Southern Idaho– Over the past couple of months many people have shared #SaveOurChildren and #SaveTheChildren on social media. Since the rise of this trend many children in Jerome and Twin Falls, Idaho have gone missing. There are even some children that went missing 3 years ago and still have not been found. We have talked to a couple detectives from Jerome County Sheriff’s office (Officer Olson and Officer Roach). The detectives we asked them the following questions, Do you know what actions are being taken to help solve these missing people cases?, How long do you think it takes for investigation to start? and Do you know the first steps when you guys get a missing persons report?
While researching children, there were three missing cases that called out the most: The missing case of Joe Neveraz, 13 years old, missing since March 9th, 2020, Brown hair and eyes, around 100 pounds, about 5 foot 3. He was last seen wearing a sweater, black pants, and white high top shoes. His last date of contact was March 9th.
The missing case of Genesa Pullin, 16 years old, missing since May 29th, 2020, brown hair and eyes, around 100 pounds, 5 foot 4. She has a tattoo on her right forearm that says “EST.”
Lastly, the missing case of Linda Rene Sue Sutton, 17 years old, missing since September of last year, around 215 pounds, 5 foot 7. She was last seen wearing a gray sweater, jeans, and pink and white checkered shoes. She may be in the Twin Falls area near Canyon Ridge High School. She was last seen by her mother leaving her home in Hazleton.
After speaking with Officers Olson and Roach, they gave us a little insight into what happens on the police stations end of missing children cases. When they were asked, “Do you know what actions are being taken to help solve these missing persons cases?” Officer Olson started by saying, “Missing peoples cases typically, there’s a lot of steps to that, pretty much every bit of information, the public plays a lot into that, whenever you get information from the public then, we track that down and we verify if its correct information or not.”
Officer Roach followed that statement with, “When it comes to juveniles that are missing kids, we rely a lot on the families as well, to get active on social media. Cause we can’t, depending on the situation if they are a runaway or if it’s a genuine missing persons case where we believe they’ve been abducted, those are two different avenues that we have to take. Because a child that has run away, we can’t necessarily do an Amber Alert. Which notifies people automatically on their phones. So we get family active on social media and get the information out. Then they can get information brought to them, then they in turn, turn it over to us then we follow those leads.”
With this in mind, we then asked, “How long do you think it takes for an investigation to start?” Officer Olson began, “Every case is different from the moment it’s reported. Depending on the circumstances surrounding that case. We’ve had cases that slowly unfolded, the more information you get the more it slowly unfolds. Then we’ve had cases where it’s an instant, everybody’s running, everybody’s trying to do what they need to do from investigations to patrol, from our agencies to surrounding agencies. So it’s hard to actually put a timeframe on that, because every situation is different.”
Officer Roach quickly followed that up with, “We do have some guidelines that we have to follow when patrol officers get the initial call of a child missing. They have two hours to get them entered into the system as a missing person, whether it be a runaway or an abduction. So as far as the actual investigation that’s when that begins, as soon as we get that call and that report from the guardian or parent that two hour timer starts. They have to have the information in and that is state guidelines. Every agency across the board has to follow that.”
Finally, the Officers were asked, “Do you know the first steps when you guys get a missing persons report?” Officer Roach answered the question with, “So, basically what happens is depending on the case if it’s a runaway, I bring up runaway a lot because that is typically what we deal with the most is runaways. The child fails to come home, the parent will then contact us, that’s when we start the paperwork and we have them fill out certain documents, statements. Last time they saw them, what they were wearing the last time they saw them, where were they supposed to be, who they were supposed to be with, and we gather all of that information, bring it back here, do our report, then we send that information off to our dispatch center who then enters that into a statewide and national database. Where that information, if someone were to run that child’s name, date of birth, they would then be notified that this is a runaway or a missing person.”
So even though these children have been missing, there are still actions being taken. Police officers, both men and women, are working their hardest to bring these children home. Whether they be a runaway or have been abducted.