die within the first _________ after being abducted.

61 True or False? 6 - There is a twenty-four hour waiting period to report someone missing. 7 – You must wait until a police officer arrives on the scene of a missing child and takes a written report before entering a NYSPIN File 6. 8 – AMBER Alerts can only be issued for those 17 years of age and younger. 9 – An equal amount of males and females run away from home. 10 – The media is a USEFUL tool in missing children cases and should be contacted ASAP.

62 Thanks everyone! If we can be of any help, please call us! If you feed them (us)… …they (we) will come!

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