There are few things more frightening for a parent than the thought of having a missing child. It seems that there are more cases of missing and runaway teens in the news than ever.
This post discusses some of the most recent cases of teen runaways in the news over the past few weeks should be eye opening for many parents, and I have some tips on what to do when and if your teenager runs off.
California runaway discovered in sex trafficking operation
Detectives in Beaverton, Oregon discovered a 17-year-old California runaway during a sex trafficking investigation. Police discovered the girl, along with two women and a man, who were involved in an operation spanning the West Coast. All parties involved, including the runaway, come from Stockton, California.
Two members apprehended at the hotel are facing charges. An 18-year-old woman was released after being cited for promotion of prostitution. The male, Tyrell Armstrong Jr. is facing charges of promoting prostitution, compelling prostitution, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Red Bluff girl found safe
Police in Red Bluff, California say that a 14-year-old girl who ran away is now safely back in her home. The teen, missing for 4 days, was found at a home in Los Molinos thanks to a tip sent to the police. The police say there was no suspicious activity surrounding the runaway or the home where she was found.
2 million runaways
Each year in the United States, there are nearly two million reported runaways. Some of these runaways end up homeless on the streets, many become victims, and some go into the sex trade. The fate for others can be even worse. This is terrifying to parents, and it certainly pays to have a plan in place just in case the unthinkable were to happen.
What parents should do
When you have a missing child, time is of the essence. Call the police immediately. The sooner you take action the better. The police will take a report and will start the search. In addition to filing a missing person’s report, ask the police to issue an Amber Alert. Get in touch with community services and shelters that help runaways or the homeless, just in case your child has gone to one of those places. Contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as well.
Speak with your child’s friends, peers, teachers, and anyone else who interacts with him or her regularly. See if your child may have said anything to one of them about where they might be. If your child has a bankcard or a credit card you’ve provided, watch for activity on the account. This can clue you and authorities in to where the child might be. If the child has a cell phone, track it to see the current location.
Consider looking at their activity online, or having a professional do this for you. By reading emails, social media posts, and the like, it is often possible to glean a bit more information on where the child might have gone.
Working with a professional
Consider hiring a private investigator as well. Sometimes, the police are simply not able to find your child, though they may continue to look. Working with a professional investigator who has experience when it comes to missing and runaway teens can make a world of difference. The professionals can approach the situation with the perspective of an outsider who can examine the evidence objectively. As much as parents care, sometimes they are simply so close to the situation that they can’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. The investigators can actually work with the police in many cases to try to bring the situation to a positive resolution.
We are fortunate to have four offices here in Southern California located in San Diego, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach and, most importantly for this subject matter, Los Angeles. It is no secret that Los Angeles is a magnet for all people, young and old, who want to break into the entertainment industry. The vast majority are unsuccessful and many fall into drugs, alcohol, prostitution and human trafficking. If you have become disconnected with your son, daughter or any family member, please call our toll-free number below. We have great contacts in the shelters and on the streets of Los Angeles to help locate and bring the persons back home to their loved ones.