OAN’s Brooke Mallory
6:46 PM – Thursday, June 1, 2023
During the month of May, there were nearly 30 reports of missing children in Cleveland, Ohio, over a two-week period, which the local police chief claimed was unprecedented in his 33-year tenure.
The number of 12- to 17-year-olds reported missing has maintained record high levels throughout the month, according to Cleveland Missing board president and Newburgh Heights Police Chief John Majoy.
“There’s always peaks and valleys with missing persons, but this year it seems like an extraordinary year,” said Majoy.
“For some reason, in 2023, we’ve seen a lot more than we normally see, which is troubling in part because we don’t know what’s going on with some of these kids, whether they’re being trafficked or whether they’re involved in gang activity or drugs,” he stated.
Between May 2nd and May 16th, Cleveland authorities received 27 reports of missing youth under the age of 18.
Majoy asserted that the majority of incidents are more likely to involve runaways than family abductions, although young adolescents are impressionable and prone to predators who are “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
Unless there is an Amber Alert, their disappearances are not reported in the press, and their stories are not circulated on social media platforms.
“It’s a silent crime that happens right under our noses,” he said. “The problem is where are they? Where do they go? They can be in a drug house or farmed to prostitution or caught up in drug trafficking or gangs.”
According to Majoy, when youths need protection, they occasionally tend to turn to gang affiliation, which can result in initiation crimes like carjackings and robberies, prostitution, or drug usage which can lead to addiction.
The lack of pictures for these missing children only makes the problem worse. There are more blank squares with the text “Photo not available” than there are images of the missing individual when scrolling through Cleveland’s missing persons page.
According to Majoy, this causes law enforcement a variety of problems.
“Unless someone knows that person, then we’re not going to have any luck,” Majoy stated.
On the other hand, if the family of the missing child has personal images they would like to use, police can utilize social media to flood the public with alerts and announcements, which he called the “greatest asset” of law enforcement in missing persons cases. This helps gather tips and prospective leads.
The nonprofit organization associated with Majoy, Cleveland Missing, serves the area of Cleveland, Ohio, and the nearby suburbs. The non-profit is fully committed to supporting families of missing people, assisting with searches of their loved ones, and helping families deal with their emotions and grief overall.
Cleveland Missing was founded by Sylvia Colon and her cousin Gina DeJesus, who was just 14 years old when she was kidnapped by Ariel Castro in 2004.
“Every family’s experience is different, but there are some things that are the same for everybody,” Colon told the press. “It’s first disbelief, blame. (Questions like) ‘What did we do wrong?’ ‘Did we miss something?’ ‘Oh, my gosh, how are we going to find this person?’ The not knowing what are we going to do.
To leave tips for police on missing persons in and around Cleveland, call 216-623-7697 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.